Tree Care – Using Trees to Save Energy

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,112
    Peter Gerstenberger for the Tree Care Industry Association shows us how trees can help you save on your energy costs in your home.

    Peter Gerstenberger: Hi! I'm Peter Gerstenberger, Senior Advisor for Tree Care Industry Association, talking to you about tree care basics. We're going to take a look at how trees can help you save on your energy costs in your home. Trees around your home, according to a Pennsylvania study, can help you save up to 75% on your home cooling costs.

    Another study by the Department of Energy, using computer modeling, showed that the proper placement of trees can cut from $100 to $250 a year off your home cooling costs. So, now we're going to take a look at how we place those trees around our home to save on energy.

    Whether it's incorporating shading concepts into your landscape design or taking care of the big trees you already have, trees can help reduce this solar heat gain, reducing your cooling costs. If you live in a temperate climate, you want to plant deciduous trees. Those are trees that lose their leaves in the winter, and put those on the south and west sides of the building. Those are the sides of the house where the sun's rays are the most intense. Large evergreen trees should not be planted on the southern sides of homes in cold climates, because the branches of these trees will block some winter sun.

    Trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants can shade the ground and pavement around the home. This reduces heat radiation and cools the air before it even reaches your home's walls and windows. Shrubs planted close to the house will fill in rapidly and begin shading walls and windows within a few years. However, avoid allowing dense foliage to grow immediately next to a home where wetness and continual humidity can be problems.

    So, as you can see, the trees in your landscape provide dividends that are pretty significant on several levels. It's worth your while to call in a professional to consult with you about the best way to maintain these trees. A professional arborist will evaluate the trees in your landscape or can talk to you about proper trees to plant to enhance the energy savings you might get from your landscape.

    Speaking of planting, next in our series, we're going to look at how to properly plant the tree.