Lower Your AC Bill: Plant a Tree

b2ap3_thumbnail_cool-your-homeWhen you think about energy saving tips, your landscaping decisions may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But your trees can play an important role in staying cool this summer and for many summers to come.

We only get a few months of hot weather here in the Portland area, but even the Northwest can have some unforgiving heat now and again.

According to the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research, planting three trees around the perimeter of your home can save you up to 30 percent on your energy bills. Those savings may not be quite so generous for our milder climate, but it can still be significant.

It’s just a matter of planting trees and shrubs in the right spots.

Planting large trees on the east and west sides of your home will help shade it from the hot summer sun. Since most of us are off to work in the morning (when the sun is rising in the east), it’s particularly important to shade the west side when we’re home in the evenings and depending on our AC unit for a cool indoor climate. That late afternoon, early evening sun can be brutally hot, which may lead you to adjust your thermostat down a few degrees if not well shaded.

Besides shading your home, there are also benefits to shading other parts of your property. Since you may need to wait patiently for larger trees to grow to home-shading heights, give priority to lower areas. For instance, if it’s possible to shade your air conditioning unit, it can run more efficiently. Just make sure to plant trees or shrubs far enough away to not obstruct airflow. Remember to account for a tree’s growth into maturity when deciding on placement.

Patios, driveways and sidewalks can all radiate significant heat in the summer. Strategically shading these areas with trees and shrubs can cool the exterior area of your property which can contribute to cooling your home. Think of it as creating your own climate-controlled environment. It will help make those dog days of summer much more bearable.

Give us a call if you need help choosing and planting trees that work best for you.

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