Plant trees wisely

Trees and shrubs can keep your home comfortable and cut your energy bills.

  • Plus they store a lot of carbon for many years!
  • Large trees to the southwest cool a home and cut air-conditioning costs.
  • Trees overhanging a south-facing roof cool the most.
  • A small strategically placed lawn lowers air temperatures with evaporative cooling.
  • Evergreens planted west of a home provide summer shade plus winter wind protection.

Home Energy Plan Ideal landscaping for energy conservation around a home.

Deciduous trees hug the corners of a house. They cool the roof in summer, yet are far enough apart to create a protected sun pocket on the south side of the home, for solar gain on sunny winter days.


Windbreak diagram

Windbreaks to the north and west cut winter winds and heating bills significantly. To get the best protection from a windbreak, figure out how tall it will be when it is full-grown, and locate it 1-3 times that distance from your home.

Vine cover



Vines can screen windows in summer, but allow for solar gain in winter. Fast growing vines like hops can cover a west window in three weeks. Each fall, this perennial vine is cut to the ground to get more solar gain inside the home.

Fast growing vines to shade windows

Scarlet Runner BeanScarlet Runner Bean

Fast growth with showy red flowers; grows 10-15 feet with moist soil.
Will not cover windows until late July.





Fast growth with plentiful harvest.
Needs support and training.


GrapeGrape Niagra and Himrod trellis varieties

Vigorous once established, produces edible grapes with seeds.
Needs support and training.
Can attract unwanted wildlife.

Trumpet VineTrumpet Vine

Showy orange flowers, cascading annual growth provides summer shade.
Needs training and support to become tree-like, to provide both summer shade and winter sun.


Vigorous 40 feet of growth in spring; lovely aroma.
Flowers are green bracts and not showy. Likes lots of water until established. Needs support & training.



Buffalo GourdBuffalo Gourd,
Cucurbita foetidissima


Vigorous growth and large leaves quickly shade windows. Xeric native.
Needs help to stay on trellis. Rank odor. Plant in protected place.