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Beauty Meets Functionality…Conserving Energy & Landscaping

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by Sabina Mendez
(Chicago, USA)

Trying to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer have been primary concerns and costs for average families. After Hurricane Katrina, the world found itself having to deal with higher energy costs in order to meet the aforementioned concerns.

After Katrina natural gas and oil prices went on an upward spiral. What has not been popularly explored was that landscaping is capable of conserving energy in the home.

How much energy can you really save?

By effectively arranging your landscape to meet specific energy needs, you can save up to at least 30% in the cost of your cooling and heating. Trees, which are a staple in properly landscaped property, can effectively reduce 60% of sunlight even without foliage.

How does it work?

The primary consideration in landscaping in to conserve energy is to conduct heat effectively through the property, properly direct wind movement to manage the effects of direct wind blowing through the house, and maintain whatever heat or cool is in the house.

These are the three goals, and these are achieved by positioning various foliage— whether it be deciduous trees, conifer trees, evergreen plants, shrubs or bushes.

Keeping the Heat In

Shrubs and bushes that are planted close to the wall of the house create what is called a dead air barrier, and actually buffers the foundation of the house, making sure that warm air or cold – whichever is inside the house – that would usually escape through roofs or windows stays inside.

Redirecting the sunlight

The summer sun is one of the main culprits of increasing heat inside the home. When the sun’s rays hit the home directly, 90% of this heat goes into heating the walls and foundations of the home.

The best location for these trees in the yard or garden is either west or south of the house, where they can best block the sun from its peak time until the time it sets.

By putting trees very proximate to the property, you are effectively reducing temperatures inside the home. Huge shade trees in particular can reduce temperatures up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the winter, deciduous trees that shed foliage allow for sunlight to pass through the branches, providing some warmth to the home.

Landscaping is an activity that should be maximized for all its functionality. After all, if beautifying a home garden or yard works to cut the utility bills it is worth consideration.

Updated: December 22, 2013 — 10:02 pm

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