Strategically placed trees around your home can help reduce your heating and cooling costs. In the hotter months, trees save energy by shading your home. They can act as a wind breaker during winter months.
Shade trees (a minimum of three large trees around your home) can reduce air conditioning costs up to 30 percent. Shade trees offer their best benefits when you:
- Plant deciduous trees, which shed their leaves during the winter. These trees provide shade and block heat during hotter months. By dropping their leaves in the fall they admit sunlight in the colder months.
- Place these trees on the south and west sides of buildings.
- Shade all hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks to minimize landscape heat load.
Use evergreens, which retain their leaves/needles yearlong, in a planned pattern. They will serve as windbreaks to save from 10 to 50 percent in energy used for heating. Evergreens offer the best benefits when you:
- Place them to intercept and slow winter winds, usually on the north side of your home.
- Do not plant them on the south or west side of your home, because they will block warming sunlight during the winter. These trees also provide some shading benefits during summer.
Check with a professional to assure correct selection of species and their placement to maximize energy savings, and always call 811 before any digging project.
Source: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service