Now that the hottest summer ever recorded is behind us, we can all heave a collective sigh of relief and look forward to fall and all the beauties that it holds in wait for us. Fall’s cooler temperatures mean that it is a wonderful time to be outside, and if you are going to be outside anyways you may as well plant something. You may not realize this but a well-designed landscape, while adding curb appeal to your home, can actually reduce your heating and cooling costs. Landscaping is one of the best long term investments you can make that not only reduces your heating and cooling cost but also brings other improvements to your community.
Texas’s location in the interior of the United States makes us more likely to see extremes in our weather, in general, than locals along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The Dallas area usually falls under the hot-humid climate designation, to maximize your landscaping goals your should look for ways to channel summer breezes toward your home while maximizing summer shade with trees that will still allow the winter sun to reach the home. You should also avoid planting anything that needs frequent watering near your home. You should also take into consideration the location of your home; is there a nearby body of water like a lake or creek? Does the breeze normally come from the east or west but your home faces north or south? These factors all help determine what plants may or may not grow best in your yard.
This was the first summer without the large tree that had protected my house from the sun and boy could I tell a difference. Not only did my house not stay as cool as it normally has but my light bill went up as well. Incorporating shade into your landscaping can definitely help reduce your cooling cost. Since cooler air settles near the ground, the air temperature directly under a tree can be as much as 25 degrees cooler. A 6’-8’ deciduous tree planted near your home will begin shading windows in the first year and depending on the species and the home, could shade the roof in as little as 5-10 years. Keep in mind, though, that while a slower growing tree may take longer to shade your roof; it will typically have deeper roots and stronger branches and can also be more drought resistant. Shrubs and vines can also shade walls during their first growing season but be cautious of dense foliage too close to your home if wetness or humidity is a problem. In addition to shade, trees and shrubs also provide excellent wind protection which can help reduce your heating costs. A wind break can lower the wind chill near your home, for maximum protection make sure to plant your wind breaking trees at a distance of two to five times the mature height from your home. Also, be careful not to plant trees and shrubs too close to the south side of your home if you are counting on the winter sun to provide warmth.
As we are all abundantly aware of in the North Texas area, water conservation is of key importance when it comes to your home’s landscaping, but you can have a beautiful, energy efficient landscape that is water friendly too. The use of mulch and improving your soil can enable better absorption and minimize evaporation and by keeping your landscape maintained properly by weeding, pruning and fertilizing your can effectively water your plants while still cooling your home. Early morning watering is best as the evaporation rate is at its lowest in the morning hours. If you can determine exactly how much water your plants actually need then you won’t over water them and waste water.
More detailed information can be found at http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/old/16632.pdf . We believe an educated customer is the best kind of customer and that is our goal, to educate our customers so that they can get the best possible service and product. No one should ever feel like they are being taken advantage of and at AC Wizard we strive to make sure that every customer is an informed customer and has all the information needed to make an educated decision and never feel they are being taken advantage of. When Quality Matters, call AC Wizard at 214-342-2665, we are here to help.