There are many different ways you can cut down on your cooling costs during summer, but some are more obvious than others. One strategy that is often overlooked is strategically placing plants, bushes, and trees around your home to protect it from the sun’s rays and warm gusts of air. To explain how this works, today we’re going to talk about how to plan your home’s landscaping to reduce cooling costs!

Shading your home by blocking out the sun’s rays

One effective way to use landscaping to reduce cooling costs is to plant trees around your home to protect from the sun’s rays. A fully-bloomed tree can provide a significant amount of shade. The EPA says that outside spaces are 6 degrees cooler in the shade than they are in treeless areas.
During summer, heat from the sun’s rays can heat your home by penetrating through your windows. This forces your air conditioner to work harder, which increases cooling costs. By strategically planting trees so that they block the sun’s rays from entering your windows, you can significantly reduce the amount of heat gain caused by the sun. This is most effectively done on the south side of your home where the sun’s rays have the biggest influence. Planting trees on the south side of your home can screen it from 70-90 percent of the heat from the sun.
If you decide to plant trees to reduce cooling costs, it’s a good idea to go with deciduous trees (trees whose leaves fall off in the winter). When it’s cold outside and deciduous trees lose their leaves, the trees will allow the sun’s rays through to your home to provide some extra heat. Then, during spring and summer when the leaves grow back, the trees will provide shade for your home.

Planting bushes, plants, and trees to protect your home from air infiltration

Another landscaping strategy for reducing cooling costs is to plant bushes, plants, and trees around the perimeter of your home to minimize air infiltration. Many homes have air leaks around their walls that allow outside air to get indoors. This increases cooling costs because the air is unconditioned and warm. By putting plants, bushes, and trees around your home, you can provide a protective barrier that reduces wind velocity and minimizes the amount of warmth that gets into your home.

Be careful about landscaping near your condenser unit

One important thing to note is that although planting things around your home is a good idea, you should not plant anything near your air conditioner’s outside condenser unit. This unit needs space to breathe so that it can have proper airflow, and placing bushes or other plants around it can block airflow and force the unit to work harder.
If you have any questions about landscaping to reduce cooling costs, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Louis area air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like St. Paul, St. Peters and Town and Country, MO.

photo credit: mikecogh via photopin (license)

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