Energy Efficient Home Improvement: Gardening & Landscaping

Energy Efficient Home Rhode Island and MassachusettsWith the warm weather upon us, many homeowners are looking forward to working outside gardening and landscaping.  But, did you know you can increase your home’s curb appeal and energy efficiency by strategically planting shade plants or pruning your current landscaping?

Trim the Trees

Unruly branches on large trees may be preventing a breeze from entering your home.  By pruning the branches of the tree as to not obstruct the windows of your home, you can open up the space to allow a welcoming breeze that may help you save money on your energy costs.  Placing shrubs under windows also allows the air flow to move upwards and into your window.

The more shade, the cooler the home

Trees and scrubs shade your home thus slowing the home’s heat absorption rate.  This will naturally make your home cooler during the summer months, saving you money on energy costs.  To maximize effectiveness, examine your home and see which sides of the home get direct sunlight or what areas are affected by the late-morning/early afternoon sun, which is when the rays are strongest.  By planting the trees and shrubs in this area, you can assure you are getting the most bang for your buck as shaded air is about 6% cooler than air in direct sunlight.

Another item to consider is the type of tree or shrub you want to plant.  If you want to shade the roof, planting a tree with a large canopy is best but will take a while to grow to the height needed.  However, if you want to shade the lower portion of the home, planting a tree that grows quickly will allow you to start reaping the energy savings sooner.  Vines and ivy also cool down your walls by creating a natural canopy.  Just be careful not to plant trees and scrubs too close to the house- you want to give the tree enough room for root growth as to not damage the home’s foundation in the future.  Just be sure to read up on which plants and trees thrive in your location and soil.

Enhance your cooling technology

By surrounding the outdoor air conditioning unit with plants, you can save up to 10% on your energy costs.  Plants help offset the energy exerted by the unit during the hot summer months work that the unit  Just be careful not to create a natural wall that may block the unit from getting the air it needs to perform.  Leaving about 2 feet around and five feet above the unit should be sufficient.  If you have a window air conditioning unit, place it on the north side of your home, which typically receives the least sun.

If you are looking for other ways to make your home more green and energy efficient, Moonworks offers energy efficient roofing shingles, replacement windows, and renewable energy solutions.

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