Go green with energy efficient landscaping
A well-landscaped yard can be more than just pleasing to the eye – it can also save energy. By thoughtfully landscaping the grounds around your home you can enjoy years of energy savings.
Energy efficient landscaping makes its biggest impact on the two most energy intensive tasks in your home: heating and cooling. By planting trees to shade your windows, you’ll reduce cooling costs in the summer months by minimizing heat gain from the sun. When the seasons change and the leaves fall, sunlight will pass through and provide heat exactly when it’s needed.
Trees also function as natural air conditioners through a process called evapotranspiration. As water is drawn from the ground to the leaves, water vapor is released which cools the surrounding air.
Best of all, energy savings from trees will only grow with time; a newly planted tree will begin shading windows in its first year and will reach roof height in five to 10 years. However, more energy savings can be found closer to the ground.
Planting shrubs, bushes and vines next to your house creates dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer. During the winter months, dense, low-lying shrubbery on the north and northeast sides of your home can serve as a windbreak and protect your home against wind chill.
While landscaping can be costly, you can recoup the costs with ongoing energy savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, landscaping for energy efficiency can provide enough energy savings to recoup the initial investment in less than eight years.