Here in Florida, the summers can be sweltering. You can give an overheated house what it really wants — shade — and grow some HVAC savings at the same time, by planting shade trees.
Besides being good for the planet, trees add curb appeal to your home and they’re great at keeping your air conditioning bills low. A well-planned landscape can reduce the air conditioning costs of a previously unshaded home by 15 to 50 percent! (Energy.gov)
What’s more, in tree-shaded neighborhoods, the summer daytime air temperature can be up to 6 degrees cooler than in treeless areas!
Creating a shady area right around your air conditioner’s air intake is also a good idea. When your system pulls in cooler outdoor air, it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep temperatures comfortable indoors.
Plant Deciduous Trees
Deciduous trees will sprout big, shady leaves in the spring and summer, but they’ll drop them all in the fall, letting that warm sunlight reach your home when you need it most. Plant them to the south of your home which will allow them to screen out 70-90% of the hot summer sun, while allowing the breezes through.
On average, a well designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than 8 years.
You’ll want to plant them about 10 to 20 feet from the home’s exterior. Too close, and you’ll end up needing to do extensive trimming or even foundation repair when expanding root systems cause cracks. Too far away, and the hot summer sun will find its way to your windows.
If you plant a 6-8 foot deciduous tree, it will start shading your windows the first year. Depending on the species and the home, it will shade the roof in 5-10 years.
For more tips about energy savings with landscaping, visit Energy.gov