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Nearly half of all home energy use is for heating and cooling. Nationally, this provides as much as plenty of power! Many of us already do issues to save lots of power, like preserving the thermostat down and sealing gaps and cracks within the dwelling envelope, however what else may be executed? One useful tactic is to look to the yard for landscaping strategies that save power.
This strategy to landscaping entails creating shade once you don’t need the warmth of the solar and stopping warmth loss in chilly climate. Strategically positioned vines, bushes, and bushes can function a windbreak in chilly climate or present shade through the cooling season. Landscaping for power effectivity is a good long-term funding that additionally beautifies your property.
Consider Your Climate Zone
It is vital to start out by contemplating your local weather. There are 4 local weather zones within the United States: temperate, hot-arid, hot-humid, and funky. Begin by identifying your climate zone on the Department of Energy web site as it will set the inspiration to your landscaping technique.
If you reside in a heat local weather and crank the air con greater than the warmth, dedicate your efforts to preserving your property cool. If you reside in a colder local weather and run the warmth for a lot of the 12 months, focus your consideration on preserving your property heat.
Cold or Temperate Climates
Maximize Sunlight in Cold Weather
In cooler areas, you will need to permit the solar to assist warmth the house within the winter. Don’t block the winter solar from hitting your exterior partitions and home windows.
One technique is to make use of deciduous bushes (not coniferous bushes) as a result of they are going to lose their leaves within the winter. This permits the bushes to supply shade in the summertime once you need it however not within the winter. If you reside in a really chilly local weather, it is perhaps finest to keep away from bushes on the south facet of the house; department shade can stop the pure warming results of the solar.
Maximizing the winter solar may even assist to make the house brighter within the chilly climate, lowering the necessity for artificial light.
Block the Winter Wind
Plant bushes to supply a windbreak to chop your winter power use.
Determine the place the prevailing wind originates, and plant rows of bushes perpendicular to the wind. Typically, one of the best place for a windbreak is on the west or northwest facet of the house. If you reside in a windy location and have area, plant two to a few rows of bushes.
Allow space between the trees to allow them to correctly develop. Choose a species of tree efficient at blocking the wind that’s appropriate to your local weather and the quantity of solar it should obtain. Make certain you choose bushes that may do effectively in your plant hardiness zone.
The tactics vary a bit between hot-arid and hot-humid climates, however some generalities apply.
Plant vegetation to shade the roof, partitions, and home windows through the hotter months. If you don’t use air con, channel breezes in the direction of the house to advertise pure air flow. This is completed by encouraging the prevailing winds in the direction of dwelling areas with a funnel of vegetation and different options, as defined in Energy-Wise Landscape Design, by Sue Reed.
Try strategically planting a row of bushes or assemble outbuildings and fences parallel to winds however angled barely inward in the direction of the house. In hot-arid climates, deflect winds away from the home whether it is air-conditioned.
Other Green Considerations
Most bushes and bushes have to be irrigated whereas they’re nonetheless being established. To minimize down on water use, choose plant species which might be drought tolerant and don’t want a lot supplemental water after a 12 months or so.
Many native species match the invoice and can have extra wildlife worth than their decorative counterparts. Conversely, planting fruit or nut bushes is an effective way to supply extra of your personal meals if a deciduous tree is appropriate. If you intend on putting in solar panels or have already got them, keep away from shading the south facet of the roof. Even department shade from deciduous bushes can have a noticeable impression on photo voltaic power output.
Fall is an effective time to plant new bushes and shrubs. You don’t want to attend for subsequent 12 months. Having a inexperienced thumb will help you go inexperienced.
Originally revealed on September 26, 2019, this text was up to date in August 2021.