When you think of ways to save money on air conditioning, it is likely that you do not think about covering your roof with plants and planting trees to shade your condenser coils. This is probably because you have never fully appreciated the cost-saving benefits that you would gain by doing so. A green roof and strategically planted trees can not only help with reducing heat gain but also with making your AC system work better.
A Green Roof
To create a green roof, you must first cover your roof with a waterproof membrane and then with a potting medium. With these two materials in place, you can then plant your roof with whatever plants you choose. What are the advantages of creating a green roof? Many. For one, the plants will absorb the sun's energy through photosynthesis, so very little of the sun's rays should even make it to the potting medium below. The potting medium itself will act as insulation, which will keep heat out during the summer and keep heat in during the winter. In fact, creating a green roof can reduce your cooling costs by 75%. While the cost of installing a green worth is weighty, you could be paying one quarter of what you do now to keep your home cool through the summer.
Evapotranspiration and Condenser Coils
Preventing heat gain is one way to save money, and improving the function of your AC system is another. By planting trees to shade the part of your yard where your condenser coils sit, you can reap more important savings. Trees release water vapor into the air through a process known as evapotranspiration. The water vapor thus released absorbs heat from the air, and the air thus cooled settles into your yard. This process provides ample amounts of relatively cool air to your condenser coils so that they can cool the refrigerant flowing through them more quickly. This in turn means that your system uses less electricity, and you save money. You should also plant trees on the sunny side of your house to help reduce heat gain. With a strategic approach to planting your trees, you can reduce your cooling costs by up to 30%.
Some readers may have noticed that 75% and 30% add up to 105%. You should not take from this that you can completely eliminate the cost of cooling your home. Results will vary from climate to climate, and even if you did see a 75% reduction in cooling costs after installing a green roof, you would only save up to 30% on your remaining cost. Suffice it to say, you can and should take steps to reduce your cooling costs, and installing a green roof or strategically planting trees is a good place to start.
Talk to an HVAC contractor such as GNL Inc for more ideas for reducing your costs.