Landscaping For Energy Efficiency
Jul, 10 2013 03:07
When you think of the trees, flowers and bushes in your yard, you probably think of how nice your house looks from the street, or “curb appeal”. But when it’s done right, your landscaping won’t just make your house look good, it can also help reduce your heating and cooling costs. Properly positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy used in a typical household by providing shade, shelter from wind, and coolness through evapotranspiration.
The kind of landscaping you will need to help you conserve energy will depend where you live. The United States has four climate regions. Here are a few landscaping strategies from the Department of Energy for each region:
- Let the sun warm your home in the winter by keeping curtains open but windows closed
- Plant trees to maximize shade during the summer
- Use windbreaks of trees and shrubs on the north and northwest sides of the house to deflect wind away from your home
- Cool your roof, walls and windows with shade from trees
- Let summer breezes help to cool your house naturally
- Block or deflect winds away from air-conditioned home
- Channel summer breezes towards the home
- Plans trees that will provide shade in the summer to keep you cool, but will let in the winter sun to help keep you warm
- If your plants require lots of watering, don’t plant them too close to your house – keep at least a foot between the house and the plants
- Use dense windbreaks to protect the home from cold winter winds
- If overheating in the summer is a problem, plant trees to shade the windows on the south and west side of the house
Don't Forget Your "Microclimate"
The microclimate is the climate immediately around your house. When you are landscaping to maximize energy efficiency, don't just think about your regional climate, but also your microclimate.
For example, if your home is on a south-facing slope, it may be warmer than normal, even if you live in a cool region. If you have a lot of shady trees, your microclimate may be more comfortable than others in your hot-humid region.
Consider your regional climate and your microclimate, and let your landscaping work to beautify your home AND save you money on your energy bills.
Your Building Energy Pros Affiliate Can Help
Your local Building Energy Pros affiliate can help you plan your energy efficient landscaping project - and help you make your home more comfortable, durable and energy efficient. Call Building Energy Pros at 1-800-309-6006 or visit www.buildingenergypros.com for more information.