Keeping your house cool in the summer is about more than just cranking up the AC. Having the right amount of insulation in the attic, keeping your drapes closed, all these things help to cool your home. But one of the most effective ways to keep your home affordably cool is by planting a tree. A well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling cost by as much as 40%. Trees, vines and large shrubs can all provide shade and protection from the brutal summer sun. Experts estimate that the right sorts of trees can reduce the inside temperature of a home by as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit. So, think of it this way, which would you rather have to pay to cool down a house that is 98 degrees or one that is 89 degrees? Deciduous trees––trees that lose their leaves in the fall––cut heat in the summer and provide warm sunlight in the winter.
For best results, arborists recommend planting trees on the northeast-southeast and the northwest-southwest sides of a home. Trees and plant life are not cheap so be prepared for some sticker shock. But remember, these trees and bushes are going to actually save you money on your electric bill as well as enhance the resale value of your home. Choose your tree based on how fast it will likely grow. Be sure your tree-planting sites are safe. Check the site for underground and overhead utilities or other obstructions. Avoid planting trees under utility lines. If you need to dig, contact your local utility company to help locate any underground obstructions.