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Trees Cool Your Home

Miami-Dade County, along with the Adopt-a-Tree program partners, is determined to make a difference and help our community. One excellent way to save money on your summer cooling bills is to plant trees in strategic locations in order to maximize shading of your walls and windows.

The following are tips on cooling your home, how to save money and how to help the environment.

Can your landscaping help?

Faced with rising energy costs, homeowners are looking for ways to conserve energy in their homes. Proper landscaping can be an excellent way to conserve energy – if done right. Proper use of trees and shrubs can actually cool the climate around your home by shading the outer walls, windows, doors, and roof of your home from the brutal summer sun. We’ll show you how "strategically landscape" to maximize the benefits gained by planting trees in your yard.

How to plan for energy conservation

First some things to keep in mind:

  • A tree that will reach a medium to large size should be located 16-22 feet from the side of a house.
  • Smaller trees can be planted closer at about 10-16 feet.
  • The three sides of your home that receive the most sunlight are the east, west, and south. For best results, at least three trees should be planted on these three sides.

Now study the sun:

  • If your goal is to shade the windows in your home, locate windows and glass doors on the east and west sides of the house.
  • Try to find a spot due East or West of the chosen window. Make sure that the spot you’ve chosen is the recommended distance from the house for that size tree.
  • The ideal location for your new tree will provide shade over those windows during the greatest portion of the day that they are directly exposed to sunlight so make sure you are planting close enough to your home to get maximum shading.

Other Options:

  • Planting to the South: Energy conservation can also be achieved by planting trees to the South of your home. Since the sun arcs a bit to the South, planting trees to the South can provide shade through most of the day. Again, plan your ideal location based on the location of windows on the South side of your home.
  • A/C Unit Care: The air conditioning compressor/condenser unit works best when cool. By planting shade trees to protect the A/C unit from the sun, your system will work more efficiently. Care must be taken, however, not to restrict air-flow. Don’t plant a hedge around the unit, instead plant trees at strategic locations to provide shade over the unit.
  • Using Color to Conserve: The next time you paint your house, or are re-roofing, use very light colors. Dark colors absorb heat and cost more to air-condition your home while light colors reflect heat and keep it cool. A study by the Florida Solar Energy Center showed that resurfacing roofs with light colors (especially white) reduced air-conditioning energy use (and cost) by anywhere from 25%-43%. Since A/C energy use is usually half of the electric bill, that can add up to big savings.

How much you can save?

Once established, most landscape trees require only periodic maintenance and represent an appreciating investment in the home's value. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a household’s energy consumption from reduced heating and cooling. Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of only three trees will save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs a year.

Remember, proper planting techniques must be utilized to ensure a long, healthy life for your tree.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:46:15 PM
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