Plants can significantly reduce a building’s energy needs since it’s cooler in the shade of trees and warmer behind plants that block the winter winds. Plant deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in winter) on the south and west sides of a building where the sun’s rays are most direct and intense. These trees will provide shade during summer but permit the winter sun to provide warmth. Where there isn’t room for trees, shrubs and vines can provide similar benefits.
Computer models devised by the Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of as few as three shade trees will save an average household $100-$250 in energy costs each year. And a Pennsylvania study found that air conditioning needs could be reduced by up to 75% by shading a house with trees!
Plus trees are good for the environment because they store carbon and produce oxygen.