Landscaping for energy efficiency

A well-landscaped yard can beautify a home’s exterior. But did you know it can also reduce heating and cooling costs?

Consider these four elements of an energy-efficient landscape design:


Each climate zone requires a different landscaping strategy.

  • In temperate climates like California you want to shade against the summer sun, allow for solar gain in the winter and allow for a cross breeze in the summer to help cool the home.
  • In hot humid climates like Atlanta and Houston, you want to avoid planting water intensive trees and shrubs too close the house in order to avoid mildew issues.
  • In hot and dry regions like Arizona, you want to maximize shade on roofs, windows and walls.
  • In cold areas like Chicago you want to create wind breaks along the north west side of the home, but keep trees on the south side only if they do not block winter sun from entering the windows to help warm the house.


Microclimate is the area directly around the home.  If you live on a lake your home may be cooler than the surrounding area.  If you’re on the sunny slope of a hill your home may be warmer than others.  Take this into consideration when installing or thinning trees.


Use trees and other plants to help shade your home to help reduce cooling costs.  But, be careful not to provide shading that may prevent solar warmth from helping to heat your home in the winter.


Use windbreaks—tree and/or shrub plantings—around your home to help reduce heating costs.  Simply put, a windbreak will reduce the wind chill around your home.

Summer is the time of year when most homeowners consider landscaping for beauty. Keep these tips in mind to also improve your home’s energy efficiency – and add your own in the comments section!

Source: Old House Web

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