It may sound unusual, but your home’s landscape can affect its cooling costs during the summer. A poorly designed landscape can lead to higher cooling costs. You’ll have to run your air conditioning system for a longer period to achieve a cool and comfortable interior. And the longer you run, the higher your utility bills will be. With a well-designed landscape, however, you can create a more energy-efficient home with lower cooling costs.
Trees Cast Shade
Including trees in your home’s landscape can lead to lower cooling costs. They’ll cast shade over your home that reduces the amount of solar heat it absorbs. Your home will inevitably absorb some heat from the sun. Trees simply reduce the amount of solar heat it absorbs by casting shade over it.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), trees positioned in the right area can cut a home’s total energy usage – including its costs – by as much as 25%. When planting trees, consider placing them in areas that receive direct sunlight during most of the daylight hours.
Plants Provide Insulation
You can use plants to lower your home’s cooling costs. When grown directly against your home or in a flowerbed close to your home, plants will provide insulation. They’ll serve as a physical barrier between your home’s conditioned interior and the outdoors. As a result, your home will absorb less heat through the walls.
Some homeowners grow plants vertically to achieve a superior level of insulation. You can grow climbing plants on a lattice that’s installed directly against your home, for instance. As the climbing plants grow, they’ll provide insulation that makes your home more energy efficient.
Groundcoves Minimize Heat Gain
Using groundcovers in your home’s landscape can reduce its cooling costs. Groundcovers are plants that grow quickly and close to the ground. When used in areas around concrete and asphalt, they’ll minimize heat gain. Less heat will be able to transfer from the concrete or asphalt to your home.
Groundcovers offer other benefits. In addition to minimizing heat gain, they’ll protect the soil from erosion. They’ll disrupt rainwater so that it doesn’t wash away the soil.
When planning your home’s landscape, you should consider how it will affect your home’s cooling costs. Trees can cast shade; plants can provide insulation; and groundcovers can minimize heat gain. With the right landscape, your air conditioning system won’t have to run as long or work as hard to cool your home.