Landscaping – Increase Shade
During the summer, sunlight streaming in windows forces an air conditioner to work harder, leading to increased energy use. While curtains can be closed, summer shade can be achieved by planting trees around your home.
The shade and water vapor trees produce can lower the air around them by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit and the air at ground level by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit – both of which can lead to a cooler home, which in turn leads to a less-overworked air conditioner. Shading an air conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent.
To get the most benefit from shade trees, plant them in a location where their shade will remain on the house as the sun passes through the sky. To block sunlight in the summer but let it through in the winter, use deciduous trees.
As an alternative to trees, you also can cool using vines to shade walls with a lattice or trellis, or a planter box with trailing vines.