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Kentucky Living Home

Shade-tree savings

By National Rural Electric Cooperative Association from May 2014 Issue

Shade-tree savings

Credit: Comstock Images/ Stockbyte/THINKSTOCK

Plant shrubs and trees that lose their leaves in the fall on the west and south sides of your home, and evergreen trees, which block some of winter's winds, on the north and west sides of your home.

Strategically planting trees and shrubs around your home is a tried and true way to lower your energy use—but you will need to plan ahead for best results.   

Do plant shrubs and trees that lose their leaves in the fall on the west and south sides of your home. Their shade during the hottest portion of each summer day will help your air-conditioning system run less often. Then when their leaves drop, you'll have more natural daylight and warmth during the winter. 

Do plant evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your home. They'll block some of winter's cold winds and help your heating system run less often.

Do trim away stray leaves and limbs of plants around and above your air-conditioning system's compressor for proper airflow and efficient operation.

Do be sure to check the location of underground or overhead power lines before you start digging. Read the tag on the shrub or tree to get an idea of how wide and how tall it will grow, then choose your planting site to give it plenty of clearance.