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Reducing Energy Costs with Trees and Shrubs

trees shading a house

Trees have often been the subject of poetry, because they evoke pleasant memories. Do you recall relaxing under a willow tree in the backyard? Maybe you remember stringing a hammock between two saplings and whiling away a drowsy summer afternoon with a good book.

The trees that add so much beauty and comfort to our lives, can also take away up to 50 per cent of our energy costs! Tall trees supply shade and can decrease summer cooling costs. Bushes and shrubs are effective insulators in cold weather.

Are you Losing Too Much of your Home’s Energy?

trees around a big houseOur homes lose air through doors and windows. These energy exits can account for from 40 percent to 80 per cent of your home’s energy loss. Energy is also lost in the form of heat through your home’s walls during the winter months, and the sun’s rays also cause a loss of energy in summer.

Planting Trees and Shrubs Can Help

Planting trees increases the beauty of the landscape, but it can also benefit homeowners in other ways. Trees provide shade, and shade can reduce your energy expense by as much as 20 per cent. You can reduce cooling bills while improving your landscape if you give plenty of forethought to tree and shrub varieties and location before planting.

Deciduous trees are trees lose their leaves in the autumn. If you sow deciduous trees, they will help the sun’s heat permeate your home when cold weather arrives. Place small trees close to your home. They provide less shade but will benefit windows and wall areas. Myrtle and Dogwood trees are excellent for this purpose.

Since 65 percent of total indoor heat gain comes in through windows, shading can be a real energy saver. Properly placed trees can reduce incoming heat. Vines can also protect your home’s walls and windows from energy loss. Vines grow against walls, and naturally insulate your home against summer heat and winter cold. They offer a level of shading to your walls and windows.

Protecting your Home from Wind

trees forming a windbreakYou can also save on your energy costs by shielding your home from wind. Plant tall trees on the south and west sides of your to protect it from the wind. In cold weather, trees act as a natural wind barrier. A row of evergreens or shrubs can cut heating costs as much as 25 per cent.

Tips:

• Plant deciduous trees. Deciduous trees will supply refreshing shade in hot weather, but enable the sun to warm your home when colder temperatures arrive. They also help to shield your home from the winds of winter.
• Install thick evergreens for insulation.
• White pine will provide additional protection from winter winds and create wind tunnels that directs summer breezes toward the patios and back yards of homes.
• Use full-grown trees and evergreens when possible because mature trees will provide shade immediately and they also block winds.
• Deciduous vines can cover walls, reducing the amount of sunlight directly striking a home or other structure. These vines will also allow the sun to warm the same structure during the winter.
• Energy costs for space cooling can be reduced when windows are fully shaded
• Trees can shade structures more quickly when they are planted as close as possible to the home.

If you are concerned about your energy costs, you are not alone. Studies show that the cost of energy for the average homeowner has risen dramatically in Australia in the last three years.

Don’t let your dollars fly out the door along with your energy! Planting trees and shrubs will add rhythm and beauty to your landscape. Foliage can also improve insulation and help reduce your energy costs. If you’re looking for other smart ways to save on your energy bill, considering installing solar panels on your roof might be a good option too.