Plant trees to save electricity bills!

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Washington, Nov 16: An economical and ecological way that will reduce one's electricity bill. A leading researcher has said that shade trees can reduce homeowners' electricity bills during hot summer months. According to professor David Laband in the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, electricity usage and costs will be 11.4 percent less if a house has just 17.5 per cent heavy shade coverage. This is compared to a house with no shade. "The keys are heavy foliage and late afternoon shade," Laband said.

"The savings can be very significant for homeowners. Over the years I had read statements that shade trees reduce electricity consumption, so we wanted to put a dollar amount to it," the expert added. To reach the conclusion, the expert's office conducted a yearlong study of 160 houses in the Auburn, Ala., area to determine the annual energy savings provided by shade trees, primarily looking at the months of May to Sep.

He analyzed power bills, calculated shade coverage and surveyed the homeowners about household makeup, electricity-usage habits, square footage, type of air conditioning, appliances, roofing, exterior material and other factors.

"We looked at the amount of shade in the early morning, early afternoon and late afternoon. If you have trees on the west side of your house, you will have a much lower power bill," the expert said.

The study, which categorized types of shade into light, moderate and heavy, found that a house covered with 50 percent of light shade will save 10.3 percent.

Thermostat settings were important as well. "For each degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you will save 3.3 percent on your power bill," he said. "We also found that children under age 12 are the major power consumers in the home. They watch television, play games and leave lights on," he added.


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