When you think of landscaping, you might not immediately think of energy efficiency, but experts agree, a well-designed landscape can help lower your home's energy bill.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, "landscaping may be your best long-term investment for reducing heating and cooling costs."
Here are a couple of points they make:
Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a household's energy consumption for heating and cooling. Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually.
On average, a well-designed landscape provides enough energy savings to return your initial investment in less than 8 years. An 8-foot (2.4 meter) deciduous (leaf shedding) tress, for example, costs about as much as an awning for one large window and can ultimately save your household hundreds of dollars in reduced cooling costs, yet still admit some winter sunshine to reduce heating and lighting costs. Landscaping can same you money in summer and winter.
Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vaper) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9 degrees F (5 degrees C). Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25 degrees F (14 degrees C) cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop.