Controlling Building Heating and Cooling Costs Through Landscaping

November 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm
Tree plantings at The Milennium at Metropolitan Park
Tree plantings at The Milennium at Metropolitan Park

Tree planting has proven to be one of the most cost effective methods of controlling the cooling and heating costs of buildings. The use of trees in landscaping allows for the creation of an energy saving environment, both inside and outside a building. Trees therefore advance many benefits. They allow the creation of a beautiful and cleaner environment outside, as well as a more comfortable one inside.

Benefits of Tree Planting

During summertime, trees provide shade while in winter they act as a great shelter from winds. When placed correctly, shade trees and foundation plantings as well as windbreaks can help reduce a commercial building’s cooling and heating costs by approximately 25-30% and even as much as 50% in some cases.

Strategic tree planting and a good landscape design offer several advantages including:

  • Controls pollution (both air and noise)
  • Protects a building from the harsh conditions of the summer sun and those of the winter winds
  • Cuts winter and summer energy costs by considerably high amounts
  • Reduces pesticide, fuel and water consumption that would otherwise be in use for the maintenance of the lawn and landscaping

During summer, trees have a cooling effect on the landscape as well on nearby buildings. The coolness is a result of evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth’s land surface to atmosphere) and the shade created by the tree canopy. During winter, trees can serve as effective windbreaks to minimize the intensity with which winds reach a building. Winter winds come with very low temperatures, thereby increasing the cost to heat a building. However, with the help of trees for windbreaks, the costs of heating will reduce greatly.

How To Plant Trees

In order to realize cost savings, trees must be planted in the correct manner, and the type of tree planted is important as well. Tree size, density, and shape will all have an impact on the amount of shade a tree generates. In general, deciduous trees are a great choice for blocking heat during summer and keeping cold out during winter.

While trees are often a part of any commercial landscape design, they are not always planted in a way that promotes energy savings. Consult your commercial landscape designer to learn more about how careful tree selection and placement can help reduce heating and cooling costs in your commercial building.