Estimates differ regarding how money you can save by planting well-placed trees. The California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center says the right type of tree, planted in the right spot, can reduce your summer cooling costs by 20 to 40 percent. The United States Department of Energy says that shading an air-conditioning unit can save as much as 10% of the costs of running it. The type of tree, where you plant it, the climate and humidity where you live, and the efficiency of your home’s heating and air-conditioning units – all affect the bottom line. For more information, read Money from trees — save on utility bills and heal the atmosphere.
Here are just a few examples of how shade trees can have a big impact on your energy bills:
Photo: Arbor Day Foundation
Some shade trees, like this Catalpa, can do double duty, providing beautiful blooms in the spring and growing tall to shade even upper stories. The Catalpa, just one example of a towering, flowering tree, can withstand wet or dry environments, and sun or partial shade, growing 40-60 feet tall in zones 4-8.