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Energy Saving Landscaping

29 June 2010

So, I got a request from @EcoMetroTwinC to talk a little bit about using landscaping to enhance energy savings in our homes.  Planting the right trees in the right places can definitely make a difference when it comes to our heating and cooling bills.  In many areas in the country, planting trees to reduce summer cooling needs is ten times more cost effective than building new power plants for the same purpose.  In places like my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, planting tall shading trees on the south side to block high summer rays makes a big difference.

In Minnesota, however, we are smack dab in Zone 1 – which means our cold winters are a much higher energy priority than our summers.  Shocking, I know.  For our region, it’s best not to mess too much with the south side of your home because we can use all the solar gain we can get in the winter.  Even shade trees that lose their leaves in the winter can block a considerable amount of sun.  This isn’t to say that if you have vegetation on the south side of your house that you should cut it down.

Instead, focus your efforts on the north side of your home.  No one in Minnesota is safe from the blistering north winds, the kind that make your eyes water and pull your scarf up to your eyeballs.  While we are all basking in the glorious summer, it’s the best time to prepare by planting evergreens on the northwest side of your home to create a shield from that wind this winter.  It does make a difference!

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