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Save Money With Landscaping: Windbreaks

With the cold weather rapidly approaching, one question a lot of homeowner's ask is, "How can I lower my energy bills?" or "How can I make my home more energy efficient?"

Well, surprisingly enough you can reduce your home's energy costs and make your home more energy efficient with landscaping by using windbreaks.

According to Energy.gov, carefully planned landscaping can reduce your home's energy usage by up to 25%. That's some serious savings!

Want to learn more about windbreaks and how they can save you money? Keep reading below...

What is a windbreak and how does it work?

A windbreak is a line of trees or other type of barrier, such as a wall or fence, that lowers the wind chill near your home.

Windbreaks also create dead air space that insulates your home in the summer and winter.

What type of trees should I plant?

Evergreen trees and shrubs are the most effective for windbreaks due to their everlasting foliage. Look for trees such as pine and cypress at your local nursery or garden center.

"Trees, bushes, and shrubs are often planted together to block or impede wind from ground level to the treetops... The best windbreaks block wind close to the ground by using trees and shrubs that have low crowns", says energy.gov

See a full list of trees and shrubs here

What side of my home should have a windbreak to reduce energy costs?

Evergreens should be planted to the north and northwest of your home to stop and deflect chilly winds from reaching your home. Thus, stopping cold air from reaching your home, reducing the frequency your thermostat needs to kick on.

NOTE: Be careful not to plant evergreens too close to your home's south side, so you can still receive passive solar heat from the sun.

How close should a windbreak be to my home?

A windbreak will reduce wind speed for a distance of as much as 30 times the windbreak's height. For this reason, it's recommended trees and shrubs are planted 2 - 5 times the height of the mature tree for maximum protection.

Additional tip from energy.gov: "...Planting shrubs, bushes, and vines next to your house creates dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer. Plant so there will be at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) of space between full-grown plants and your home's wall."

When is the best time of year to plant trees for a windbreak?

Ncagr.gov says, “Fall, late winter and early spring are the best times to transplant trees and shrubs. Roots are active during these periods, and weather is less demanding. Summer is generally the most stressful time to transplant trees and shrubs.”

Planting all those trees sounds expensive, is it worth the costs?

According to engery.gov , a well designed landscape saves enough energy, on average, to pay for itself in 8 years.

If you plan on staying in your home over 8 years, it's definitely worth the investment.

Can windbreaks add value to my home?

Yes. Windbreaks create a barrier from sounds such as road noise and neighbors. They can also remove unsightly views and smells while adding privacy to your home.

Plus, well designed windbreaks are aesthetically pleasing and can create instant curb appeal.

Check out this great infographic and visit energy.gov for more information on windbreaks.

Photo Source: engery.gov

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