Landscaping

Energy usage comprises over half of commercial buildings’ costs, so by making energy efficiency a priority, you can improve your bottom line.  Installing an energy efficient landscape is low-cost, and will help reduce energy usage, making it economically and environmentally sustainable.

 

Things to consider:

  • Trees and shrubs can provide shade and reduce solar heat gain in the summer, and prevent heat loss in the winter.

  • Vegetated roofs provide extra thermal mass and insulation

  • Deciduous trees planted to the south of the building will shade it from summer solar heat gain

  • Shorter deciduous trees planted to the west will also provide shade from the sun

  • Shading hardscape surfaces (like shrubs and groundcover plants along sidewalks) will help keep ambient temperatures cooler

  • Prevent heat loss in the winter by planting shrubs, bushes, and vines close to the building (but at least 1 foot away)

  • Planting dense evergreen trees and shrubs with low crowns planted to the north and northwest can help create a windbreak

 

Benefits

  • According to a Lawrence Berkeley National Labs study, landscape providing shade can help decrease a building’s energy load by 9-20%

  • Shading can increase the efficiency unit by up to 10%

  • Windbreaks can save up to 25% on heating costs by protecting the building

  • Decreases energy demand of heating and cooling

 

Costs

  • Landscaping has a potentially quick payback period, but benefits may not be achieved immediately, depending on your building structure and the type of landscaping strategies chosen.