Landscaping is just as important on a commercial property as it is on a residential property. You want landscaping that's inviting and attractive to maintain your property value and increase the curb appeal of your establishment. But did you know that your landscaping choices can also save you money and lower your carbon footprint? Energy efficient commercial landscaping can reduce your heating and cooling needs, keeping your bills lower and improving the eco-friendliness of your business. Take a look at some landscaping tips that will help you achieve maximum energy efficiency on your property.
It probably doesn't come as any surprise that shade trees planted outside your building can reduce your cooling costs. The shade cast over your walls and windows helps keep the temperature down both outside and inside of the building. However, it's not just the cooling costs that are affected. Trees that are strategically planted to block the wind can reduce the wind velocity, which means that the building won't be as cold during winter windstorms. This is known as a wind break. Deciduous trees are a good choice for many properties – the foliage will provide shade from the sun in the summertime, and when the leaves fall, your building will receive warmth from the sun in the winter, while the branches and body of the tree help block the force of the wind.
Strategic tree planting can reduce your building's heating and cooling costs by around 25% to 30%, and even up to 50% in some cases. That's a lot of money that you'll be able to save, which gives you more funds to use in other ways.
Bushes and Shrubs
It isn't just trees that can help keep your energy costs down. Bushes and shrubs are usually too short to effectively provide shade for a building, but they can shade your sidewalks, walkways, and parking lots. And believe it or not, shading the grounds on your property actually helps keep the heat away from your building.
First of all, planting hedges that shade the paved walkways or driveways on your property lowers the ground temperature, which means that your building won't be as hot because the air around your building isn't as hot. Another advantage of shrubs is that they mature more quickly than trees, so you'll start seeing the benefits sooner. You can even plant bushes around the outdoor component of your air conditioning unit to keep the air temperature down around it, which will help it work more efficiently and cool your building more effectively.
Grasses and Small Plants
Even grass and small plants help keep the temperature on your property down. Plants cool themselves by an evaporative process known as transpiration. Water moves from the roots of the plant up through the leaves, exiting as water vapor through tiny pores in the leaves. That water vapor helps regulate the temperature in the area around the plant, which means that all plants on your property lead to cooler temperatures, even the plants that are too small to provide any appreciable shade. In the areas that tend to draw the most heat, like dark-colored parking lots, medians containing grass or flower beds can do a lot to help reduce high temperatures and prevent a heat wave.
You can keep your water usage down when tending these plants by choosing grasses and flowers that are native to your area. Native plants have already adapted to thrive under your normal weather conditions, so they'll need less watering. You can also collect rainwater or use gray water from your facility to further conserve water while tending to your landscaping.
A commercial landscaper in your area, such as those at Boyer WH, can help you design a landscape for your property that's attractive, functional, and energy efficient as well. Make sure to ask about energy efficient planting strategies and water-saving irrigation methods.