Landscaping can save energy
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, well-designed landscapes can save homeowners enough energy to make the projects pay for themselves in less than eight years. The DOE notes that homeowners’ landscaping strategies should be dictated by the climates in which they live. For example, homeowners who live in hot, arid regions should employ landscapes to shade their homes’ walls, windows and roof, while those who live in cool regions should make sure their landscapes are not blocking the winter sun from reaching their homes’ south-facing windows.
The DOE also advises that shading is the most cost-effective way to reduce solar heat gain in a home, noting that well-planned landscapes can reduce previously unshaded homes’ air conditioning costs by as much as 50 percent. The DOE also notes that, in tree-shaded neighborhoods, the summer daytime air temperature can be up to six degrees cooler than the air temperature in treeless areas.
Homeowners considering adding trees to their landscapes should know that deciduous trees shed their leaves annually, which means they will block solar heat in the summer but allow sunlight into the home in winter. That’s ideal for homeowners who live in regions where temperatures climb in summertime but drop considerably in winter. Homeowners who want year-round shade might consider evergreen trees and shrubs.