“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” but planting a tree can help you save money on your utility bill.
For Arbor Day, January 16, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) reminds Floridians that planting shade trees around the home is an effective way to lower home energy usage. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 6-foot to 8-foot deciduous tree planted near your home will begin shading windows the first year. Depending on its species and location, a tree can shade a homeowner’s roof in 5 to 10 years. Shading the air conditioning unit can also increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent, which reduces cooling costs.
“Saving energy is a goal for us all, and we can start in our own backyard,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II. “We invite residents to celebrate Arbor Day. Plant a tree today and save money for your energy future.”
Here are some energy-saving landscaping techniques:
Select appropriate trees for your landscaping needs and desired shade.
Plant deciduous trees, ones that lose their leaves in the winter, in front of windows that receive a lot of sunlight.
Use dense evergreen trees or shrubs for continuous shade or blocking heavy winds.
Use xeriscaping, water-wise landscaping, to create a healthy, attractive landscape that also reduces watering needs.
Your local nursery or landscape company can recommend appropriate trees and shrubs, or contact your county’s cooperative extension services office for further assistance.
Arbor Day is celebrated nationally and was founded in 1872 by Nebraska pioneer J. Sterling Morton to encourage tree planting and care. In Florida, Arbor Day is observed on the third Friday in January to take advantage of the best tree-planting time. For more information on energy efficient landscaping, visit the National Arbor Day Foundation at www.arborday.org. For more energy and water conservation tips from the PSC, you can download the brochure, Conserve Your World, from the PSC’s web site 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 monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.