Plant a Tree – Save Energy!
When it comes to saving energy, many of us know the basics, such as adding insulation, turning off lights when not in use, and investing in a programmable thermostat. But a not-so-well-known energy saver is how strategic landscaping can help cut your energy costs. And fall is a great time for planting.
Understanding how heat from the sun and wind affects your home is helpful in making decisions with tree and plant placement. Well-placed trees and vines can shade your house from the blazing sun and positioning certain trees and shrubs can provide a buffer from bone-chilling winds.
Generally, what you plant and where you plant depends on where you live in Oregon:
If you reside west of the Cascades, plant deciduous trees on the south side of your home. This will shade the house in the summer, but when the leaves drop off in the fall, it will allow the winter sun to warm your abode. On the north and northwest side of your home, plant evergreen trees and shrubs to act as a wind break.
East of the Cascades, energy landscaping is even more important due to extreme temperatures. We recommend if you live in this area you plant deciduous trees on the south and southwest side of your home. In this vast region, wind comes from different directions. Consider planting a dense row of evergreen shrubs to blunt those bitter air currents. Your county’s Oregon State University Extension office can offer recommendations for your specific area and advice on making sure that even with energy-saving landscaping, you still have defensible space if you’re in an area prone to wildfires.
It’s a good idea to check with your city about what trees you can plant in a utility right-of-way. Also, call 811 before you dig to avoid an underground utility.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy and depending on your situation, proper and mature landscaping can save you up to 25 percent on energy costs!