LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative


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Landscape

Landscape

Use this diagram to determine the best location and height for planting trees near distribution (lower voltages) power lines.

Landscape

 

“Mature height” means the maximum height of the species when it reaches maturity. Distances from utility poles or lines are measured to the edge of the tree canopy, not the trunk.

  • Under 20 Feet Tall – ideal for planting near overhead distribution lines.
  • 20-40 Feet Tall – should be planted so the edge of the tree canopy is a minimum of 20 feet away from overhead distribution lines.
  • Over 40 Feet Tall – should be planted so that the edge of the tree canopy is a minimum of 50 feet away from overhead distribution lines.

Selecting the Best Location

Since outside air entering the home increases the load on the cooling unit, a row of trees to block winds can be useful if your home is totally air-conditioned.

For breeze-cooled homes, choose locations that do not interfere with air movement. Prevailing winds during the summer months originate in the south, southeast and east, with south winds predominating.

Windows are the best targets for shading since glass transmits sunshine directly. During the summer, east and west walls receive twice as much sunshine as walls facing north and south. A tree planted between the incoming sunshine and your window will block the sun’s rays and help reduce your cooling needs. The payoff is usually greatest from shading eastern and western windows.

Trees intended to shade sidewalls should be planted between 7 and 20 feet from the edge of the house for the benefits of shade to be realized within five years. The shadow of a tree planted ten feet from the house will move across the surface four times slower than it would if it were 20 feet away.

Landscaping to Conserve Electricity

In most Southwest Florida homes, approximately 47 percent of the energy expended is used for cooling, and 14 percent is for heating.

That’s why LCEC recommends low-energy landscaping in addition to other energy-efficient measures such as insulation, caulking, weather-stripping and reflective window film. Properly placed plants can help reduce your heating and cooling costs by 20 to 30 percent.

A low-energy landscaping plan will use trees to moderate the effects of the typical hot and humid weather from April through November.

Trees planted in your yard can help reduce the discomfort of summer in two ways:

  • Provide a canopy of shade. The tree’s leaves absorb or reflect sunshine that would otherwise hit the home.
  • Cool the air around the home through evapotranspiration, a process where leaves absorb heat, cooling the surrounding air by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Source: This in­for­ma­tion is taken from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences publication EES.2, “Land­scap­ing to Save Energy at Home: Trees for Southern Florida.” Your County Cooperative Ex­ten­sion Service Office is an excellent source of information and advice on land­scap­ing to con­serve energy. Also ask them about xeriscaping to conserve water!

Selecting the Most Appropriate Species

The trees you select depend on a number of characteristics: growth rate, leaf persistence, shape and salt tolerance (if you live near saltwater). If immediate shade is indeed a priority, a good landscaping plan will include species with different growth rates. Some fast-growing species are not as strong as low-growing trees. We recommend that you contact your local nursery for advice on which trees to select.

Medium-sized trees with round or oval shapes are good for shading sidewalls. If lower branches are not pruned, they can block breezes, insulating homes that are cooled only by air conditioning. To encourage air movement, remove lower branches or select trees with more open branches.

Click here for a list of power friendly trees.

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