The performance of your HVAC system is directly related to the temperature conditions inside and just outside your home. If your home is getting a lot of direct sunlight, the air conditioning will exert more to maintain a cooler interior. Similarly, if winter winds have direct access to your home’s walls and windows, the furnace will consume more fuel to keep the indoors cozy during the winters. A simple and easy way to improve the efficiency of your HVAC is by using smart landscaping. Smart landscaping comprises of using trees and plants in a strategic way so as to minimize heat in the summers and create windbreaks in the winters.
Trees have a very prominent effect on the temperature of the area around them. In fact, they trees can reduce temperatures around them by as much as 6° F. The areas shaded by trees likewise are cooler than those which are directly exposed to sunlight. If you have trees that shade your house from direct sunlight exposure, you can save anywhere between 15% and 50% in air-conditioning costs.
When considering landscaping with the intent of reducing your HVAC energy costs, it is important to plant the trees right. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction:
- Know what you need. Are you looking for trees that will provide shade only in the summers or year-round? Similarly, do you want the landscaped trees to serve as a basic windbreaker or as a veritable block to heavy winds? Your needs will determine the type of trees that are most suitable for you.
- If you need shading only in the summers, use deciduous trees. Such trees provide good shade in the hot season but can be pruned to let the sunlight through in winters.
- If you need dense shade year-round, make use of evergreen trees. You can also use the shrubs and other vegetation to reinforce the trees and create a green barrier around your house.
- Make sure the trees are planted at a suitable distance from your home’s structure. If you plant them too close, they can damage the foundations once the root systems grow.
- The best place to plant trees is on the southern and western sides of your home. The southern side is most prone to sunlight during the early day while trees on the west will provide shade from late afternoon sunlight exposure.
- The angle of the sunlight on the south is typically steeper so that taller, deciduous trees make more sense. On the west, the sunlight comes at a low angle and trees with crowns closer to the ground are more appropriate.
- You can use a tree to directly cover the air-conditioning unit. This will have an immediate uptick in the efficiency of the air-conditioning by as much as 10%.
- Vines are an excellent way to provide shade if you can’t plant trees. You can use a simple structure such as a trellis to let vines create a continuous shade on one or more sides of the house. Some vines can also directly climb on a wall.
- Combine low-lying shrubs with trees to create effective windbreaks. If you can create suitable windbreaks on the north, east and west of your home, it can trim down the heating costs by as much as 40%.
- It is always a good idea to go with native species when planting trees for landscaping. Native species are typically more robust, drought-resistant and require little maintenance. They are also easier to find and cost less.
- Make allowances for air flow between the house and the landscaped trees. This is important as air flow will remove fallen leaves and other tree-related debris from the immediate surroundings of your house. Neglecting this can cause humidity from the wet foliage scattered around the house perimeter.
Qualified Greenville Heating and Air Contractors Can Help Improve the Efficiency of Your HVAC
If you live in Greenville, SC and want to improve the efficiency of your HVAC, our experts can advise and help you. Here at General Air, we have in-house Greenville heating and air technicians who will inspect your HVAC thoroughly to inspect any areas which can be optimized for better efficiency. You can also count on us if your HVAC needs repairs or replacement. Similarly, if you are considering smart landscaping for better HVAC efficiency, we can help you out. Contact us today to discuss the ways in which our experts can work with you to achieve suitable temperatures throughout the year.