Use landscaping to cut down commercial energy consumption
Thursday, December 01, 2016
You've done all the right things — you turn down the thermostat after hours, you've replaced your light bulbs with LEDs, and you even ensure your computers hibernate quickly when not in use — but you're running out of ways to cut down on your energy usage.
While all of those internal ideas are a step in the right direction, it can be helpful to look outside for even more ideas.
1. Use air pockets
Did you know that down coats are so warm because the feathers create tiny pockets of air? Air is actually a great insulator, and it's free, so use it to your advantage.
Planting shrubs, vines and bushes around the walls of your commercial property can actually help to regulate the temperature by trapping pockets of air. Be careful, however, not to plant them too close. Keep a distance of at least one foot from the walls of your building. Any closer, and you may risk damage to the property's foundation, as well as visits from some unwelcome pests when the weather gets less than ideal.
2. Stay still
While it is great to use air as an insulator, that's only if it's not moving. Wind can wreak havoc on your heating and cooling systems, and will find its way into any cracks and crevices.
In order to combat the wind, consider planting a "wind break," which is made up of many types and sizes of thick vegetation. If your business is in an environment where trees and other vegetation lose their leaves, evergreens are a great option as they will provide year-round protection from the elements.
3. Climb around
We've all seen old buildings covered with beautiful vines. While these can sometimes cause structural problems if not cared for properly, vines are actually great at decreasing energy consumption.
Pergolas, trellises and archways can all be placed strategically near windows and doors on your property to help filter incoming light, as well as create some of those wonderful air pockets. By opting for flowering vines, you'll create a win-win situation for your company as well as for the hummingbirds and butterflies.
And if you're feeling really adventurous, consider climbing fruits and vegetables.
4. Rest in the shade trees
Shade trees are the ultimate key to decreasing your energy consumption. Their huge shadow upon your building can help you reduce your indoor temperature by as much as 25 percent.
By keeping your property shaded, trees help your air conditioning system run much more efficiently, thus decreasing your energy consumption twofold. This will not only help you save on energy, but also prolong the life of your air conditioning system due to less stress and usage.
5. Don't waste water
When considering what to plant and where, make sure you're choosing plants that will thrive in your environment's conditions. Also plan to water them in the morning or evening, because the temperature is cooler and the chance of excess evaporation is low.
Lastly, using targeted watering techniques rather than sprinklers can ensure you're only using the water you need, and that it's being delivered to the plants that need it.
A beautifully landscaped lawn is nice to look at, but taking the extra step to make your outdoor area work for your business and customers can also have positive impacts on your energy consumption as well — as if we needed another reason to plant more trees.
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