Lush landscaping is a surefire way to ramp up the curb appeal of any home -- but its beauty goes beyond the aesthetic.
In fact, one of the best, most natural ways too cool off your home in the summer, warm it up in the winter, and insulate it year-round is through the strategic use of trees, shrubs, and other plants. This week, we're learning how to plant the seeds of sustainability by using landscaping to cut energy bills. Thanks to our friends over at Green Home Guide
for sharing their green knowledge.
1. Plant Trees, Use Less Air Conditioning
If you plant trees now
, they'll give your house enough shade five years from now that you'll be able to lower your air conditioning a few degrees. Mature trees can cut down on cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. (Before choosing saplings to plant, consult your city's public works department to make sure that type tree won't develop invasive roots that may eventually block water or sewer lines.)
2. Use Native Plants, Sweat Less
Plants that have adapted, over thousands of years, to your local soil and climate require less care in order to thrive. That means less watering, fertilizing, and pesticides -- which equals less resources, less work on your part, and less energy put forth in general.
3. Use Vertical Shading Where the Sun Sets
On the west side of your house, plant vertically
-- vine-wrapped trellises, tall shrubs, and trees are good choices for block the harsh, low-angle low angle rays of sun in the late afternoon, when the sun is setting. Opt for native deciduous plants, which shed their leaves in the winter, allowing that sun to shine in when you need it most.
4. Plant a Green Roof
They're most used in cities to combat the urban heat island effect
, but green roofs -- roofs that are partially or fully covered with plants
-- increase the insulation and energy efficiency of any home (or even just the garage). If you're interested in planting a green roof
, it's important to first consult a structural engineer
or green roofing contractor to make sure your building can bear the load, and to understand how to properly and safely construct a green roof
This information is courtesy of the U.S. Green Building Council. For more tips on saving energy and greening your home, visit USGBC's Green Home Guide.