Save Energy – Plant a Tree
October 17, 2019
A lot of homeowners go to great lengths to conserve energy in this era of tight budgets and environmental awareness. However, many don’t realize that the simple act of planting a tree can have an impact on energy bills.
The right tree in the right place provides wind protection, shade and cool air, while adding beauty, privacy and wildlife habitat.
Trees can reduce energy use in the winter by blocking cold winter winds. Wind enters homes through small openings and carries heat away from the building’s outer surfaces. Large and small evergreen trees and shrubs save energy by slowing these cold winds.
Deciduous trees – trees that lose their leaves in the winter, like maples and oaks – save energy in summer by shading houses, patios and air conditioners. Both deciduous and evergreen trees save energy in summer by directly cooling the air. This cooling happens as water evaporates from the leaf surfaces, much as our skin is cooled when we perspire.
There’s a real science to getting the most out of landscaping for energy conservation. For instance, to avoid winter shading, trees should be located no closer than 2½ times their mature height to the south of a building. Trees planted to the southeast or southwest should be about four times their mature height from the building.
It’s also important to choose the right tree and location to minimize conflicts with power lines and underground utilities.
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