At Approved Comfort we are well versed in the green benefits of high efficiency equipment, insulation and sealant. But what else can we do to keep our homes as comfortable as possible without losing an arm and a leg on our energy bills? The answer might surprise you. Strategic use of landscaping is a great way to lower the heating and cooling load in your home and while making a dent in your energy bill. Proper placement of trees, shrubs and fences can play a major role in keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer months and warm in winter. According to HVAC professionals, this kind of “backyard makeover” can do wonders for the effectiveness of your cooling and heating systems and for the affordability of your energy bill. Focus your landscaping efforts on blocking the sun’s rays from hitting the outside of your house. It is also crucial that whatever new features you add to your yard do not impede cool breezes from passing over and around your home. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for giving your yard an energy efficient makeover:
- Trees: Typically, the west wall of your home will receive direct light from the sun during the hottest hours of the day and will benefit the most from having tall, leafy trees planted to block the sunlight. Ideally, the trees would be planted about 25 feet from your home. The south wall will not receive as much benefit from a shade tree as the west wall. However, if you do end up deciding to plant a tree on the south side, it is important to choose a species that drops its leaves, so that sunlight can reach your home in the winter
- Fences: Fences can be an excellent barrier for the sun’s rays. Put up a tall, solid fence along problem areas of your home, which suffer from unshielded solar heat. It is best to install a fence with slats rather than a solid one because in the winter, solid fences can actually intensify the effects of freezing winds battering your home.
- Sunblocks and Windbreaks: Using medium size trees and shrubs is a proven way to block scorching sunlight in summer and harsh winds in winter. Make sure to use evergreens, as deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves in winter and as a result won’t block much wind in winter.
- Doorways: Both heat loss and heat gain can occur through gaps and leaks in your home’s doorways. Lining the area directly outside your doors with shrubs and trees can keep the area cooler in summer and warmer in winter.