Using Shade Trees to Reduce Cooling Costs
During these hot summer months, using an air conditioner to keep your house cool can cause your electric bills to skyrocket. An easy and beautiful money-saving solution is to plant shade trees in strategic locations around your house. By blocking the sun during its peak hours, usually in the morning and early afternoon, you could cut those costs by up to 25%.
With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the right tree for your needs. Deciduous trees, or those that lose their leaves each year, are a great choice. October Glory Maple treesmake perfect shade trees. They create a leafy canopy to shade your entire house. They can also cover your driveway and sidewalk, which collect heat when exposed to the sun. When the cooler months come, they drop their leaves, which allows the winter sun to make its way through and warm your house.
Another benefit is to provide shade for your air conditioning unit. When an air conditioner is exposed to full sun, its efficiency is decreased. Unlike sheds or awnings, which can trap the hot air being expelled, this allows proper ventilation while still blocking the sun. Be sure to trim any low-hanging branches that come within a few feet of the air conditioner, as they could block air flow to and from the unit.
When planting shade trees, keep in mind how tall they will grow through the years. Some varieties, such as Japanese Maple or Dogwood, are shorter, and aren't likely to grow more than 15-20 feet tall. Others, like the American Elm or White Oak, can grow to be more than twice that size. Choose one that will be the most beneficial to your house. While a smaller tree may be more aesthetically pleasing to you, it may not be large enough to give the amount of shade you are looking for. Also, give thought to where you plant in relation to your house. While a densely packed row may seem to give the most shade, it may be blocking air flow. If done correctly, you can actually use them to direct cool breezes toward your home, doing even more to reduce your electric bills.