Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) urges Floridians to observe the state’s Arbor Day on January 18 by planting trees to conserve energy and water.
“Many small landscaping choices can add up to big energy and water savings, which are good for the environment and the pocketbook,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II. “Trees and other exterior plants can help homeowners conserve precious resources.”
Select trees that will channel summer breezes toward a home and maximize summer shade while allowing penetration of low-angle winter sun for warmth. Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25 degrees cooler.
Using shade effectively requires planning:
Trees should be selected with appropriate sizes, densities, and shapes for the desired shade.
To block the sun’s heat in the summer, but let it in during the winter, plant trees that shed their leaves.
Trees with high, spreading branches, planted on the south side, provide maximum summertime roof shading.
To provide continuous shade or to block heavy winds, use dense evergreen trees or shrubs.
Shorter trees can be planted to the west, if shade is needed from the lower afternoon sun.
Shading an air conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent. However, plants placed too close to the unit can reduce its efficiency.
Lower level landscaping placed next to a house can also play a part in conservation:
Plant shrubs, bushes, and vines about one foot from exterior walls to create dead air spaces that insulate a home in both winter and summer.
Use water-efficient landscaping, referred to as xeriscaping.
Improve soil to allow for better absorption of water and better water-holding capacity.
Locate turf only in areas where it provides functional benefits to conserve watering needs.
Use drought-tolerant plants.
Mulch plant beds to minimize moisture evaporation.
Arbor Day is celebrated nationally and was founded in 1872 by
pioneer J. Sterling Morton to encourage tree planting and care. In
, Arbor Day is observed on the third Friday in January to take advantage of the best tree-planting time. For more information on Arbor Day, go to http://www.arborday.org/. For more energy and water conservation tips from the
, you can download the brochure Conserve Your World from the
’s web site http://www.floridapsc.com/.
The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitors safety, reliability, and service.