Posted by: Dennis Hinkamp on Sep 6, 2012
Trees Can Save You Energy and Money
|Utah State University Extension horticulturist|
|Phone: (801) 399-8200|
|Utah State University Extension writer|
ASK A SPECIALIST: HOW CAN TREES REDUCE MY ENERGY COSTS?
LOGAN, UT – Answer by: Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist
When you consider the cost of a tree and its lifetime of reducing both heating and cooling costs to homes, it is one of the best values on the market. Consider this information.
• The major savings on well-placed trees is in reduced cooling costs. Well-placed trees shading a home can reduce energy costs by up to 12 percent.
• Trees have the ability to reduce the heat that radiates from concrete and blacktop. Those who step outside barefoot quickly appreciate shaded spots on the concrete or blacktop.
• Trees can reduce heating costs by blocking the wind. Proper placement can maximize heat absorption from the winter sun and still provide shade in the summer.
• Evergreens make the best wind breaks, and deciduous trees are ideal for shading the south and west sides of a home. One advantage in planting a deciduous shade tree on the south and west is that it offers shade in the summer, but after the leaves drop in the fall, it still allows enough light through in the winter to help warm the house.
• Fall is an ideal time to plant trees. Many nurseries and garden centers have reduced prices this time of year. Trees planted in late August or September have the chance to establish a good root system throughout the fall and spring and are ready to grow by the next summer.
• When planting trees, there are simple rules to keep in mind. First, trees grow, and some will get extremely large. With that in mind, determine the size they will be at maturity, and make sure they have enough room to expand. Most trees should be 10 to 15 feet from the house. As trees mature, they will give the house the shade it needs. Far too many trees are planted too close to the house as anxious homeowners want immediate shade, but this creates problems over time.
• Avoid planting large trees in small parking strips or next to sidewalks and driveways. Eventually they will push up the concrete and create other hazards. Also avoid planting trees next to permanent structures such as patios, decks and fences. Keep them at least 5 feet away.
• The cost of a large, quality tree is about the same as filling the gas tank in an SUV. You can either invest in a tree that will cool your home for generations and help reduce energy costs, or fill your tank and watch the fuel needle drop as you leave the gas station.
Direct column topics to Julene Reese, Utah State University Extension writer, Logan, Utah, 84322-4900, 435-797-0810, firstname.lastname@example.org.