Tips to use tree planting to save on energy costs


How Planting Trees Can Cut Your Energy Bills 30%

Tree planting tips: How to plant a winter windbreak and summer shade trees  to save money on energy bills all year long.





By Arbor Day Foundation

Did you know that just three trees properly placed around a house can save up  to 30% of energy use? This is according to the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research. One study  found that in Sacramento, Calif., trees planted on the south and west sides of  houses reduced summertime electricity bills by an average of $25.

Trees provide many benefits to all of us, every day. They provide cooling  shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air,  prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and  communities. In Chicago, the city’s 3.6 million trees annually reduce air  pollution by about 890 tons, a $6.4 million benefit per year, according to the  Forest Service. And in Portland, Ore., street trees growing in front of or near  a house added an average $8,870 to its sale price and reduced time on the market  by nearly two days.

Planting the right trees in the right places conserves energy and reduces  your energy bills, while helping to fight global warming. Try these tips for  getting the most energy- and money-saving benefit from the trees you plant on  your property. (Click on the photos below to watch animations illustrating the  benefits of strategic tree planting.)

Related: 11  Ways to Save Trees … Without Planting One

Plant Deciduous Trees on the East and West Sides of Your Home

summer shade tree diagram

Deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves), planted on the east and west  sides, will keep your house cool in the summer and let the sun warm your home in the  winter, reducing energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Large deciduous trees planted on the east, west, and northwest sides of your  home create soothing shade from the hot summer sun and reduce summer air  conditioning costs by up to 35%.

  • You use less energy.
  • The utility company uses less energy, especially at peak demand times.  
  • Less fossil fuel is consumed by the utility to create the energy. 
  • Less fossil fuel consumption means less carbon dioxide emissions.

Related: How  to Plant Healthy Trees

Plant Deciduous Trees to Shade High-Heat Spots

Trees or shrubs planted to shade air conditioners help cool a building more  efficiently, using less electricity. A unit operating in the shade uses as much  as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.

And trees that shade patios, sidewalks, and driveways, cool the concrete, the  entire yard, and even the neighborhood.

Related: 5  Ways to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Plant Evergreen Trees to the North and Northwest of Your Home

winter tree windbreaks

After the leaves fall, the sun pours through tree branches to warm your home  in winter.

The sun travels lower on the southern horizon in winter, so you’ll want to  avoid planting evergreen trees on the south side of your home where they’ll  block winter sunshine.

Instead, plant an evergreen conifer windbreak on the north and northwest of  your home to block cold winter winds.

Planting a row of conifer trees on the north and northwest sides of your  property creates a wall against cold winter winds—saving your heating costs by  up to 30%. Once again …

planting trees for winter warmth
  • You use less energy.
  • The utility company uses less energy.
  • Less fossil fuel is consumed by the utility to create the energy.
  • Less fossil fuel consumption means less carbon dioxide emissions.

The best protection from wind occurs when the windbreak is no more than the  distance of one or two tree heights from the house.

The down-wind side of the trees is where the most snow accumulates, so plant  your windbreak at a distance equal to one or two tree-heights from your rooftop  and driveway if you can.

This article was produced for The Daily Green by the Arbor Day Foundation.  Click on the photos for animations illustrating the benefits of the recommended  tree-planting plans. Be sure to check out the latest Arbor Day Foundation Hardiness Zone Map to see what  deciduous trees will best grow in your area and order trees for planting.

Read more: Tree Planting Tips – Where to Plant Trees to Save Money and Energy – The Daily Green Follow us: @the_daily_green on Twitter | thedailygreen on Facebook Visit us at


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