Increase HVAC Savings & Efficiency by Planting Trees
There are all kinds of upgrades you can make to your home and air conditioning system to make summertime cooling more efficient and increase your HVAC savings. As a homeowner, it’s important to understand that one of the most cost-effective changes actually takes place outside of your home, and now is the perfect time to start planning for it. By planting a few trees this spring, you can give an overheated house what it really wants: shade.
Shade trees and shrubs provide all sorts of benefits for your home, including assisting to increase HVAC savings. They’re not only good for the planet, but they also add curb appeal to your yard, and best of all, they’re great at keeping your air conditioning bills low. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a well-planned landscape can help to reduce your air conditioning costs of a previously unshaded home by 15 to 50 percent.
To do this, Shade trees not only block hot sunlight from pouring in through windows, but they also create an aura of coolness and shade around your home. Trees are always drinking up cool groundwater, which flows out into the leaves and then slowly evaporates. This misty air can be up to six degrees cooler than in nearby areas with full sun, so a home that is encircled by trees ends up sitting in a relative cool zone.
Creating a shady area right around your air conditioner’s air intake is also a smart idea. When your system pulls in cooler outdoor air, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep temperatures comfortable indoors.
Pick Your Plants
Deciding on the right shade trees has everything to do with what’s known as a “microclimate.” For example, what works best in hot, humid areas won’t be as effective in regions where it remains cool and dry for most of the year. It’s also important to note that a cost-effective landscaping strategy only works if the trees thrive and survive, so it’s important to set your trees up to succeed by selecting native species. PlantNative is a great source for determining which trees are right for your particular microclimate.
Selecting trees that are disease and pest resistant isalso important to growing a long-term urban forest. This is especially important when planting windbreaks that might be composed of a single species. Additionally, you should strongly consider selecting wind tolerant species as these trees will be close to the home and their failure during storms could cause significant damage.
While it may be tempting, avoid planting fast growing trees as they are generally short lived, have weaker wood fiber making them more susceptible to wind, snow or ice damage. Trees should be planted in groupings when possible, as they are more wind tolerant than in individual plantings.
No matter where you live, you should always consider choosing deciduous trees if you’re pursuing an HVAC-friendly landscaping scheme. These trees will sprout big, shady leaves in the spring and summer, and they’ll drop them all in the fall, letting that warm sunlight reach your home when you need it most.
Choose the Right Location
Before you start digging holes and planting trees, you may want to consider consulting a professional landscaper. Choosing the ideal location for each tree can make a lot of difference when it comes to creating an HVAC-friendly lawn.
Generally, shorter shade trees are best planted on the east and west sides of a home, because that’s where the sun is going to shine closest to the horizon. Placing taller trees along the south side of a home is typically works best for providing midday cover and keeping roofs and walls cool.
Remember that shade trees are most helpful in keeping homes cool when they’re planted about 10 to 20 feet from the home’s exterior. Plant your trees too close, and you’ll end up needing to do extensive trimming or even foundation repair when expanding root systems caused by cracks. Plant your trees too far away, and the hot summer sun will find its way to your windows. Finding the perfect balance at about 10 to 20 feet from your home is your best bet for this particular situation.
Lastly, remember to look up and avoid planting trees under or next to power lines. Utility conflicts will lead to power outages or trees being trimmed in unsightly ways by utility companies.
Enjoy the Benefits
While re-landscaping your yard and planting trees might seem like a lot of work at first, you’ll be happier in the long run that you put out the extra effort. You’ll find that you’ll use less energy for yourself and your utility company, and you’ll increase HVAC savings. Less fossil fuel will also be consumed by the utility to create the energy, which means less carbon dioxide emissions for the environment. The trees you plant can also help to shade patios, sidewalks, and driveways, cool the concrete, your entire yard, and even the neighborhood.
If you’re searching for more tips to help your increase your HVAC savings and efficiency in your home, don’t be afraid to reach out to our experts at Tex-Perts Cooling & Heating.