Using Landscaping to Increase the Value of Your Home and Lower Your Energy BillsAuthor: Adrienne Rockwell
Everyone likes good landscaping and it's well known that nice landscaping improves the value of a property. What a lot of people don't realize is that, if done properly, landscaping can dramatically reduce the amount of money that you have to spend to heat and cool your home. If you're planning a big landscaping project for your house, you should strongly consider designing the project with energy savings, as well as aesthetics, in mind.About the Author:
How Landscaping Can Reduce Your Cooling Costs
If done properly, landscaping can create a summer microclimate around your home. Trees can perform 3 important cooling functions. The most obvious of these is shade. By positioning the trees near your home, trees will dramatically reduce the amount of direct sunlight that hits your home's walls and roof. This can result in surface temperatures that are considerably cooler than if unshaded. In addition to providing shade, trees can also be used to channel cooling breezes onto your home. It is important to select trees that have open, or branchless, trunks that will allow wind to flow underneath the tree's canopy and onto your house. Finally, trees emit water vapor, through a process called evapotranspiration, that has a cooling effect. This effect will be more pronounced in drier climates.
It is important to select trees that are well suited to the your climate and that will perform their chosen function well. Trees that are poorly suited to your climate may look good for a time, but they won't thrive and will be prone to blights and may suffer from stunted growth. If you don't have room on your property for properly placed trees, consider trellis vines. If located on your south or west facing walls, they can substantially reduce the temperatures on these surfaces, which in turn will reduce the amount of air conditioning necessary to keep your home comfortable.
How Landscaping Can Reduce Your Heating Costs
The primary function of landscaping in reducing heating costs is the establishment of windbreaks. If you have a larger lot, you should place the windbreak a distance of 2 to 5 times the mature height of the trees from the home. Homes that are protected by windbreaks can enjoy 25 - 40% lower heating bills compared to similar homes without windbreaks, so the savings can be substantial. If you plant deciduous trees to provide shade in the summer, these same trees will let the winter sun reach your home during the winter, so you get the best of both worlds, effective shade in summer and plenty of sunlight in winter. Evergreen trees could be an option as well, but they would not provide the sunlight you'd want to have in the winter months. Of course, if you live in a warmer climate, that may be a better option for you.
Be sure to consult with a nursery to get the best advice about with types of trees and shrubs are suited to the climate and function you want them to perform. A well planned and executed landscape job will do wonders for your home's value and your pocket book, so make sure you get it right the first time.
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