Updated: Aug 24
Trees serve many different purposes, from providing shade, to producing fruit, to blocking out noise or unsightly views. But the usefulness of trees doesn’t stop there. Did you know that planting trees around your house can also help keep your house cool on these hot summer days? Subsequently, this can help reduce your energy bill and keep your air conditioner from working harder than it needs to.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “How can trees actually help keep my house cool?”
They keep the sun off your house.
This is the obvious one. If a tree is planted near your house, it will block the sun from hitting a portion of it, reducing the amount of solar radiation that heats up your house so quickly. Keeping as much direct sun off your house as possible makes a huge difference, with shaded areas of a house remaining up to 36 degrees cooler than areas taking on direct sunlight! To take it even further, providing shade to the roof specifically can lead to temperatures inside your home being up to 10 degrees cooler than if the roof was not shaded.
Evapo-what?? Basically, just a fancy word for trees absorbing water through their roots and evaporating it back out through pores in their leaves. This simple function of trees surprisingly plays a big part in keeping your house cool on a hot day, reducing air temperatures surrounding your house up to 9 degrees! Cooler air temperatures around your house help keep it cooler as a whole, and also results in any air that may seep in through door seems or windows being cooler than air that has been heat-soaked by the sun.
What to plant, and where to plant it.
Now that you know how trees can contribute to a lower energy bill, lets answer the questions of what to plant, and were to plant it.
First off, just as much as you want to block the sun in the summer, you don’t want to block the sun in the winter, as the sun on your house in the winter will naturally heat it and also aid in decreasing your energy bill. For this reason, it is best to plant deciduous trees, as their leaves will block the sun in the summer, and then shed their leaves to allow the sun to hit your home throughout the cold months.
You also want to think strategically regarding the direction of the sun. For example, the south side of your home will benefit more from a tree that will grow high, spreading crowns. This will provide the most shade to your roof as possible. Similarly, trees which do not grow as tall will benefit the west-facing side of your house, providing relief from lower afternoon sun exposure.
Some things to be wary of…
If your house runs on solar energy, be aware of how planting trees in certain spots might affect your solar panels. In this case, consider consulting with your solar company to find the best placement for your trees.
Out of a desire to start saving money sooner, it may be tempting to want to plant a fast-growing tree. However, long-term this may not be the best option. Exercise some patience, and go with a slow-growing tree. Even though it may require more years of growth until it shades your roof, it will live longer, will be more tolerant to factors such as drought, and will also have more time to develop stronger roots and branches that will be less likely to break or become compromised in the event of heavy snows or strong winds. In the long run, you will be protecting your home two-fold, from the exposure of the sun, and from potential damage caused from weak branches falling on your home.
Also, be careful not to plant your trees too close to your home, as this could lead to the root system of your tree doing damage to the foundation of your house, or branches causing damage to the roof. Depending on the kind of tree you choose, they should be planted 15 to 20 feet away from the house. This will ensure that you benefit from the shade of the tree while avoiding the potential damages which roots and limbs can cause.
Now that you have the knowledge on how to keep your house cool during the summer, come check out our tree sale, taking place this weekend!
We have really only scratched the surface on how to shield your house from the sun, and we know you probably have a lot of questions, or would like some recommendations. So come on by! Also be sure to ask us about the benefit of bushes and shrubs, and how they can aid in cooling down your house as well.
We are happy to help with any and all questions, so pay us a visit this weekend! And if you can’t make it in, feel free to give us a call any time. We look forward to hearing from you!
Krigger, John. “Landscaping for Shade.” Department of Energy. 2020. Web. Date accessed 9 July 2020. Retireved from https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/landscaping-energy-efficient-homes/landscaping-shade
Turley, Bruce. “Planting Shade Tress To Cool Your Home And Save Energy.” Wilcox Nursery & Landscape. 23 January 2019. Web. Date accessed 9 July 2020. Retrieved from https://www.wilcoxnursery.com/planting-shade-trees-cool-home-save-energy/#:~:text=Similarly%2C%20trees%20have%20cooling%20effects,%C2%B0%20to%209%C2%B0F.