Your heating, cooling, and air conditioning system, also known as an HVAC system, runs year round and can eat up a huge portion of your budget. In order to keep your costs as low as possible, you should do what you can to improve the function of your heating and cooling system. Just be careful that what you do to improve the function of of one does not undermine the function of the other. One good way to optimize the function of your HVAC system year round is to plant trees in strategic locations in your yard.
Shade and Evapotranspiration
Trees cool a home in two main ways:
1) By providing shade. Shade can keep a home quantifiably cooler than homes exposed to direct sunlight. In fact, trees will keep the outside of your home up to 45˚ Fahrenheit cooler than it otherwise would be, which will in turn keep the interior of your home cooler and reduce the load on your AC unit.
2) Evapotranspiration. Trees cool the air around them through the process of evapotranspiration. Basically, trees release water vapor into the air, which then absorbs heat from the air; this is the same cooling principle used by swamp coolers to good effect. In this way, trees can cool air by up to 9˚ F, and once cooled, this air will settle into your yard. This cooler air is then available for use by your condenser coils, and a large volume of cool air will help your coils to cool the refrigerant inside your AC system faster than otherwise would be possible.
You might think that trees will shade your home in the winter, keeping your home cooler, and thus make planting trees a bad move as far as furnace efficiency is concerned. This is not the case. Instead trees can serve as a wind block. As wind flows over your home, it will absorb heat from your home, creating a net cooling effect. The insulation in the walls of your home will help to counteract this cooling, but it won't be enough on its own. Planting trees along the north and northwest sides of your home will create a windscreen, which can decrease your heating costs by up to 30%.
Trees are good way to save money on energy costs, but randomly planting trees around your yard will not allow you to maximize your energy savings. Remember to plant tall trees on the south and west sides of your home to provide shade to your home. Plant conifers with limbs all along their trunk to shield your home from winter winds. In this way, you will gain year-round HVAC savings.
For more information, contact Drew Green Heating & Cooling or a similar company.