Strategically Planting Trees

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Being Green

I was reading up on how to strategically planting trees can go a long way in reducing your annual heating/cooling costs.  The directions assume you live in the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. opposite directions for Southern Hemisphere).

In Summer:  The simple premise is that a shaded house and roof is much easier to cool, and a shaded heat pump will not work as hard, thus running less often and less strenuously.  Another smart idea is to plant shade trees over driveways, sidewalks, and other high heat areas to reduce the capture and retaining of heat.  You can prune the lower branches to allow your vision to be unobstructed.

In Winter:  The trees you want to plant should be deciduous so they provide maximum shade during the summer yet lose their leaves in the winter, thus allowing the sun to warm the exterior of the house in the winter.  In the North side of your house you can plant evergreens which act as a wind block from cold wind emanating from the North.

Source: Tree Planting Tips

My application thus as I’ve added trees to the East, South and Western sides of the house.  This summer’s energy bills have been at least 15% lower than the years where we did not have as many trees.  It is already making a difference and in several years they will have paid for themselves.  In fact if you do this well with proper strategy and vision – you supposedly can cut 35% off your energy bills (see article above).

East and SouthEast side of house – I planted two 4″ trunk October Glory and two 4″ trunk Autumn Blaze Maple trees 3 years ago and they have grown like wildfire.  Beautiful red / orange colors during fall.  The Maples also have been providing a good amount of privacy.  I also planted a 2″ trunk Redbud tree right next to the house and raised deck.  It is a smaller sized tree and often grows on the periphery of streams and forests.  Its root systems grow more vertically down than horizontally making it safer to plant near houses.

South side of house – My heat pump was installed on the south side of the house making it very hot for most of the day.  Last year I planted two clump river birches to provide enough shade to the heat pump but also to give some privacy.

South West / West side of house – Our house was a model home so it had some nice landscaping and two Magnolia trees and a Bradford Pear.  I wanted to provide more shade for the driveway and unfortunately my west opening garage door (read oven during the latter part of the day / evening in the summer).  I added two more river clump birches to provide some more shade.

North side of house – We had two evergreens that came with the house.  I would like to add two more next spring to the north side of the house so we have some privacy from that side.

East Side of House

South Side of House 1

South Side of House 2

SouthWest Side of House

West Side of House


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