With the arrival of spring, many are thinking about doing some landscaping around their home. But did you know that your landscape can be doing double-duty? Use these tips from Northwest Indiana’s Home Inspector to not only provide an attractive accent for your home, but increase your home’s efficiency and lower your energy bills at the same time!
In the summer, solar heat is absorbed through windows and roofs of your homes. By strategically planting several trees, you can reduce the amount of solar heat absorbed by your home! The temperature in the shade beneath a tree can be as much as 25 degrees cooler than the nearby blacktop, and by shading your air conditioning unit, you can increase its efficiency by up to 10%!
Depending on what sort of protection you would like for your home, different types of trees will best suit your needs. If you would like to protect your roof from the sun’s rays in the summer, but allow the sun to warm your home in the winter, plant a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves every autumn.) But if you want to give your home continuous protection, be it from wind or sun, an evergreen tree would be best for that need. A tree with a high, spreading branches should be planted to the south of your home to offer maximum protection. A shorter tree with lower branches would be best placed on the west side of your home, to offer relief from the afternoon angles of the sun’s rays. However, if you home is solar-heated, don’t plant a tree to the south of your house, as this will inhibit the warmth of the sun in the winter.
As a general rule, slow-growing trees live longer than rapid-growing trees, and are usually more drought resistent, with deeper roots and stronger branches that are less prone to break or snap. A 6-8′ tree will begin to provide shade for a nearby window in its first year, and can shade the roof in approximately 5-10 years.