Here’s something you may not know– if you want to reduce your energy bills, one of the most effective ways to do it is through your landscaping. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the proper placement of just 3 trees will save the average homeowner up to 25% per year in energy costs. When you implement an energy-efficient landscape design, you can help your cooling system work more efficiently by preventing the weather from affecting its performance. If you want to take advantage of potentially significant savings on your energy costs, we have some tips for you.
The first thing to consider when installing an energy efficient landscape is your climate zone. Here in Southwest Florida, we live in a hot-humid zone, which requires a landscaping plan aimed at keeping your home cool naturally. Anyone who has spent time in a park or wooded area can tell you that the temperature in these places is noticeably cooler than in areas without shade or covered with asphalt. Your landscaping can do the same thing for your home.
Here are the main elements of energy-efficient landscape design:
Shade- The area around trees is cooler for a reason. Trees not only provide shade from the sun, they also move and release water vapor in a process called evapotranspiration. Shading your yard with climate-appropriate trees can lower the air temperature around your home by 9 degrees. Energy efficient placement of your trees channels breezes toward your home in summer and maximizes shade during the hottest summer days. Pay attention to where shadows fall during certain times of day to determine where your trees should be planted, and be sure ask us about how to get the greatest energy savings by adding shade to your outdoor spaces.
Remember, it’s a good idea to plant trees or shrubs around your outdoor A/C unit. Providing shade for your air conditioner can save you as much as 10% on its operating costs. Just allow two to three feet around the condenser for air flow.
Wind Control- Unlike some areas of the country where windbreaks are desirable, here in Florida good ventilation is necessary in order to keep the home cool and reduce humidity. So, you may want to encourage wind movement in your yard. Smart wind control can help keep your air conditioning from working harder than necessary, so consider including this element when designing your landscape.
An energy efficient landscape pays for itself in energy savings within about 8 years, and can reduce air conditioning costs by 15-50% depending on other factors. So if you’re looking for ways to save money on energy costs, don’t neglect this important element of home comfort.