Keeping Cool with Curb Appeal
There is a reason we talk about curb appeal so often. According to real estate experts, adding curb appeal to a home can add as much as a 28% increase in perceived home value in direct comparison to comparable houses in the same neighborhoods, and will also reduce the time a house spends on the market by as much as 10% to 15% of the regional average.
But even if you aren’t planning on putting your home on the market, adding a few well-thought touches to your home’s landscape can put money in your pocket.
About 22% of energy costs in the United States come from home utility costs, and approximately half of this comes directly from heating and cooling costs in the home. You can reduce this number in your own home by strategically placing certain plants around your yard. Doing this allows vegetation to do what it does best, work with nature to help control climate by creating both shade and insulation.
How Nature Works
To put nature to work for you in your own yard, you’ll need to gather your materials. For the greatest impact you’ll require:
- Ground cover
North Florida is part of the “hot and humid” temperate zone, which means that you’ll need to find vegetation that thrives in those conditions. Most of the year, the plants in your yard will be exposed to direct sunlight and will need to help cool down your household. You’ll want to put in plants that will help block those warm summer breezes from entering your yard, will provide shade over your home and will draw water away from the base of your house.
Here are some tips for planting to the benefit of your utility bill:
- Put shading vegetation like shrubbery around your AC unit. According to the US Department of Energy, this can improve the energy efficiency of your AC by as much as 10% on its own. Go with a strong shrub more than a vine so that it doesn’t grow into the AC unit.
- Cover large windows to prevent direct sunlight. Putting a large tree or shrubbery in front of windows that receive direct sunlight can help cool down the entire room.
- Use wind-resistant trees to help shade the roof. You want to make sure you are finding trees that will be resistant to the harshest winds of summer, but having tall trees in your yard will prevent heat from seeping into the roof of your home, which can give your AC unit a major rest comes summertime.
It is always a good idea to reach out to a gardening or landscaping expert when determining what plants to put in your yard. You want to make sure you are choosing plants that will stand up to the intense Florida heat, but will also stand strong through any potential wind storms. The best bet is to go with plants that are native to our region. If the plant has been able to grow in North Florida for several hundred years without disturbance, then it can likely withstand the pressure of being in your own yard. Some specific plants to look for include palm trees, Florida boxwood shrubs, and bee balm for groundcover.
At All Weather Contractors, we want all of our customers to be as energy efficient as possible and make it our priority to keep you comfortable and your wallet full. Contact us for more information.