Trees help reduce heating and cooling costs. Strategically placed trees can be as effective as other energy saving home improvements, such as insulation and the installation of weather-tight windows and doors.
Trees help you save energy and reduce utility bill costs by providing cooling in the summer and wind breaks during winter. A minimum of three large shade trees strategically placed around your home can reduce air conditioning costs up to 30%. Shade trees offer their best benefits when you:
- Plant deciduous trees, which shed their leaves during the winter. These trees provide shade and block heat during summer months, and by dropping their leaves in the fall they allow sunlight in the winter months.
- Place these trees on the south and west sides of buildings.
- Shade all hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks to minimize landscape heat load.
Use evergreens, which retain their leaves/needles yearlong, in a planned pattern as windbreaks to save from 10-40% in energy used for heating. Evergreens offer the best benefits when you:
- Place them to intercept and slow winter winds, usually on the north side of your home.
- Do not plant them on the south or west side of your home, because they will block warming sunlight during the winter; these trees also provide some shading benefits during summer.