When people think about energy efficiency measures, many of them imagine smart home devices or solar panels on their rooftops. However, there’s another important area of the home that people overlook far too often when thinking about energy efficiency: their outdoor areas. Believe it or not, landscaping can seriously aid energy efficiency measures on your property. By cutting down the amount of water you use on your lawn, purchasing the right plants for shade, and adjusting a few of your habits you may be able to save considerable amounts of money.
Reducing Your Water Consumption
Outdoor water use accounts for 30% of household use across the US, and much of this water is wasted by factors like evaporation and runoff. However, the reason behind most outdoor water expenditure is even simpler than that: many people simply own plants that demand too much water. You can cut down on the amount of wasted water in your yard by replacing your grass with plants that naturally require less water. The process of landscaping with such features is called xeriscaping, and it can cut your water usage by over 80%.
Plant selection isn’t the only step to successfully xeriscaping your yard. You might also think about replacing your lawn with a patio, or a layer of bark mulch. If you’re not willing to do that, consider guiding the water you use on your lawn to useful places via soil contouring. This can help you divert runoff to features like rain gardens, instead of letting it run into the street and down a storm drain.
Planting for Shade
Energy efficient landscaping is about more than just saving water. You can also help lower the temperature of your home with plants that provide proper shade. Avoid deciduous trees, since they are barren for roughly half the year. Instead, consider planting coniferous trees like evergreens and pines, which offer significant shade year-round, making them an excellent way to cool your walls and roof if you live in a part of the country that is relatively warm all year. You could reap energy savings of between 15-50% this way. Just make sure that the trees you plant are at least 6 feet tall, and planted on the south or southwest sides of your home.
Tracking Your Energy Efficiency Measures
Putting energy efficient landscapes in place is important, but it’s also important to care for them conscientiously. To do so, you may want to gather some data about your current habits so that you can see where there’s room for improvement. Consider using an app like Homeselfe—which asks you for information about your home and habits, then makes suggestions on how to optimize your energy savings. Taking a data driven approach to lowering your energy consumption is one of the most effective and reliable ways to shrink it each month.
Using less energy in your landscaping helps you protect the earth’s resources, and can provide you with significant long term savings. Remember to landscape with features that don’t require much water, use trees to shade your home, and keep track of your outdoor maintenance habits. If you do, you should find that your landscaping efforts can easily make your corner of the world a greener and cleaner place.