Fact or Fable? Trees Can Lower Your Energy Bill by 30 percent

Tree_areasThis is a fable… sort of. Planting trees may not reduce your total utility bill by 30 percent, but it can provide substantial savings when it comes to heating and cooling costs.

Leafy trees planted on the south and west sides of homes or buildings provide shade that blocks the sun on hot summer days; cooling the interior and reducing the need for air-conditioning. Dense evergreen trees planted on the north and northwest sides help to reduce the force of the wind; limiting the amount of outside air that enters the home.

Carefully positioned trees also reduce energy use for heating and cooling by up to 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Trees also provide an environmental benefit: for every acre of trees, up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide is removed each year.

The amount of savings from planting trees varies significantly, depending on building orientation and the local climate. However, it is clear that carefully placed trees not only add beauty to your surroundings—and can improve home values—they will help trim your annual energy bills as well.

See Landscaping from the U.S. Department of Energy for more information about how a well-designed landscape can save you money.

  When planting trees, always call 811 first to have underground utility lines marked and consider the location of overhead power lines as trees mature. Check out the Consumers Energy list of trees to plant and trees to avoid.

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