On average, a well designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than 8 years. By simply planting a shade tree to the south of your home, you could start enjoying a tidy savings on your utility costs next summer.
If you plant a 6-8 foot deciduous tree, it will start shading your windows the first year. Depending on the species and the home, it will shade the roof in 5-10 years.
You can give an overheated house what it really wants — shade! Trees are good for the planet, they add add curb appeal to your home, and they’re great at keeping your utility bills low. And in tree-shaded neighborhoods, the summer daytime air temperature can be up to 6 degrees cooler than in treeless areas!
It’s also a good idea to create a shady area around your air conditioner’s air intake. That way, when your system pulls in cooler outdoor air, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep temperatures comfortable indoors. Just be sure to keep the air intake free of weeds and debris.
A well-planned landscape can reduce the air conditioning costs of a previously unshaded home by 15 to 50 percent! (Energy.gov)
Plant Deciduous Trees
If you plant a 6-8 foot deciduous tree, such as a maple, it will start shading your windows the first year. Depending on the species and the home, it will shade the roof in 5-10 years.
Deciduous trees sprout big, shady leaves in the spring and summer, dropping them all in the fall, letting that warm sunlight reach your home.
Plant these deciduous trees to the south of your home which will allow them to screen out 70-90% of the hot summer sun. You’ll want to plant them about 10 to 20 feet from the home’s exterior. Too far away, and the hot summer sun will find its way to your windows. Too close, and you’ll end up needing to do extensive trimming or even foundation repair when expanding root systems cause cracks.
For more tips about energy savings with landscaping, visit Energy.gov