Landscaping to Conserve Energy

Landscaping is a natural and low cost means of adding to the value of your home, but many people do not realize that well thought out landscaping can also provider greater energy efficiency in their homes and lives. Proper care when choosing vegetation can greatly lessen the resources needed to maintain a beautiful garden – water, fertilizer and labour. Plants can also provide relief from scorching heat during the summer months, cutting down on the need to run energy-hungry air conditioners – saving real money. Energy-wise landscaping as we call it, is an elegant means of rounding out (or perhaps the first step towards) a home’s energy efficiency management.

With our design and biological experience, Nexus Solar can provide tailored services in this area. For more information please contact us.

       Tips and Suggestions on Energy-wise Landscaping

Appropriate shade tree planting can reduce the need for air conditioning by up to 50%.

  • locate tree close to the house on the south side
  • prune to a high crown to cut out summer heat but allow in winter warmth
  • select trees with good winter (bare branch) sun penetration
  • choose local and native varieties for hardiness, longevity and drought and disease resistance so they are healthy when old enough to offer effective shade

Xeriscaping, or dryland gardening, reduces the need for watering .

Rainbarrels collect water from the roof for watering, conserving tapwater.

A late-leafing tree allows spring warmth into the home, then leafs out late when hot weather calls for cool shade.

Fruit bearing trees in the backyard (plum and pear) do not require spray or annual maintenance, contributing further to the self-sufficiency of the home.

A vegetable garden can reduce travel to the grocery and reliance on energy-costly imported food.

Wildlife friendly vegetation like wild rose, dogwood and witch hazel provide staple and emergency food and shelter for animals, birds and pollinating insects.

Perennial herbs (thyme, sage, oregano) are hardy, attractive and useful. Planting a variety of plants so that grass lawn isn’t the main landscape feature adds diversity and function to the landscape.

Grown on supports like a treliss, vines are a fast growing means of providing summer shading and cooling. During photosynthesis, plant respiration releases water vapour that in turn cools air passing over the leaves. Vines (and other plants) can create micro-climates that reduce air temperature by up to 5°C.

Reduced lawn area cuts down on mowing, freeing up both fuel and time. Fragrant thyme blooms, is more drought tolerant than grass, and will spread into a mat that can be walked upon.