Rich Ligotino

Rich Ligotino

Founder at ToolBelt USA
I have been in the home-improvement industry since 2003. I don't always have the answers, but I will get them for you!
Rich Ligotino

    We all look for ways to save ener­gy around our homes.  But did you know that by sim­ply plant­i­ng a few shade trees,  you will help cool your home more effi­cient­ly in the sum­mer.

It’s no sur­prise that a shade tree can cut your ener­gy bill.  Smart land­scap­ing can go a long way toward increas­ing the com­fort of your home.  Just a few sim­ple con­sid­er­a­tions when land­scap­ing your home and prop­er­ty can make a big dif­fer­ence in your com­fort and the effi­cien­cy of your heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems.

Here is some very use­ful infor­ma­tion tak­en from FirstEnergy’s web­site :

Care­ful­ly posi­tioned trees can reduce a household’s ener­gy con­sump­tion for heat­ing and cool­ing by up to 25 per­cent. Com­put­er mod­els devised by the U.S. Depart­ment of Ener­gy pre­dict that the prop­er place­ment of only three trees can save an aver­age house­hold between $100 and $250 in ener­gy costs annu­al­ly.

On aver­age, a well designed land­scape pro­vides enough ener­gy sav­ings to return your ini­tial invest­ment in less than 8 years.

Shad­ing of an air con­di­tion­er can increase its effi­cien­cy by as much as 10 per­cent.

A well-planned land­scape can reduce an unshad­ed home’s sum­mer air-con­di­tion­ing costs by 15 to 50 per­cent.

In open areas, wind­breaks to the north, west and east of hous­es cut fuel con­sump­tion by an aver­age of 40 per­cent. Hous­es with wind­breaks placed only on the wind­ward side (the side from which the wind is com­ing) aver­aged 25 per­cent less fuel con­sump­tion than sim­i­lar, unpro­tect­ed homes.


Give high­est pri­or­i­ty to plant­i­ng shade trees due west of west win­dows. Plant­i­ng shade trees due east of east win­dows should be your sec­ond pri­or­i­ty. Select a tree that can be plant­ed with­in twen­ty feet of the win­dow and that will grow at least ten feet taller than the win­dow. When space per­mits, use as many trees as need­ed to cre­ate a con­tin­u­ous plant­i­ng along all major west- and east-fac­ing win­dows.

Con­trary to intu­ition, the least ener­gy effi­cient place for a tree is to the south of a house. In sum­mer when the sun is high at mid­day, the shad­ow of a tree falls direct­ly under the tree and entire­ly miss­es a home to its north. In win­ter, how­ev­er, the shad­ow of the same tree will fall on the house through­out most of the day. To avoid shad­ing south win­dows, any trees south of the home should be locat­ed at least twice their mature height away from the house.

Any trees on the south­west or south­east sides of the home should be pruned as they grow to remove their low­er branch­es to allow more win­ter sun through ; how­ev­er, low­er branch­es on trees north­west of the home are desir­able to cre­ate the most shade in late after­noon. Large decid­u­ous trees very close to the south side of the build­ing can have their low­er branch­es removed to allow more sun to reach the build­ing in win­ter.

An air con­di­tion­er runs more effi­cient­ly if it is in a cool­er envi­ron­ment. For instance, less air con­di­tion­ing is nec­es­sary to cool a car if it was parked in the shade. Paved areas like dri­ve­ways and patios absorb and radi­ate heat far faster than plant­ed areas. Plant trees near paved areas around the house or grow vines on a trel­lis over or near patios to cre­ate cool­er areas around your house.  For good air­flow and access, plants should be more than three feet away from the air con­di­tion­er.

Wind Breaks

Ever­green trees and shrubs plant­ed to the north and north­west of the home are the most com­mon type of wind­break. Trees, bush­es and shrubs often are plant­ed togeth­er to block or impede wind from ground lev­el to the tree­tops. Or, ever­green trees com­bined with a wall, fence or earth berm (nat­ur­al or man-made walls or raised areas of soil) can deflect or lift the wind over the home. Be care­ful not to plant ever­greens too close to your home’s south side if you are count­ing on warmth from the win­ter sun. A wind­break will reduce wind speed for a dis­tance of as much as 30 times the windbreak’s height. For max­i­mum pro­tec­tion, how­ev­er, plant your wind­break at a dis­tance from your home of two to five times the mature height of the trees.


Dead Spaces

Plant­i­ng shrubs, bush­es, and vines next to your house cre­ates dead spaces that insu­late your home in both win­ter and sum­mer. Plant so there will be at least one foot of space between full-grown plants and your home’s wall.


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