Landscaping for Energy Efficiency
Posted on 04-20-2015
U.S. households use 22 percent energy with half of that going towards heating and cooling. A well-planned landscape can make a home more energy efficient and reduce air pollution. So, not only can you use shrubs, vines, trees and flower beds to create a beautiful yard, but you can cut your energy bills by nearly 40 percent.
The U.S. Department of Energy divided the United States into four climates: Cool, Temperate, Hot-Arid, and Hot-Humid. This allows you to plan your landscaping for better energy savings based on your climate.
According to the Department of Energy, giving shade to your air conditioning unit may increase its efficiency by 10 percent. In the summer months, the sun shifts to the slight north, so shade the east and southeast part of your home. Trees offer the perfect shade and give a breeze for cooling. And, a neighborhood with trees are 6 to 8 degrees cooler than a neighborhood without trees. Use trellis vines and bushes to shade your outdoor patio or deck.
Create a windbreak that gives protection in all directions. A study out of South Dakota showed that putting windbreaks in the north, east and west of homes cut fuel consumption by 40 percent on average. Windbreaks should allow some air to flow through while being able to block wind that is close to the ground and high up. Plant low shrubs on windward side of a windbreak to catch snow and keep it from blowing against your house.
A great landscape is visually appealing, increases your home's value and most of all, offers protection against the summer heat and winter chill. And, a well-planned landscape will reduce your energy costs.
Did You Know?
The voltage of lightning is intense enough to quickly heat the air to nearly 50,000°F (30,000°C), five times the temperature of the surface of the sun. The rapid expansion of the heated air generates a shock wave that is heard as thunder.