5 tips on using landscaping to reduce energy costs

by admin on May 7, 2013

Now that the warmth of spring has arrived, most households in America are turning their attention towards prepping their A/C systems. Those old units got a nice break over the winter, but summer is right around the corner, and that heat isn’t always tolerable without an air conditioning unit running at peak efficiency. But cooling your house this way can get quite expensive. Most of the usual costs of managing your household are on the rise, while the majority of people are dealing with flat salaries and no raises coming to bail them out. You’ve got to figure out ways to trim back your cooling bill, but there’s only so much you can do inside. Have you ever thought about how your landscaping can reduce energy costs? Proper planning outside your home can make a huge difference on what it takes to keep the interior cool. So here are five home landscaping design tips to cut your A/C expenses.

The most obvious approach is to create as much natural shade as possible for your home. This is going to take some time, as trees that provide the most shade will take several years to grow into maturity. But if you’re planning on living in your current house for the foreseeable future, invest in cutting your A/C bill by planting trees near the house. Avoid tree types that will shed onto your roof, but in general, place them so they offer maximum shade for your walls. It’s a great idea to shade the windows as well, which will significantly lower the temperature in your home.

If you live in an arid climate, consider different types of trees. After all, the desert night can be incredibly chilly, no matter what time of year it is. In the winter months you’ll want the sun to get through during the day, or else you’ll have to pump your heaters at night. So look for trees that have a high leaf cover and very little vegetation lower on the trunk. That way the winter sun, which hangs lower in the sky, will be able to angle in towards your home.

The landscaping choices you make right around the edge of your home can also help keep things cool. As plants grow, they take part in a process called evapotranspiration. In plain English, this means that plants release water into the atmosphere. That water will transform into a mist that cools the air. So look to add rows of plants right up against the house. That mist will cool the air slightly around your house, keeping the walls from getting as hot. This will make a nice difference in your A/C expenses.

Next, think about how you can use natural breeze to cool the house. This is something you should consider before you do any planting at all. Head outside on a breezy day and try to mark the wind patterns. You’ll notice funnels of air that blow towards or across your home. The goal is to support this, as the air will cool your walls and keep the air conditioner from working as hard. Don’t block these air patterns with large hedges or thick trees.

On the other hand, wind may actually be a detriment. This will be the case if you live in an arid climate, where you have the air conditioner running around the clock. In those situations, the wind will push through any gap or crack in a window or door. The hot air will battle the cold of the air conditioner, making your system work harder to offer the same effect. The results will be a higher electric bill. If you’ve been working with any Florida A/C dealers, they should be able to tell you the science behind this.


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