Landscaping is more than just for looks. Strategic choices, regarding what to plan on your property and where, can seriously enhance your home’s energy efficiency – stretching those hard-earned dollars spent on cooling your home. Shrubs and bushes can help you beat the heat this summer, provided you understand proper placement for optimal, cost-effective cooling. Here are a pair of smart landscaping moves, a one-two punch, to get you started and support your AC system all summer…
Position Plants Carefully
It’s no secret that dark colors attract the sunlight. If you have a dark-colored roof, your home is absorbing a significant amount of heat on a regular basis. Windows, glass doors, and walls also attract the heat, essentially sealing it well within the four corners of your house.
A great way to combat this natural heat transfer is to shield your roof and walls with plants. Create natural shade for your home by planting trees, shrubs, bushes, and vines is an effective way to reduce the heat inside and assist your AC unit. In New England, an ivy known as Boston Ivy is coveted by building owners for just this very reason. You may already be aware of Boston’s iconic buildings covered in green Boston Ivy. This particular plant loves to cling to masonry exteriors and can drastically help with heating and cooling costs. Maybe that’s why Harvard is considered an “Ivy League” school?
Before you go plant crazy and stick some ivy to your house, you should Consult with a landscape architect and explain that your goal is to reduce the heat in your home and increase your AC’s efforts without breaking the bank. This helps to assure you that any plants you plant don’t destroy your home’s exterior, foundation, or otherwise.
Protect Your AC Unit
Runners know what it’s like to huff and puff their way up a hill with the sun beating against their backs. If your AC unit is out in the open, exposed to the elements, this would be like running up the hill all day, every day, during a heatwave and not making any progress. Here again, plants are your friend… or your AC unit’s friend. Shading your AC unit with shrubs or walling it behind a carefully pruned hedge protects it from the sun and decreases overall energy expenditure, considerably. This is better for your AC unit and your budget.