Black Homeowners Guide:

How To Slash Your Energy Cost Through Creative Landscaping

If you're serious about cutting your home energy costs and you should be, have you looked at your gas and electric bill lately. The solution? Pay closer attention to your home landscaping, the kind of landscaping and the layout.

According to the U.S Department of Energy, energy-efficient home landscaping can reduce your energy bill up to 25 percent.

Proper placement of trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and hedges allows you to control the climate around your home. For example, you can maximize shade during the summer and reduce wind-chill during the winter.

Energy-efficient home landscaping is one of the best investments you can make dollar for dollar. Not only can it increase the resale value of your property, it can also produce enough savings to return your initial investment in less than ten years. So, it's not surprising more homeowners than ever use energy-conserving home landscaping around their homes.

I. Developing a Home Landscaping Plan for Energy Efficiency

There are many home landscaping methods to increase energy conservation, but not all match your property and climate zone.

So, before you start planting, take the time to evaluate your current home landscaping. Find the type of trees, shrubs and other plants that will thrive and provide the best energy-saving to you based on your local climate. To find this answer consult with local nurseries in your area.

Your home's exposure to the sun away, it's northern exposure and other clues will determine your homes landscaping needs.

In addition, any nearby buildings, fences, walls, large trees, and bodies of water can affect your home landscaping decisions.

II. Home Landscaping to Maximize Shade

Properly planned home landscaping can reduce your air-conditioning costs in the summer by providing shade from the hot morning and afternoon sun.

Deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in winter) give shade in the summer when its leaves are in full bloom. In addition, this tree also helps to warm the home in winter by letting low-angle winter sun filter through its bare branches.

Home landscaping that maximizes shade can reduce temperature inside the home by as much as 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, shading your air-conditioner through home landscaping also increases the unit's efficiency. In addition, shading the ground and pavement with trees, shrubs, and ground cover, plants reduces surrounding air temperatures.

Other heat-reducing home landscaping ideas include building a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio and planting a row of shrubs to shade a driveway.

III. Home Landscaping for Wind Protection

Home landscaping to divert the flow of cold winds helps cut down your home heating costs in the winter.

Trees, shrubs, bushes, walls, and fences make effective windbreaks for winter-protected home landscaping. Your home can achieve good wind protection through home landscaping. How? By planting evergreen trees and shrubs along the north and northwest areas of your property.

For the best wind protection, make sure the foliage density on the windward side of your property is 60 percent. A well-designed home landscaping provides energy savings year-round.

Enjoy the warmth of the winter sun by not planting evergreens too close to the south side of your home. Shrubs, bushes and vines planted close to your house create dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer.

Use these natural low-cost ways to make your home more energy efficient. They will not only increase your homes beauty they'll reduce your energy cost too!

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