Now that spring is here, you may be thinking about new landscaping ideas for your home. One thing that you should keep in mind is that you can use landscaping to improve energy efficiency in your home. Some simple landscaping tricks will keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Your energy bills and your carbon footprint will both be reduced.
Shade your air conditioner
You can reduce air conditioner use by strategically placing vegetation around your home. You may not realize that keeping your air conditioner in direct sunlight will lower its effectiveness. Shading your AC unit will increase its efficiency by 10%. You can't smother your air conditioner in vegetation. Instead, plant vegetation that will shade your air conditioner without restricting its airflow.
There are different ways to shade your air conditioner. You can put large potted plants around it if you don't want anything permanent. Another good way is to use a trellis archway. You can put the arch over the air conditioning unit and cover it with climbing vines. You can hang some hanging plants from the arch for some extra shade and beauty. This will keep your unit shaded even in mid-day sun.
Plant shade trees
Next, shade your home to keep it cooler. Without direct sunlight quickly warming up your home, your air conditioner won't have to work as hard. Plant shade trees in front of the windows around your home. Pay particular attention to the windows on the east and west side, since they will receive direct sunlight for a large portion of the day as the sun rises and sets. Planting fast-growing shade trees will give you shade without having to wait too long.
Add trellises and vines
Vines are a great way to keep the direct sunlight off of the structure of your home. Covering at least the east and west side of your home with trellises and then planting vines will reflect most of the sunlight off and keep your walls cool. If your home is made of wood or vinyl, you may want to cut the leaves back in the fall. The moisture trapped by the vines, along with the weight of them, can rot and damage your home. If you have a brick home, you can allow permanent climbing vines on your home with or without a trellis. They will insulate your home in the winter as well, reducing furnace usage.
Create a windbreak
People with proper windbreaks around their home average 20-40% less energy consumption. In the wintertime, wind can be one of the most dangerous elements. If it is 10 degrees with 15mph winds, it will feel like about -18 degrees. If it is -20 degrees outside, coupled with 20mph winds, it will feel like about -67 degrees. This can not only be dangerous to you if you walk outside your home, but it will seriously impact the temperature of your home. A windbreak will not only block winter winds, but it will shade your home in the summer as well. To plant a windbreak, you want vegetation both as low to the ground and as high up as possible. You also need to make sure there aren't any gaps.
Create a row of trees around your home. Evergreen trees make good windbreaks since they are thick from the bottom to the top. Any gaps at the bottom of the trees can be remedied by planting thick shrubs at the base of the trees.
Many people think about planting for beauty around their home, but they don't consider the fact that they can plant for energy efficiency. Providing shade, insulation, and a windbreak will allow you to save energy all your long by strategically planting vegetation. For more tips, contact a local landscape supplies retailer or landscaping company.