Edible Landscaping

Charlie says… Grow Fruit Trees to Save Energy

Plant fruits trees on the south side of buildings to provide summer and winter energy savings.

While the purpose of edible landscaping is to get you to grow more vegetables, fruits, and berries around your yard, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention other benefits of growing these plants. One of the key ones is energy conservation. While it's important to save energy by reducing our dependence on shipping produce thousands of miles to our homes, we can also save energy right at our house by landscaping with standard-sized trees on the south-side of our homes.

Researchers at Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences in Alabama analyzed the the energy savings of 160 homes in Alabama having shade trees planted on the south-side of the home. They 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 from May to September.

They found electricity usage and costs were 11.4 percent less if a house has just 17.5 percent heavy shade coverage compared to a house with no shade. That calculated into a monthly savings of $31 to $33 dollars per home.

Now, think if homeowners were growing standard-sized fruit or nut trees, such as apple, cherry, pear, pecan, or walnut, in that landscape. Not only would they get the energy savings, they'd receive all those great fruits and nuts as well.

So when looking to lay out your edible landscape, think about the south side of your home and where you can plant some deciduous fruit trees to save energy costs. It can save you dollars is so many ways.

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