A well-designed landscape not only can add beauty to your home but also can reduce your heating and cooling costs. A well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce your energy bills. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses.
In Florida’s humid climate try to –
- Channel summer breezes toward the home.
- Solar heat absorbed through windows and roofs can increase cooling costs, shade by landscaping elements can help reduce this solar heat gain. Shading and evapotranspiration from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 6° F.
- Using shade effectively requires you to know the size, shape, and location of the moving shadow that your shading device casts.
- Although a slow-growing tree may require many years of growth before it shades your roof, it will generally live longer than a fast-growing tree. Also, because slow-growing trees often have deeper roots and stronger branches, they are less prone to breakage by windstorms. Slow-growing trees can also be more drought resistant than fast-growing trees.
- Trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants can also shade the ground and pavement around the home. This reduces heat radiation and cools the air before it reaches your home’s walls and windows. Use a large bush or row of shrubs to shade a patio or driveway; a hedge to shade a sidewalk.
- Vines can also shade walls during their first growing season. A lattice or trellis with climbing vines, or a planter box with trailing vines, shades the home’s perimeter while admitting cooling breezes to the shaded area.
- 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 could cause problems.
- To ensure lasting performance of energy-saving landscaping, use plant species that are native as they require little maintenance once established.
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