3 Landscaping Tips That Can Lower Your Energy Bill

shade trees lower energy billGiven the high cost of living in the Los Angeles area, anything you can do to control your expenses without cutting into your comfort pays off. With a little strategic landscaping, you can reduce your home’s need for cooling while creating more enjoyable surroundings.

1 • Shade your home

Shading the west and southwest sides of your home could cut your summer cooling bills by as much as 20 percent. Deciduous trees are an excellent long-term investment towards lower cooling costs. For our area, jacaranda, magnolia, and Texas umbrella tree are especially good choices. If you want shade faster, consider installing a trellis and planting a fast-growing climbing vine. Plant shrubs along your driveway, walkways, and other hard surfaces, too. When these surfaces are shaded and kept cool, they’ll radiate less heat toward your home.

2 • Direct the wind

If your home is in the path of hot, drying winds, planting a row of trees or shrubs or building a windbreak can spare your home from added heat. A mixture of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees tends to work best. On the other hand, if you find your home feels cooler when the breeze reaches it, you can enhance the effect by planting evergreen trees and shrubs to funnel the wind toward your home. Your living wind funnel should start out wide where the wind comes in and narrow as it nears your house.

3 • Create an island of comfort

Just as an urban “heat island” traps heat, an island of vegetation tends to stay cooler by creating shade and carrying away heat through evapotranspiration. You can put your home at the center of a cooling island by surrounding it in trees, shrubbery, and planting beds. Focus on native, drought-tolerant species. You’ll keep your water bills down and reduce the amount of humidity that gets into your home. To protect your foundation and sewer line, avoid planting trees with invasive root systems close to these areas.