Turn off the lights when you leave the room! It’s a mantra we’ve heard all our lives. From installing programmable thermostats and taking shorter showers, to using high efficiency light bulbs and appliances, there are many actions we can take inside our homes that will decrease home energy use. But there are some fantastic ways to make your home more energy efficient before you even walk in the door. By taking stock of your property’s landscaping, you can decrease your energy bills and likely increase your property value. Here are five ways you can shrink your home’s carbon footprint with a few outdoor improvements.
- Add Trees for Shade: The most cost-effective way to lower your home’s cooling bill is to ensure you keep as much heat out as possible. Lush, leafy trees can decrease outdoor air temperatures by about 6 degrees in the summer months, and they will also keep your home cooler, reducing your home’s AC costs by 15 to 50 percent.
- Water Plants in the Morning: Watering plants in the hot afternoon heat will lead to quick evaporation and the need for more water. Watering them at night won’t allow moisture on the plants’ leaves to dry properly, possibly leading to fungus. The perfect time to water your plants is early in the morning, giving your plants the H2O supply needed to get through the day.
- Create Windbreaks: If you live in an area that sees its share of rough winters, this tip is especially appropriate. When planted correctly, certain trees can break the wind heading towards your home, lowering your heating needs, sometimes saving up to 23 percent on heating costs. In warmer climates, windbreaks can be used to bring cool breezes towards your home, lessening the need for air conditioning.
- Practice Xeriscaping: One way to conserve water? Don’t use any at all (or use very, very little). The practice of Xeriscaping advises gardeners and homeowners to decrease the amount of grass on the lawn, group together plants with similar water needs and choose native plants that have already adapted to the local climate and its natural water supply.
- Mulch Much: Aside from putting the finishing touch on your garden, mulch also provides some energy-saving benefits. Mulch reduces water loss, which keeps nutrients in the soil. It also keeps weed growth to a minimum, allowing you to spend less time working in your yard, and more time enjoying it!
Always in search of more ways to green your home? Check the Just Energy blog each week for informative tips, news and ideas for living a sustainable, eco-friendly life. And be sure to like Just Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!