When planning your next landscaping project, consider incorporating energy saving elements in the design. A properly designed and executed landscape not only adds beauty to your home but can help save money on your energy costs. The federal government estimates that, on average, the energy savings from energy efficient landscaping will pay back the initial cost in about eight years.
If you home is in a temperate region, plan your landscaping to maximize shade on your home in the summer, and allow the sun to warm your home in the winter. Deciduous trees work best for this application. You landscaping should funnel summer winds toward your home, but deflect cold winter winds away.
In hot, arid climates, year round shade will help keep your home cool. Dense evergreen trees or shrubs can provide shade throughout the year. If your home is air conditioned, deflect wind away from the home, otherwise funnel winds toward the home.
In hot, humid regions your landscaping should provide maximum summer shade, but still allow winter sun to reach your home. Channel summer breezes toward the home.
Shrubs or climbing vines on a lattice or trellis will provide shade, but be sure to locate them a few feet from the home to allow air to circulate around the home to avoid moisture problems.
In cool climates, use trees to block the wind from your home, but allow the winter sun to reach southern exposures. For maximum effectiveness, a windbreak should be located at a distance from your home equal to two to five times the mature height of the trees. A combination of dense trees and shrubs make an effective windbreak, and the shrubs will help prevent snow drifts from forming against your home.