I came across this article....since "Spring has Sprung", I thought I'd share....
Savings You Don’t Have to Go Out On a Limb For
This article is from: Energy Saving, Better Heating & Cooling
Shady SavingsHGTVProBy Wayne A. Endicott
When discussions concerning energy conservation crop up, everybody talks about insulation, heating and cooling equipment sizing, window types and the like. But how often do you hear trees and bushes mentioned in the conversation?
However, thoughtful landscape design actually can lower the demands put on an air-conditioning and heating system, according to landscape architects Rosheen Styczinski, FASLA, of New Eden Landscape Architecture of Milwaukee, and Hugh Dargan, ASLA, of Dargan Landscape Architects, Atlanta.
"The most obvious example of this would be the use of shade trees in strategic locations," says Rosheen, who chairs the Residential Professional Interest Group of the Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Landscape Architects. "Planting deciduous trees to provide shade on the south side of a site can lower the cooling load during the summer months by providing a solar shield."
Why deciduous trees? "Because they will drop their leaves in the fall, thereby letting sunlight through to provide solar heating in the winter, lowering the heating bill as well," Rosheen explains.
Bushes and other shrubbery can cast a beneficial shadow, too. They are especially useful in shading an air conditioner, provided that they leave enough ventilation to ensure operating efficiency. Another suggestion from Rosheen is the use of vines on a site. For that purpose, she recommends either Boston ivy or Engelman's ivy—fast growing species that will provide thermal protection quickly.
Hugh suggests other landscaping tricks that can promote energy savings. "Including a small pond, a fountain or a waterfall in a strategic location can lower the cooling costs for a site," he maintains. "Placing either in a spot where the prevailing winds can blow across them before reaching the site will provide cooling benefits as well as adding to the ambience of the landscaping."
Hugh emphasizes, however, that it is important to provide a conduit for those breezes to reach the site—a wind tunnel between the trees and bushes that directs the breezes to the side of the site.
The right tree in the right place"The choice of trees and the locations where they are planted are also important to achieve the maximum benefits," Hugh says. "Best selections are fast-growing varieties, such as maples, burr oaks, overcup oaks and river birches," he suggests. "Be sure, though, that the mature tree's wood will withstand strong winds. Otherwise, you risk damage to the building that the tree is supposed to protect."
The North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (www.ngemc.com) offers the following suggestions for sitting and planting a tree:
Know its size at full maturity.
Choose a location where it has room to grow and where it will provide direct shade, blocking overhead sun on the south side and low-angle sun on the east and west sides.
Trees to the south should be fairly close to the site, but not any closer than one-half the mature-crown diameter.
Trees on the east and west sides should provide a screen against the morning and evening sun.
Trees can save you money on heating and cooling while they add beauty and value to the property. An environmental bonus: They even help clean the air.
© 1995-2012 Trade Press Media Group, Inc.
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