This winter caused a lot of worries and concerns for a lot of people who did not know how they can afford the outrageous increases in the cost of heating oil.

The sudden spike in home heating costs forced people to get creative and make their homes more energy efficient. Many homeowners took measures such as installing high R - value insulation in the walls of their homes, replacing old windows with high R value - energy efficient windows, and energy star rated home heating systems.

Like everything else in life, tough times call for innovative and adaptive measures. Luckily, the oil prices did not go up as much as was earlier anticipated. Slow economy did help to bring the price of crude oil down which in turn helped to contain the price of heating oil for our homes.

Hopefully, it will stay this way for some time and now that the winter is in full bloom, it may not be a bad idea to start planning for the summer when will have to deal with energy efficiency and air conditioning costs ones again.

In my previous post, I have suggested measures such as installing cool roofing systems to reduce the load on air conditioning and help with energy savings. House Insulation, Energy Efficient Windows, and cool roofing systems are all very viable options when it comes to making our homes more energy efficient.

Today, I would like to suggest another way to make our homes greener and energy efficient for the summer using what the mother nature has given us.

Planting trees on the south side of your home can provide the shadow for your house, which will reduce the load on you air conditioning and result in significant energy savings, especially if you live in a one story ranch that has a lot of windows facing the south side.

Planting the trees will improve the aesthetic appeal of your home. To do this right, would require some skillful landscaping on your part, but the pay back is well worth the effort; you get energy efficiency, a beautiful landscape and fresher air outside of your home.

What type of plants should I use to provide shadow for my windows and help with the energy efficiency?

It is best to use deciduous trees because they will shadow your windows from the sun in the summer, but in the fall they will drop their leaves letting the sunlight through, which will help to warm up your rooms and reduce heating expenditures. This would also work well with R -rated energy efficient windows that would let the sunlight in the winter, and help retain the warmth inside your room.

What particular trees can use to block the solar heat from my home?

You could use maples, burr oaks, overcup oaks and river birches. When planting the trees it is important to make sure that mature trees will be able to withstand the strong winds so they do not cause the damage to the home they are supposed to protect.

Another technique you could use is using the trees to cast a shadow on your air conditioning unit. This should be done with care as there needs to be adequate ventilation present.

In tough times we have to use every measure we can to fight the rising energy costs and global warming. Let smart landscaping be one of the ways to accomplish it.


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As Always, I invite your comments, ideas, suggestions and contributions. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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