Whoever says you can’t “kill two birds with one stone” when becoming more energy efficient is absolutely wrong! There are ways to cut down on your home’s energy expenses while adding beautiful landscapes to the yard and, in turn, likely increasing your home’s value.
A well designed landscape will:
- Cut your summer and winter energy costs dramatically
- Protect your home from winter wind and summer sun
- Reduce consumption of water, pesticides, and fuel for landscaping and lawn maintenance
- Help control noise and air pollution
By planting trees in optimal locations, you can save up to 25% of your home’s energy consumption for heating and cooling, which ends up being anywhere from $100 to $250 annually. In less than 8 years, you will have likely earned back whatever price you put into landscaping the lawn to begin with. And, as stated above, you are realistically raising the value of your home in the process.
“Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperature as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit.” In addition, the temperature directly underneath the tree may be reduced by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. As well as all of that, the cost of summer air condition bills can be decreased by as much as 15% to 50% with the aid of properly located landscaping.
Depending on what part of the United States you are located in, wind chill factor may be an issue during the winter. As you know, this can drastically drop the temperature by numerous degrees. By adding trees and fences as a windbreak, you can shield your home from the biting wind. When the freezing cold wind hits the walls and windows of your house, it decreases the temperature inside, causing more heat to be needed to offset this temperature reduction. With these landscape additions, you can counteract the negative results of this cold air and prevent having to run the heater as high or as often.
Landscaping Strategies by Region
- Maximize warming effects of the sun in the winter
- Maximize shade during the summer
- Deflect winter winds away from buildings
- Funnel summer breezes toward the home
- Provide shade to cool roofs, walls and windows
- Allow summer winds to access naturally cooled homes
- Block or deflect winds away from air conditioned homes
- Channel summer breezes toward the home
- Maximize summer shade with trees that still allow penetration of low angle winter sun
- Avoid locating planting beds close to the home if they require frequent watering
- Use dense windbreaks to protect the home from cold winter winds
- Allow the winter sun to reach south facing windows
- Shade south and west windows and walls from the direct summer sun, if summer overheating is a problem