Use Landscaping Windbreaks to Improve Energy Efficiency
Jul, 16 2013 01:07
“Windbreaks” are the protection from the wind that well-placed trees and shrubs can give your home. Windbreaks can save you a lot of money on heating and cooling costs, and the benefits grow as the trees and shrubs grow. If you know how to use landscaping to maximize the benefits of windbreaks in your climate, you can save hundreds of dollars on your utility bills over time.
Windbeaks Reduce Wind Chills and Infiltration
Windbreaks reduce the wind chill near your home. The wind chill is how cold it “feels like” based on how fast heat is lost from skin due to wind and cold. Same for your home, as the wind increases, your exposed home lets more cold outside air infiltrate, making your home colder - and making your heating source work harder to keep you comfortable. With windbreaks, you provide a layer of insulation for your home to protect it from the wind.
How Windbreaks Reduce Your Energy Bills
A windbreak (a tree, or a group of trees or shrubs) will reduce the wind speed for a distance as much as 30 times the windbreak’s height. Reducing the wind speed reduces the wind chill. Reducing the wind chill reduces the heat needed to keep things comfortable in your home. And that’s how your energy bills come down!
How to Maximize Energy Efficiency of Windbreaks
To maximize windbreaks, use trees and shrubs that have low crowns and block wind close to the ground. Ideally, the trees and shrubs should be planted at a distance from the home that is 2-5 times the height of the mature tree. So if the tree is 40 feet tall, plant it 80-200 feet from the house. A few other things to consider are:
- The most common type of windbreak is dense evergreen trees and shrubs planted on the north and northwest sides of the house
- Evergreens planted along with fences or walls can lift wind up and over your home
- Plant low shrubs on the windward side of your home to trap snow before it drifts to the side of your house
- Planting shrubs, bushes and vines next to your house can help insulate your home in all seasons. Make sure to plant so that there is one foot of space between the full-grown plant and your house
All these trees and shrubs don’t just keep things cozy, but they look good too. So use windbreaks to make your landscape lovely and keep your heating costs down when the wind kicks up.
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.