How landscaping can help you save energy

Learn how landscaping your property can help you save energy all year long.

Posted by Guest Blogger on August 16, 2013

Are you looking for a cost-effective way to lower your energy bills? Look no further than the lawn surrounding your home. By strategically planting trees and shrubs around your property, you can lower your energy bills. This is because a well-planned and thoughtfully designed landscape will cut your heating and cooling costs. During the summer, properly placed trees and shrubs reduce cooling costs. In the winter, well-placed trees can reduce home heat loss by blocking cold winter winds. Not only does landscaping help reduce your energy bills, but it also adds value to your property.

The goals of landscaping for energy efficiency are:

  • Maximize shade during the hot summer.

  • Funnel summer breezes toward your home.

  • Maximize the warming effects of the sun during the winter\

  • Protect your home from cold winds and drafts in the winter.  

So how do you accomplish these goals? To begin, consider plant and tree selection. High quality plants and trees are essential for landscaping success. You do not want weak-wooded trees, pest prone plants, trees that produce hundreds of volunteer seedlings or trees that continuously shed branches. These types of greenery will create extra work.

To lower summer energy bills, landscaping should make the most of air circulation and cooling shade. Your first priority should be shading the west walls and roof of your property in by planting deciduous (leaf-shedding) trees that are a minimum of ten feet in height. This will reduce roof and wall temperatures in the afternoon. Some examples of deciduous trees are Sugar maples, Norway maples and White oaks. Your local nursery can give you a full list of trees that are best for your home. To shade and reduce the sun’s heat, plant low shrubs around your home. Shrubs should have a height of four to ten feet. Pavement reflects or absorbs solar energy and radiates heat to the walls of your home, but low shrubs reduce reflection of solar heat from the pavement on roads or driveways. Some examples of shrubs that work well around your home are Lilac, Dogwood and Juneberry. Just like trees, your local nursery can give you a full list of shrubs that are best for your home.

To reduce winter heating costs, properly select and place evergreen shrubs around the north and northwest area of your home, as well as the entry. Evergreen shrubs act as a buffer and protect your home from cold winds and drafts. Be careful not to plant evergreens close to the south side of your home, or you’ll shade the sun’s heat in the winter. If winter winds from the south are a problem on your property, plant evergreens far enough away from your house so that they will lift cold winds up and over the house without shading it.

Landscaping with these tips can go a long way toward increasing the comfort of your home. To learn more about how landscaping can increase your energy efficiency, please visit the Department of Energy’s website. 

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