You program your thermostat for maximum heating and cooling efficiency. You use LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs, and turn the lights off when you leave a room. You research energy efficiency when buying a new appliance or home heating and cooling equipment.
But is there something else you can do to make your home here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills region more efficient so you enjoy lower energy costs. Look outside for the answer.
It’s your landscaping! Properly placed trees, shrubs, and other plants can help reduce your heating, cooling, and other energy costs.
The United States Department of Energy classifies our area as a cool climate, and gives some recommendations for us.
Talk with an expert at your local garden center for specifics on which plants, trees, and shrubs work best for your property.
It can get pretty windy here. And in the winter, those winds can make your home’s heating system have to work harder to keep your home warm.
Creating a windbreak helps block and minimize those winds, meaning the wind chill around your house won’t be as bad.
What should you plant? You need something with a low crown to block wind as close to the ground as possible. Think evergreens and taller shrubs. The ideal location is at the north and/or northwest side of your property, as that’s where the strongest cold winds come from. Don’t plant a windbreak close to your home’s south side, because that will block sunlight. You’ll lose daytime heating and lighting.
Does your home get really hot in the summertime? Heating coming in from sunlight through windows and doors can be a culprit, and jack up your cooling costs.
Well-placed trees, shrubs, and plants can reduce the temperature of the air around your home by as much as 6˚ thanks to shading and evapotranspiration, which is the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor.
Deciduous trees with leaves and high crowns are ideal here. They provide shade in warmer weather, but once the leaves are gone in the fall, don’t block natural daylight heating in the winter.
Sometimes, trees, shrubs and plants can be a barrier to energy efficiency. If an evergreen tree or shrub is blocking light into south-facing windows during the winter, you’re losing the opportunity for daytime heating, as well as natural light that means you don’t have to turn on overhead lights or lamps.
Contact us to find out how we can help you control your home energy costs!