The cost to keep your home cool with air conditioning in the summer and heated for warmth during winter is an expense you can lower with some creative additions to your home. Here are some options to help you accomplish this with installation of window awnings and planting shade trees.
Install Window Awnings
There are many types of window awnings you can have installed on the exterior of your home, depending on the climate you live in and which direction your home's windows face. An exterior window awning is a better option than curtains or blinds on your home's exterior, as the exterior awning blocks the sun's rays and heat before it enters your home to keep your home cooler in the summer.
Northern-facing windows on your home won't need to be installed with awnings, as the sun may never shine into your home from this position. Windows facing south and west are more susceptable to the sun's summer heat and can benefit from awning installations.
You can install an adjustable awning that can be moved up or down to block out the sun's rays at different types of the day and the year. Fixed awnings with adjustable louvers can be moved and turned to allow sunshine to pass through the awning and enter your windows in the cooler winter months and to block out the sun during warmer months.
A fixed awning provides a window shade angled at a 45 degree angle to take advantage of the sun's position in the sky at different times of the year. The sun sits higher in the sky during summer and lower in the sky during winter. Keep this in mind when you install a fixed exterior window awning. The awning's 45 degree downward slope on your window's exterior will block the sun's rays from entering your home in the summer because the sun is higher in the sky. Then, in the winter, the angle of the awning will allow the lower-positioned sun to shine into your home so you can benefit from the sun's solar heat gain.
Landscape with Trees
Another option to keep your home cool in the summer and warmer in the winter is by strategically planting trees in your yard. By planting deciduous trees around your home that lose their leaves during the winter, their treeless branches will allow sunlight to shine on your roof and enter your home's windows so you can benefit from the solar heat gain to help warm your home. In the summer, their leaves will shade your roof and windows to keep your home cooler.
Shade trees will also shade concrete around your yard to help keep your yard cooler in summer, which can help lower your air conditioning costs. Trees create shade and move and release water vapor into the air, which can reduce the air temperature by as much as six degrees F. The temperature of the air directly under a shade tree in your yard can be up to 25 degrees F cooler than a surrounding asphalt surface, which can help with your home's cooling costs.
Sapling shade trees can take several years to grow to their required height to block the sun, so you may want to plant mature trees that are of a larger size. Plant them outside of east and west-facing walls and windows on your home. Trees with a mature height of 25 feet or more should be planted 10 to 20 feet from the east and west sides of your home. It is also helpful to position and plant these trees to shade the east side of your home in the morning hours. Then, position and plant trees on the west side of your home to shade your home from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. during summer. This will help to keep your home cooler during the hottest parts of the day.
Use this information to help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
For more information and advice, talk with remodeling contractors, like those at Four Seasons, or professional landscapers.