You’ve probably already thought about energy efficiency in terms of things like your home appliances and car; one place you may not have considered is your landscape. Just like your home appliances and car, your landscape can benefit from embracing energy efficiency. Here’s what you need to know about creating an energy-efficient landscape.
What Is Energy-Efficient Landscaping?
Energy-efficient landscaping is a landscaping technique that centers the design around the purpose of conserving energy usage inside of the home. According to statistics on the effectiveness of energy-efficient landscaping from the U.S. Department of Energy, landscaping that is designed with energy efficiency in mind helps homeowners save enough on energy costs to allow the landscaping to pay for itself within 8 years. Additionally, trees in the yard can help cut summer daytime air temperatures by as much as 6 degrees, making it much cooler than a treeless yard. As a result, energy-efficient landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by as much as 15-50%. Finally, trees that are planted as windbreakers can help cut fuel consumption by 40 percent, saving on heating costs during the winter as well.
Energy-Efficient Landscaping Techniques
There are a variety of techniques you can use to make your landscaping energy-efficient. Here is some information on a few of them so you can get an idea of which may work best for you.
1. Create Shade
Solar heat is absorbed through windows and roofs which causes the temperature inside of your house to rise. Using trees as shading can help cut down on the heat absorption of your windows and roof. This can ease the amount of work your AC unit has to do, which in turn helps cut down on energy costs and increases the lifespan of your AC unit.
Planting deciduous trees, in particular, can help cut down on AC costs during the summer but allow the sunlight to come through during the winter months when you need more heat in your home. This is because deciduous trees lose their leaves during the fall months and into the winter, allowing more sunlight to pass through.
You can also use pergolas to create a unique outdoor living space while also cutting down on sun exposure in your yard.
2. Use Trees as Wind Blockers During the Winter
While during the summer months you want your home to be cooler, this is not true for the winter months. One way to aid your heater during the winter is to use trees as wind breakers around your property. Evergreen trees can be planted to the north and northwest of your property to help cut down on cold winds. The trees will act as a barrier, cutting down the effect of wind chill on your home which can cause heat to escape through the roof, windows, and doors.
3. Use Ground Covering Plants
Ground covering plants can help shade the hardscape of your home, reducing any radiation they may give off while soaking up the sun’s heat. Plants that are effective for this include shrubs and wall-climbing plants. Wall-climbing plants in particular are perfect for shading walls and windows.
4. Create a Natural Breeze On Your Property
By planting a row of trees on one side of your house, you can create a natural wind tunnel. This will help create a cooling breeze during the summer and is perfect for areas like Texas where the winters are mild but summers are sweltering. Adding in a pool of water, such as a fountain or a pond, can also help act as a small outdoor air conditioner as the wind passes over the top and cools down.
Energy-Efficient Landscaping You Can Trust
Energy-efficient landscaping is all about using the best combination of techniques to minimize cost and maximize comfort. Our experts at Landscape By Design have the knowledge and experience to help you make your landscape as energy-efficient as possible while still preserving all the design elements that make it the landscape you know and love. We’re ready to help you ensure that your landscape is as green as possible, both literally in terms of plant life and metaphorically in terms of energy consumption. To schedule an appointment or for more information on our services, contact us today!