Reduce Home Cooling Costs With Trees

There's no arguing that landscaping requires an investment; however, if done properly, it can reduce a home's cooling costs. So although it might require a fair amount of money up-front, homeowners will benefit from it in the long run.

The Benefits of Shade

Windows and roofs absorb a lot of heat from the sun and can increase the interior temperature of a home. This causes homeowners to use air conditioners more frequently to combat the rising temperatures caused by the sun. Trees can block a lot of that solar energy, helping homeowners reduce cooling costs. By casting shade and releasing water vapor, trees can reduce the surrounding air temperature by 9 degrees ( On a hot summer day, that's a huge relief!

Choosing Trees

Many factors go into which trees are most appropriate for which geographic area. Regions that don't experience winters require one type of shade plant while regions that experience all four seasons need another. It's important to talk to a local landscaper well-versed in using plants and trees for shade when making a landscape plan. For example, regions that are always warm or windy benefit from evergreen trees that never lose their leaves and can provide shade and protection year-round. Areas that experience all four seasons and need shade in the summer and the warmth of the sun in the winter should landscape with trees that lose their leaves. Bare limbs let winter sun through and leafy limbs block the intense summer sun.

Proper Placement

Tall, spreading trees that lose their leaves should be planted south of a house to provide maximum roof shading in the summer. Since the sun sets in the west and is closer to the horizon later in the day, shorter trees that can block that low afternoon sun should be planted west of a house. Trees shouldn't be planted so close to the house that their roots could interfere with the home's foundation. If the roots of a mature tree are very close to a house, tree removal will be the best course of action to avoid costly foundation repairs.

Growth Rate

 Faster growing trees will provide shade more quickly than slower growing trees, but they don't live as long as their slow-growing cousins. Some homeowners might choose the faster-growing trees to save money on cooling costs more quickly with the understanding that they'll have to shoulder tree replacement costs in several years. Other homeowners prefer slower growing trees that will reduce cooling costs in a few years, but won't have to be replaced.

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