Funded by the Local Government Strategic Plan Strategies Program

under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.


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



  • 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



  • 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.