Energy Efficient Landscaping Tips

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How can I use trees for a windbreak?

Evergreen Trees as Windbreak

Plant evergreen trees in staggered rows to screen prevailing winds. Note that a windbreak protects an area 10 times its height, so a stand of 5-foot tall trees will reduce wind up to 50 feet away.

   
Did You Know This?

Grass: Nature's Air Conditioning

A healthy front lawn has the same cooling effect as an 8-1/2 ton air-conditioning compressor. The plants transpire (evaporate water through the leaf surface) to cool themselves, and cool the immediate area to boot. About half of the heat energy directed to a turf area is eliminated by transpiration. When the temperature of the sidewalk is 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of the adjacent turf remains near 75. This cooling may last into the night, with studies showing a 13-degree cooling at 9 p.m. (Mississippi State University).

   
What is the best orientation for a new house?

Orient new house south

If you are building a new house, try to orient your house directly south so you can take advantage of the winter sun. Ideally, you should experience your property for a whole year to determine the sun's path over it. If this isn't possible, make a model duplicating the sun's travel and nearby obstructions.

   
Did You Know This?

Budget Landscaping

Recent studies of real estate transactions show that a well maintained landscape adds significantly to the resale value of the home. The value added ranged from $2,000 to over $15,000 for the typical, 4-bedroom, 2-bath home.

The average annual expense for an established 5,000 square foot lawn is approximately $100. Assume that you'd lived in the home for 5 years and restored a neglected lawn through normal maintenance, and do the math to determine the rate of return on your investment.

   
What should I consider when planning an energy efficient landscape?

Planning considerations

When planning your site, try to combine a conservation ethic with a site-planning process that emphasizes human comfort. The amount of care and planning of your house site will be reflected in the success of the energy-saving design of the house, specifically in the way the sun, wind, view, and privacy are handled. Consider that you will be making a statement that will have a lasting impact on the environment and change the nature of the landscape. Spend the time to walk over your land and study its features before you decide on a landscape plan.

   
How do I plan for an energy efficient landscape?

Consideration when planning energy efficient landscape

These are some questions to consider when planning for an energy efficient landscape:

1. What is the sun's path over your site in relation to nearby ridges, tree lines, or structures during the summer and the winter?
2. What are the prevailing wind directions for winter storms, as well as for summer day-night breezes?
3. What is the orientation of the view you wish to let in?
4. What is the orientation of developed areas around the site that might require screening at or away from the house?

   
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Jolyn Wells-Moran