energy costs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12049/all en-US Save Hundreds by Getting Yourself Out of Hot Water http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3406535350_33fb5d6216.jpg" alt="inside washer" title="inside washer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An average household spends about $300 a year on hot water &mdash; about 12% of a family&rsquo;s total annual energy budget. But if you have family members who take long showers and generate loads of dirty laundry, that expense could easily double. If hot water expenses are putting the family finances in hot water, it&rsquo;s time to make some changes. The good news is that if everybody pitches in with some minor behavior alteration, water-heating expenses will definitely diminish.</p> <h3>1. Find a Better Way to Start the Day</h3> <p>Raise your hand if you use the shower to wake up every morning. If you don&rsquo;t need a shower to get clean, there are better ways to get your body going in the morning &mdash; like taking a few minutes to stretch or do light exercises, for example. This new wake-up regimen will save you time and money, and it could even help you lose weight and get in better shape.&nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Try Sponge Baths</h3> <p>If exercise or other activities make you feel like you need a shower, consider a quick, targeted wipe-down instead. This isn&rsquo;t always the answer, but you&rsquo;ll be surprised at how effectively some speedy sponge work can get you clean. Saving time and money is good motivation for making this change.</p> <h3>3. Start Singing in the Shower</h3> <p>By the time you finish belting out one of your favorite songs (in 3-6 minutes or so), you should be just about done washing up. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Shaving in the shower takes more time, for example. But for your basic shower, sticking to the single-song rule will add up in savings.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Upgrade Your Showerhead</h3> <p>A low-flow showerhead uses 30% less water than a conventional version. Don&rsquo;t let the &ldquo;low-flow&rdquo; label on these showerheads get you down. The best water-saving showerheads produce an invigorating blast while delivering just 1.5 gal. per minute or so. They do this by blending air into the water stream and using pulsing technology. For maximum savings, buy a showerhead with a built-in valve that shuts off the water flow while you soap up.</p> <h3>5. Clean Up at the Club</h3> <p>Are you paying for a health club membership without enjoying all the benefits? If you belong to a health club that has showers, shower more at the club so you can shower less at home.</p> <h3>6. Rinse and Reuse</h3> <p>Ever notice how many different coffee cups get used over the course of the day? Instead of filling up the dishwasher with multiple cups and glasses, try rinsing a single glass or coffee cup out when you&rsquo;re finished and simply reusing it later. Combine this rinse-and-reuse strategy with the practice of doing full rather than partial loads in your dishwasher, and you&rsquo;ll maximize your savings.</p> <h3>7. Give Your Clothes the Cold Treatment</h3> <p>About 85% of the energy consumed by your washing machine goes into heating water. If you do lots of laundry, you&rsquo;re looking at major savings potential here. Switch to a detergent designed for cold water and use the &ldquo;cold/cold&rdquo; setting on your machine.</p> <h3>8. Call in a Pro</h3> <p>Even the most frugal hot-water habits can&rsquo;t compensate for the extra money an inefficient hot water heater is going to cost you. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it&rsquo;s worth considering an upgrade to a new Energy Star model. If you have a tank-type water heater (the most common variety), a full-service plumber can assess the condition of this appliance and help you weigh the pros and cons of replacement. Less costly energy-saving upgrades include insulating your existing water heater, insulating hot water pipes, and simply turning the temperature setting down to 120 degrees or even lower. On most electric tank-type water heaters, you&rsquo;ll find the temperature setting dial beneath a metal cover plate on the side of the tank. The &ldquo;factory&rdquo; setting of 140 degrees uses more energy than necessary.</p> <p><em>For more ideas, check out Wise Bread's </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs"><em>7 Ways to Lower Water Heater Costs</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Tim Snyder. A journalist specializing in sustainability, energy efficiency, and home building topics, Tim writes frequently for <a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/">Dr. Energy Saver</a>, a nationwide network of energy improvement contractors. Read more about saving energy on Dr. Energy Saver:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/10/how-good-is-burning-wood/">How Good Is Burning Wood?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/09/lessons-from-count-rumford/">Lessons from Count Rumford</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/08/the-greenest-insulation/">The Greenest Insulation</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-snyder">Tim Snyder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill">15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation">Landscaping for Energy Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-household-leaks-you-can-fix-without-a-plumber">4 Common Household Leaks You Can Fix Without a Plumber</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home conserve water energy costs hot water utilities water heater Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:00:09 +0000 Tim Snyder 301975 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Energy-Efficient Equipment Make a Difference in Operating Costs? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/does-energy-efficient-equipment-make-a-difference-in-operating-costs <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/does-energy-efficient-equipment-make-a-difference-in-operating-costs-thursday-bram?cid=email_articlefeed_articletitlelink" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/does-energy-efficient-equ...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/does-energy-efficient-equipment-make-a-difference-in-operating-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006154801XSmall.jpg" alt="businessman with cfl" title="businessman with cfl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Energy-efficient light bulbs are promoted as a way to save money, both on how long they last before you need to buy replacements and on how much power they save your business. In reality, when you run the numbers, an office that has converted fifteen light sockets to compact fluorescent light bulbs will save about $100 a year. When you're used to thinking in terms of thousands of dollars in your business, that number doesn't sound like a lot. It makes you wonder if the money saved by using energy-efficient equipment is making a noticeable difference in your operating costs.</p> <h3>The Cost of Energy Efficiency</h3> <p>When you jump into the numbers, you'll quickly find that buying energy-efficient office equipment of any kind comes with a higher price tag than less efficient options. Each piece of equipment promises to save you money in the long run by requiring less energy. Going green can be an important choice for a business, but it's also important to remember that there are other types of green involved. Knowing how much money your business is actually spending is crucial, even if you're willing to spend extra to be environmentally friendly without there being a financial upside.</p> <p>The right equipment will certainly bring down your utility bills at the office, but it's important to consider what that number really means. If you're in a business where you're handling accounts worth thousands of dollars, it just may not make financial sense to invest time on pricing and acquiring energy-efficient equipment just for a bill lowered by a hundred dollars a month. It's a question of the value of your time and that of your employees.</p> <p>However, depending on the type of equipment you need to use on a regular basis and the amount of time it will take to swap out your current technology, the difference in your operating costs over a year may more than cover the cost of your time.</p> <h3>Calculating the Costs</h3> <p>It could be that simply sitting down and running the numbers may not seem to be worthwhile in terms of finding out how a new piece of equipment could change your operating costs &mdash; if you find that the difference isn't enough to matter, the time spent may have no return. Nonetheless, it's useful to do at least a basic energy audit on your business. Professionals will come in, looking over the equipment you use and the space where you operate it. They'll put together a report pointing to where you can save energy and, depending on who you work with, lay out what equipment you can swap out for energy-efficient models, perhaps even pointing to the best models. A professional energy audit may be the fastest way to get an idea of what you may need.</p> <p>However, an outside energy audit may be unnecessary. There are numerous online tools to help business owners conduct an energy audit, such as that offered by <a href="http://www.greenyour.com/">GreenYour.com</a>. In most cases, you'll need to collect information about your business, from your operating habits to the physical layout of your office to your energy bills. The factors that play into just how energy efficient your business is can be complicated, making it worthwhile to follow an existing questionnaire.</p> <h3>Implementing Changes</h3> <p>For many businesses, the limiting factor in how much energy efficiency can change your monthly utility bill comes down to whether you rent office space (or other work space) or you own. The upgrades that can be added to a property you or your business own can make for a dramatic difference where simply switching to more energy efficient computers or copiers won't move the needle. Furthermore, there are tax incentives in place for many such improvements, dropping the actual costs and speeding up the point when your energy savings will have paid for the change. If, however, your business rents space, making such modifications may be significantly harder. Many landlords are willing to negotiate about improvements to their property, but they may ask for you to cover a significant portion of the cost &mdash; not necessarily worth your while if you don't expect to stay in the space long-term.</p> <p>When it comes to replacing equipment, there are decisions that have to be made beyond just picking out the new model. One of the most important is deciding when to purchase an energy-efficient model and replace what you currently have in your office. It makes sense to get as much use out of an old model as possible, although there is a question of sunk costs. Just because you paid more for an older model at some point, it may not be worth holding on to it when you could immediately start saving money on energy. The sensible choice depends heavily on what you're swapping out and the age of your equipment. It may also depend on whether you can sell an older model and recoup any of your costs.</p> <p>It seems like there is a new, more energy-efficient model of every type of office equipment coming out each week, making the choice more complicated. When you buy a new printer or copier, you could easily find that there's an even more efficient model out the next week. With that consideration in mind, it may make sense to simply plan on replacing existing equipment with energy-efficient models when you need to replace anyhow. Such an approach also allows you to budget for them more easily. You may not get the full savings you could get, but it can be the easiest way to get the greatest overall benefit for your business.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/does-energy-efficient-equipment-make-a-difference-in-operating-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center energy costs energy efficient equipment office equipment small business Thu, 14 Oct 2010 17:21:23 +0000 Thursday Bram 233473 at http://www.wisebread.com Be Standby Power Smart and Save Serious Money http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/be-standby-power-smart-and-save-serious-money <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/be-standby-power-smart-and-save-serious-money-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/be-standby-power-smart-an...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/be-standby-power-smart-and-save-serious-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002921611XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is a predator in your office. One that is costing you hundreds &mdash; if not thousands &mdash; of dollars per year, and unnecessarily so. It is also cumulatively costing the environment in untold ways. That predator is standby power, and if you get smart about it, you can save some serious money.</p> <p>We are complacent about luxuries and privileges that we consider to be rights. We turn on the tap and clean water (both hot and cold) comes out. We get into our cars, and gas is perpetually available at the gas station. And when we walk into a room and flick on a switch, whamo &mdash; we have light.</p> <p>But the resources and energy required to provide these instant benefits is not automatic, nor should it be taken for granted. Not only does it have a cost on our environment, but we are also paying for it with our hard-earned profits.</p> <h2>Standby Power</h2> <p>Standby power in particular is a completely unnecessary drain on our finances (and the environment). Also referred to as phantom power or phantom charge, it is the power that is consumed by appliances and electronics, even when they are turned off. You generally know if you have a standby power hungry machine if it has led indicators, blocky power adapters, continuous displays, or remote controls. Even without these components, you could be harboring more than a few standby power culprits in your office.</p> <p>For every watt of standby power you consume, you pay about $1/year. While this may not seem like a fortune, consider the fact that one desktop computer alone consumes 21 watts when left in sleep mode, and nine watts when completely turned off but left plugged in. Multiply that by the number of computers in your office, and before taking into account any other appliances (like printers, photocopiers, televisions, cell phones, and rechargeable electronics that you may leave plugged in even when charged), and you could very well be spending over a thousand dollars each year on standby power.</p> <p>For a list of appliances you may have in the office and the associated standby power costs, check out <a href="http://standby.lbl.gov/summary-table.html">this great chart</a>.</p> <h2>What You Can Do About It</h2> <p>There are a number of things you and your employees can do about this environmental and financial blunder. Getting your employees on board first-off is a great move, as it makes your job easier and plays a part in motivating them to be environmentally conscious at home as well.</p> <p><strong>1. Hibernate, Sleep, or Better Yet &mdash; Just Turn it Off</strong></p> <p>According to Energy Star, you can save up to $75 or more <em>per computer </em>simply by using the system standby or hibernate features and/or turning off your computers at night. There is no good reason for leaving computers on all night, and it's a security risk no less.</p> <p>There was once a school of thought that said you should leave your computers on all the time since turning them on and off is harmful. However, I recently chatted with an IT Technician at a large organization, who said that they lost 35% of their computers when they had a power outage &mdash; because it had been so long since the computers were shut down; it did more damage than good. So don't be afraid to turn them off; it won't hurt.</p> <p><strong>2. Monitors Off</strong></p> <p>Along the same lines, you can save $10-$40 by turning the monitor off when it's not in use (throughout the day as well as at night), as opposed to using a screen saver. In fact, screen savers consume almost double the energy as regular monitor usage.</p> <p><strong>3. Turn It Off at the Source</strong></p> <p>You can accomplish this in a few different ways:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>If you plug most appliances and electronics into power bars, simply switch off the power bar each night.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Physically unplug appliances that aren't in use.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use a program like <a href="http://www.verdiem.com/surveyor.aspx">Surveyor</a>, which automatically powers down company computers at night.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Implement a system like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/green-switch-for-green-savings">Green Switch</a>, which designs a custom program to turn off power at the source for specific areas of the office with the flick of a switch.</li> </ul> <p><strong>4. De-wire the Wireless</strong></p> <p>Remember some of the finer details like turning off your wireless modem at night. This also carries with it the added benefit of protecting your system and devices against hackers.</p> <p><strong>5. Watch What You Are Charging</strong></p> <p>If you are charging batteries, phones, laptops, and other devices, pay careful attention to the charge cycle, and ensure you unplug it as soon as it has charged. Even fully-charged devices are huge drains on power when they are left plugged in. A laptop, for example, continues to draw 30 watts of energy when plugged in and fully charged.</p> <p>By reducing standby power consumption, you will save some serious money, as well as help extend the overall life of our global power supply. For more information on how you and your employees can conserve both resources and money, check out <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/30-easy-ways-to-go-green-in-the-office-nora-dunn">30 Easy Ways to Go Green in the Office</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/be-standby-power-smart-and-save-serious-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology business expenses energy costs small business Tue, 17 Aug 2010 21:33:05 +0000 Nora Dunn 184900 at http://www.wisebread.com Landscaping for Energy Conservation http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/landscaping-for-energy-conservation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/858409_84677485.jpg" alt="house" title="house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Until alternate forms of energy become inexpensive and widely available, heating and cooling costs are going to continue eating up a large portion of our monthly budgets.</p> <p>While it may take some time to fully experience the benefits of energy-conservative landscaping, the long term benefits may well be worth it. Trees, shrubs, vines, and man-made structures can modify the climate around your home to reduce heat gains in summer and heat losses in winter.</p> <p>Over time, investing in green landscaping can reduce your heating bills as much as 25 percent and summer cooling bills by 50 percent or more.</p> <p>Here are six factors to consider for energy-efficient landscaping.</p> <h2>1. Air Infiltration</h2> <p>Air infiltration is the passage of outside air driven by the wind through cracks around windows and doors. This forces an equal amount of interior air out of the home through openings that face away from the wind.</p> <p>In winter, air-filtration can represent up to half your total heat loss on the windiest, coldest days. Fortunately, properly placed plants can reduce air infiltration by reducing wind velocity near the home.</p> <h2>2. Conduction</h2> <p>The amount of heat conduction depends on the insulating property and thickness of your building materials, the surface area available for heat flow, and the temperature difference between inner and outer surfaces. Landscaping can help reduce this heat conduction.</p> <p>Exterior surface temperatures are controlled primarily by the outside air temperature, wind velocity and solar radiation. In summer, trees and shrubs can reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the outside surfaces of a home, and thus reduce heat conduction into the house. In the winter, blocking cold winter winds will reduce conductive heat loss.</p> <h2>3. Solar Radiation</h2> <p>Large expanses of east- or west-facing windows will admit undesirable solar radiation in the summer, while large south-facing windows can help heat a home in winter. Planting vegetation around your home can regulate solar radiation during different seasons of the year.</p> <p>Strategically planted greenery along your home's sunny borders will shade south-facing roofs and walls that receive the most direct midday sun. You also can place plants to shade east- and west-facing walls that receive direct sunlight.</p> <h2>4. Planting Shade</h2> <p>If you live in a region with a great deal of sun, plant deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves each fall) in an arc on the east, southeast, south, southwest, and west sides of your home. Plant shade trees based on their mature height, shape of tree crown, position of the sun, desirable views, and roof and wall height. Remember, small trees grow faster than large trees and will provide early protection. Taller trees should be planted so they won't shade smaller trees when they reach maximum height.</p> <p>Summer shade for a south-facing roof generally depends on overhanging tree crowns. You'll want to plant shade trees as close to the home as practical so the crowns absorb the maximum sunlight. Select a species that won't easily break and promptly remove diseased or damaged limbs.</p> <p>In colder climates, planting trees for maximum summer shade can reduce your home's winter sun exposure by up to one third. However, the winter sun is typically less than 45 degrees above the horizon, so tree trunks will provide the most shade. For this reason, it's best to plant shade trees along the southern edge of your home. Remember to prune the lower trunk for maximum solar heating in winter. You may need only two or three large deciduous trees with well-developed crowns.</p> <p>Also, trees aren't the only way to create energy-saving shade. Consider covering east- or west-facing walls with vines or shrubs.</p> <h2>5. Wind Protection</h2> <p>Windbreaks can save you up to 25 percent in heating costs. Evergreens planted upwind will divert cold winds away from your home. The optimum distance for reducing wind velocity is about one to three times the tree height. However, a windbreak can provide reasonable protection at a distance of six-times tree height.</p> <p>Because windbreaks can lead to snow drifts, extend a row of trees 50 feet beyond the ends of the area being protected. Where space is limited, a single row of evergreens should do it. However, up to five rows of several evergreen species is more effective for larger properties. If you're planting several rows of trees, leave at least six feet between trees. Remember to consider the mature shape of the tree and how it will ultimately grow.</p> <p>Because it takes time to establish an effective windbreak, you might want to construct a fence with an open weave pattern until trees reach their optimum heights.</p> <p>Windbreaks have the additional advantages of protecting your privacy and improving the aesthetics of your home. Some greenery also will attract wildlife and provide them with winter protection and food.</p> <h2>6. Landscape Plan</h2> <p>Before you begin planning, it greatly helps to develop a scaled sketch. Measure the height of your home, and create a plan using one-quarter inch for each foot. Mark compass directions, doors, solar collectors, windows and other glass areas. Observe how the sun and wind affect your home during a winter storm through snow-drift directions and patterns. Sketch in windbreaks to block this wind flow.</p> <p>Next, you'll want to check out sun exposure during different seasons. How does the light strike the house between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the winter and summer? Incorporate into your plan measures to reduce this exposure.</p> <p>To determine the best vegetation for your home, consult with your county Extension agent.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by the <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/">Coupon Sherpa</a>, a source of reliable online, printable and grocery coupons. You can download the free <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/mobile-coupons/">Coupon Sherpa iPhone app</a> with in-store mobile coupons, or check out more great tips from the <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/">Ask Coupon Sherpa blog</a>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/6-tips-to-shopping-consignment-stores/">6 Tips to Shopping Consignment Stores</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/5-ways-to-sell-your-stuff/">5 Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/ask-coupon-sherpa/9-steps-to-shopping-for-gluten-free-foods/">9 Steps to Shopping for Gluten-Free Foods</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coupon-sherpa">Coupon Sherpa</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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