Adding trees to the yard can save on energy
June 20, 2011
Homeowners looking to spruce up their property by planting trees may enjoy the added advantage of energy savings. According to the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research, one study showed three trees planted in strategic locations could save homeowners up to 30 percent in energy use. Aside from that benefit, trees also provide shade, reduce air pollution, block stiff winds in the winter, and keep ground water and the soil clean, reports The Daily Green, a publication of Good Housekeeping. And an attractive lawn accentuated by trees just might encourage a prospective home buyer to buy a home
once the homeowner decides to sell.
These trees are the ones that actually lose their leaves. The Daily Green reports Deciduous trees should be planted on the east and west sides of a home, shading the property in the summer and allowing the sun to warm the house through the branches once leaves fall off in the winter. Both effects can help reduce homeowners' energy bills by cutting down on their fuel reliance during the colder months and air conditioning costs during the warmer period of the year.
Additionally, homeowners should consider planting a deciduous tree in a position that shades window air conditioners. That will keep the unit cool without straining it, cutting down on its energy usage by 10 percent compared to units that are not shaded, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Deciduous trees can also provide ample shade for patios, driveways and sidewalks.
These trees - popularly used as Christmas trees - are best served on the north and northwest sides of a home, reports the Daily Green. That's because in the winter, the sun will be lower on the southern horizon. Planting an evergreen tree on the southern side of the home could block the sun's warming rays during the winter. Putting them on the north and northwestern sides of the home could block cold winter winds, saving up to 30 percent on heating costs, reports the Arbor Day Foundation. Evergreens should be planted a good distance away from the home - equal to twice the height of the tree - in regions of the country that see snow. That's because snow accumulates easily on evergreens, and it could fall off and land on a homeowners' roof if the tree is too close.