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Winter Landscaping Ideas to Reduce Fuel Costs

by Guest Post on May 4, 2012

A study in South Dakota found that windbreaks to the north, west, and east of houses cut fuel consumption by an average of 40%. If you live in a windy climate, your well designed landscape can diminish your winter heating bills by approximately one-third.

An unprotected home loses much more heat on a cold, windy day than on an equally cold, still day. Accurately selected landscaping ideas and well-designed landscaping can provide excellent wind protection during the winter. It will inevitably reduce heating costs.

Furthermore, these benefits will increase as the trees and shrubs mature.

The house protected by a windbreak used 23 percent less fuel. In 1 month, an exposed, electrically heated house in South Dakota used 443 kilowatt-hours to maintain an inside temperature of 70 degrees F. An identical house sheltered by a windbreak used only 270 kilowatt-hours.

The difference in average energy requirements for the whole winter was 34 percent.

Here’re some quick money-saving landscaping ideas:

- The best windbreaks block wind close to the ground by using trees and shrubs that have low crowns. Evergreen trees and shrubs planted to the north and northwest of the home are the most widespread type of windbreak.

- Evergreen trees combined with a wall, fence, or earth berm (natural or man-made walls or raised areas of soil) can deflect or lift the wind over the home.

- Do not plant evergreens too close to your home's south side if you are counting on warmth from the winter sun.

- For maximum protection, plant your windbreak at a distance from your home of two to five times the full-size height of the trees.

- Plant so there will be at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) of space between full-grown plants and your home’s wall.

Of course, the amount of money saved by a windbreak will vary depending on the climate of the area, the location of the home, and the construction material and quality. A well-weatherized house with adequate ventilation won't benefit from windbreaks as much as a poorly weatherized house.

Other helpful information and free landscaping ideas can be found at the Landscaping Ideas site.

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