When combined with preventive maintenance, landscaping around your home to work with the climate on Long Island can generate significant energy savings. You might think landscaping for energy savings could take decades to return your investment, but the U.S. Department of Energyactually predicts the typical homeowner will begin to see savings sooner than eight years. The sooner you plant, the sooner you’ll save!
When landscaping, consider your â€œmicroclimate,â€ or the weather conditions immediately surrounding your home, which can vary from what Long Island experiences overall. For instance, a home located near the shore may experience more unobstructed sunlight and wind than one further inland.
The trick to planting for energy savings is to insulate against the sun and allow for cooling breezes in summer, while in winter you want to maximize solar gain and insulate against harsh winds.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Block solar gain from your roof with deciduous trees that have high, leafy branches. They’re most effective on the south side. When the leaves fall, the solar energy shines through the branches onto your roof.
- As the sun sets, your west wall absorbs a great deal of heat (the east wall doesn’t experience the same level of heat gain, because air hasn’t had time to heat up enough in the mornings). Low trees or thick, deciduous shrubs block the solar gain in summer, and let it through in winter.
- Evergreens make excellent windbreaks. Plant them on the side of your home that sees the most buffeting, to reduce wind chill in winter. To allow the wind to come through in summer, try a low evergreen hedge–this blocks the brunt of the energy loss around windows in winter.
The idea behind landscaping for energy savings is to reduce the workload on your heating and cooling equipment. However, even if you landscape perfectly, you won’t see the most savings possible unless your HVAC system is also clean and tuned up. Call T. F. O’Brien to schedule preventive maintenance today. We’ll be happy to help improve your home’s efficiency!
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about preventive maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.