The Family Home Blog

Best Shade Trees for Conserving Energy

Mar 18, 2015
Melissa Hincha-Ownby

Best Shade Trees for Conserving Energy 

A well-placed shade tree helps conserve household energy use and reduces annual energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling.” Over time, the right shade tree can pay for itself with the energy savings. Even though most trees provide shade, some are better suited for energy conservation than others.Deciduous trees are great for conserving energy. These trees provide shade in the warmer months and after they lose their leaves, the sun can provide external warmth in the cooler months. Fast-growing deciduous trees are even better; these trees grow quickly and homeowners start to see energy savings in just a few years. Below are a few of my favorite trees that I like to catch some shade under.

Northern Red Oak

The Northern Red Oak is a fast growing shade tree that grows to 60 to 75 feet in height. The tree thrives in various soil types under full sun and is best in hardiness zones 3 – 8.

Hybrid Poplar

Hybrid Poplar trees can grow 5 to 8 feet per year in various soil types. Reaching an ultimate height of 40 to 50 feet, Hybrid Poplars are great choices for people that live in hardiness zones 3 – 9.

Red Maple

Red Maple trees are medium to fast growing, but these trees grow well in both full sun and partial shade environments. Red Maples are known for beautiful fall foliage colors, tolerating multiple soil types and growing well in hardiness zones 3 – 9.

Live Oak

Live Oak trees (sometimes called the southern oak) don’t grow as fast as others on this list, but the Live Oak is one of the most beautiful and iconic species of tree in the United States. The trees grow quickly when young, but aren’t classified as a fast growing tree because growth slows as the tree ages. Ultimately the Live Oak can reach heights of up to 80 feet and work in a variety of southern climates.

Even though deciduous trees are a great option, non-deciduous trees can also help homeowners save energy. Check your local gardening store to see which option is best for you!

What is your favorite shade tree?

Photo courtesy of Melissa-Hincha Ownby.

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