Your landscaping choices can have a big impact on your utility bills. By carefully planning where you plant different varieties of trees and shrubs, you can achieve significant energy savings by reducing your home’s heating and cooling load.
Here in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley, with our hot, dry summers and mild winters, you will get the biggest benefit by using your landscaping for summer cooling, although you can also landscape with winter in mind. If you live in the Sierra foothills, you can benefit from landscaping planned for both summer and winter energy savings.
Here are a few ideas for planting with energy savings in mind:
- Plant deciduous trees that will shade your roof and the south-facing side of your house.
- Grow grapes or other vines on trellises to shade your south and west facing walls.
- Use small trees and shrubs to shade your walkways and driveway.
- Plant low trees or shrubs to shade your outdoor air conditioning unit.
- Plant evergreen hedges along your north facing walls to create an insulating air space between your house and the winter air.
- Plant evergreen trees on the north side of your lot to block the winter wind.
Trees cool your house and property in two ways. They block heat from direct sunlight, and through evaporative cooling, they cool the air beneath their branches as they release water vapor during the day. According to the Department of Energy, shade trees can lower the air temperature beneath them as much as 9 degrees.
Deciduous trees will let sunlight pass between their bare branches to help heat your house in winter. Of course, if you have solar panels on your roof, you should locate trees so they will not reduce sunlight on the panels any time of year.
As you plan your landscaping for energy savings, keep the San Joaquin Valley’s semi-arid climate in mind. Choose trees and shrubs that use as little water as possible. Call the experts at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning for advice on the best landscaping choices for your property, and for other suggestions about reducing your energy use.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Donald P Dick Air Conditioning services the greater Fresno area in California. To get started, check out our website.