Most homeowners value having mature trees that provide generous shade in the yard. After all, there’s nothing like finding shelter in a leafy retreat on a warm day. But did you know that shade trees can also help you save money on your utility bill? Read on and learn how you can realize HVAC savings by planting trees.
Shade and Your HVAC System
The most obvious way that shade trees help lower your utility bill is by blocking solar radiation. Trees not only prevent sunlight from entering in windows, but also protect the roof at midday.
Shade trees also help the outdoor HVAC condenser run cooler by blocking the sun. The less sunlight, the less heat the parts generate as they work to cool your home.
But shade trees also generate cool air through a process known as transpiration. When the roots of trees and other plants draw water into the plant, it is “breathed” into the atmosphere through the leaves, the moisture turning into a vapor. As this process takes place, the nearby air is cooled by the moisture. Transpiration can account for a cooling effect of as much as 6 degrees.
Where and What Trees to Plant?
Unless you’re experienced at landscaping and know your trees, you might want the advice of a nursery professional or arborist when shopping for and planning where to plant trees.
It’s best to plant your trees no closer than 10 feet to the home. This will help to keep tree limbs from damaging the roof during storms, and may help prevent roots from cracking the foundation.
Avoid fast-growing species, which tend to break off and be unstable. Also, before you buy, ask about height, growth habit and vulnerabilities to insect pests or diseases.
Select trees of smaller heights for the eastern and western sides of the house to block sun when it rises and sets; select taller species for the south side to block midday sun on the roof.
For more on HVAC savings, contact Roth Heating and Cooling. We serve Portland and the surrounding area.