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Lower Electricity Bills through Purposeful Landscaping


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Lower Electricity Bills through Purposeful Landscaping Reply with quote

Lower Electricity Bills through Purposeful Landscaping
By Sara Mercer


With the cost of energy increasing, we need to start doing everything we can to lower our electricity bills. Usually, people offer you habits or light bulbs to change. Many of us already turn off the lights when we leave a room or turn off or turn up/down the thermostat when leaving the house. What more can we do?

The change in seasons brings a new opportunity to save on your electric bill: Landscaping. Planting for efficiency as well as beauty can make it worth the work.

Trees and shrubs are the easiest plants to use while planning your energy efficient landscape. When shopping, find plants native to your area to reduce the amount of additional watering. Whether you are in a hot or cold climate, trees and shrubs can be used to maximize the energy efficiency of your homes. This process has been used for generations in various cultures and climates around the world.

For colder climates, evergreen trees and shrubs can be planted on the northern side of the house to create a windbreak. Windbreaks can decrease the windchill factor and create an environment that helps your heater keep up with the cold. Shrubs can be used in hedgerows to catch snow as it is blown by the wind. This effective use has been implemented for centuries in England, as well as other European countries. This will keep the snow from collecting against your house. Nearer to your house (about 1 foot away, full grown), you can plant vines and bushes to create dead air space. This space will help to insulate your home against the harsh winter and summer weather.

For warmer climates, trees can be placed to build shade and have a cooling affect on the house. Taller deciduous trees will shade the roof during the summer, yet let sunlight in during the winter. Lower trees should be planted on the west side of the house to shade the walls and windows from the hot afternoon sun. Another key place to shade in a warmer climate is the air conditioner unit. By planting shrubs that will shade the unit, you can increase its efficiency.

There are many ways we can help our homes to be more energy efficient that will not cost as much as a solar panel. By using purposeful landscaping, you can decrease your energy expenditures and create a beautiful place to relax.

Sara Mercer is a graduate of Baylor University and loves to work in her garden. She works for the web design company http://www.infotechtx.com/web.html and is currently working on a project for an electrical service contractor http://www.henselelectric.com/.

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