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Feb 26, 2021 | Energy Efficiency | 15 comments

Smart landscaping tips to lower your energy costs

How trees and shrubs can help reduce your energy bills

Curb appeal can help sell houses, but did you know your landscaping also can improve your home’s comfort and reduce your energy bills year-round?

On average, a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than eight years. Appropriately placed trees, shrubs, fences and other landscaping features require less maintenance, reduce water use, cut heating and cooling costs, reduce the toll on your house from wind and sun, and lower noise and air pollution.


While our part of the country is classified as a cool region, leaving us concerned with harsh winters, it’s important to consider the climate immediately surrounding your home, called a microclimate, which could be sunnier, windier or wetter than the region’s climate. That would affect your landscaping choices.

A windbreak is usually made up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs that provide shelter from the wind and protect soil from erosion. They can protect your home from winter winds by lowering the wind chill near your house. Windbreaks also create dead air space to insulate your home in winter and summer. For maximum protection, plant a windbreak at a distance from your home of two to five times the mature height of the trees you select. One study found that planting windbreaks to the north, east and west of your house cuts fuel consumption by an average of 40%.

Trees also protect your home from the heat. Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the fall, protect your house from the sun but let in light in the winter. Evergreen trees and shrubs provide continuous shade, so be careful not to plant them too close to the south side of your house or you’ll lose the warmth of the winter sun.

It’s also important to think about the watering needs of your landscaping. Choose plants that require less water, and always water in the morning when evaporation rates are low. Mulching will help reduce evaporation while cutting back on your weeding chores.

As you survey your lawn and garden this spring, think beyond what flowers to put in the planters and consider how properly placed trees, shrubs and plants can save on your utility bills and put some green back in your pocket.


  1. Donny Dauphin

    Great Tips! 40% reduction just by planting trees is amazing!

    • Dennis V.

      Unless you have an uninsulated and very drafty house, there is no way planting trees will save you 40%. Caulk and insulation would be far better choices.

  2. Lynn A Scramuzza

    More specific information about tree types and layout would be appreciated. Perhaps some pictures of before and after? Or maybe a landscape plot showing a proper layout? This article doesn’t really give me an idea of how to begin.

  3. John N Armor

    thanks for the tip. However, I think you should also warned people about planting shrubs much to close to the HVAC heat exchange units. I see so many houses with 3-4 ft high shrubs that have grown so wide that their branches now touch the framework holding the cooling coils. This is not a good idea!

  4. Janet

    Great advice. I had a wooded section on my property that added shade and coolness to my property. That is until ppl hired some company to “trim” trees by the lines. They removed trees past the allowed area and apologized. Nothing was done. Oh the best part is they left dead trees and large trees against the lines. Made no sense. Complaints got me a “we’re” sorry!

  5. Window Licker

    If I plant trees in my basement, will it help keep the furnace insulated?

  6. Marcial de la Cruz

    Yo tengo un árbol en mi patio el cual rosa el tendido y temo por mis niñas por favor ayuda con esto dirección es 1405w liberty Allentown pa 18102

    • Kathryn

      Muchas gracias por llamar a PPL. Lo siento, pero no hay nadie que puede “Chat” contigo en espanol. Podemos ayudarte si llamas a 1-800-342-5775. Tenemos representates que puede communicar en espanol.

  7. Wade Heintzelman

    Our house is surrounded by many tall trees and we seldom have to use air conditioning during the summer. Maybe for 3 or 4 weeks in our bedroom at night during August. We also have a cool cellar which helps. If we close all windows & doors and pull the shades on the southern windows when it starts to get hot during the midday, our home stays cool. It’s also important to inspect the trees every year to remove dead branches and trees to avoid damage to the house. We also find that the shingles on the house last longer when shaded for part of the day.

    • Kathryn

      Good Afternoon Wade, We appreciate you providing your personal experience and knowledge that not only lowers energy cost but improves comfort. Thanks for sharing on our Blog!

  8. David Washo

    Excellent information. I hope everyone reads this

  9. C.W. Everett

    These are things our ancestors did around their fields and homes. Maybe more attention should have been paid to our grandparent and great grandparents homes.

  10. Lori

    Very helpful info! Thank you.

  11. Daniella Monique

    Thank you for your amazing landscaping tips. I learned a lot from you today. I admire your expertise. I hope to be as skillful as you, someday. Best regards from our arborist Alexandria VA

  12. Lani Oligao

    Wow! I never knew that we can save energy while doing our landscaping. I am so excited about these new tips. I will definitely follow your ways. Greetings from our tree companies Ashburn VA. I will start choosing plants that don’t require much attention like water to save more. Cheers!


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