Save energy from your landscaping: Block those gusts with a windbreak

Continuing in the series on how to save energy thanks to your savvy landscaping techniques we’ve already been able to distinguish which climate region that you reside in and from there what measures will most benefit you. We then went into detail on the proper way to use shading to your advantage and now we will cover windbreaks or setting up wind barriers. This is going to be most beneficial to those living in colder areas or where there are ample amounts of strong gusts that will make your home chillier. You can then cut back your reliance on that good Mr. Heater by doing what you can to block that wind.

How much will this make a difference if you want to save energy? Well that will depend on how much the wind chill affects your area but if you take into consideration that a solid windbreak can lower the wind speed at a distance of up to 30 times greater than the actual height of the windbreak there is a big potential. That can mean a lot especially if you live in an area where the outside temperature is already a freezing 10 degrees Fahrenheit but there is then a 20 mile per hour wind outside on top of that which will bring that temperature down to a mighty brisk -24 Degrees!

When you plan your windbreak you not only want to look at the here and now but also into the future; by the time your trees or plants have reached their full height you want them situated between two and five times that height away from your home so that they give you the maximum benefit. Evergreen trees and shrubs that will stay dense the entire year are going to be your best bets to save energy; you also want ones with lower crowns. Then this windbreak should be obviously set up against the direction of the majority of the winds; typically this will be facing northwest or north for those in the US. Density is the key here, think of it like a dam if there are holes water will seep through and that will do you no good. So make sure that from the ground level up to the treetops the foliage is thick; you may also want to reinforce that barrier with say a fence or even a wall of raised dirt known as earth berms.

For those looking to save energy with a windbreak and you also get lots of snow drifts you can help negate some of that chill by putting in lower growing shrubbery on the side of your wind barrier that gets the most wind; this will keep much of that snow from lining the side of your house. Something that you should keep in mind is that if you are hoping to take advantage of any sunlight that shines during the winter months, if there is any, you want to avoid having anything planted too nearby that could black the windows that would be in the direct path of the sun; again this would be the southern windows if you live in the US. With these tips in mind you can then save energy, and yes plenty of money off of your utility bills too, and be well on your way to reducing your own carbon footprint by strategically using what mother nature has already blessed us with! Check back for the next installment of using your landscaping to your advantage!

Photo credit: Wild Guru Larry