Can trees negatively affect energy consumption for heating and cooling?

Trees for Energy Conservation April 27, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

Trees too close to your home can produce unwanted shade that will decrease sunlight, prevent ice from melting on pavements, and increase heating costs during the winter. To combat these issues, plant deciduous trees that lose their leaves and allow sunlight during the winter. Even though shading your home's air conditioning unit in the summer is beneficial, trees and shrubs too close to your unit can interfere with air movement, so be cautious.

If you are selecting a site to plant a tree and want to avoid these negative effects, remember that the sun sits lower on the horizon during the winter than during the summer. Also remember that planting evergreen trees or dense thickets of vegetation on the south side of the house or around paved areas will increase your maintenance effort.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.