Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22, and what better way to celebrate than with a landscaping project. Did you know strategically planting trees and shrubs around your home could save up to 25 percent of typical household energy use?

Maximize shade during the summer.
Landscaping elements such as trees, shrubs and vines can shade your home from summer sun rays that often account for more than half of the heat gain in your home, resulting in your air conditioning unit working harder to keep it cool.

Tunnel summer breezes toward the home.
Planting trees and shrubs in key areas around the home allows you to tunnel breezes toward windows in your home. Although it’s summer, the breezes provide a cooling effect.

Get the most out of the sun’s warming effects in the winter.
Be sure trees and shrubs don’t block the sun’s rays during winter. Select landscaping that will lose leaves during the winter to allow the sun’s rays to shine through open blinds and curtains. Sunshine during the winter can cause heat gain in a good way, heating rooms or areas and ultimately decreasing your HVAC unit’s work.

Place trees and shrubs on the north and northwest side of your home to deflect winter winds away from your home.
A windbreak will reduce wind speed for a distance of as much as 30 times the windbreak’s height. Dense evergreen trees and shrubs planted to the north and northwest of the home are the most common types of windbreak. Take care to avoid planting evergreens too close to your home’s south side if you want to collect passive solar heat from the winter sun.

To find trees and shrubs that suit your planting needs around your home but won’t interfere with Jones-Onslow’s electrical equipment, check out the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Line USA Program at www.arborday.org.