Landscaping and energy efficiency

While homeowners generally pursue landscaping as a way to improve the aesthetic of their property or increase the value of their house, a new report from the environmental magazine Ensia shows that it can also go a long way in improving a home's energy efficiency too.

According to the source, a new program called the Sustainable SITES Initiative has been set up to review landscaping ideas and designs and then evaluate how these changes can improve the property's efficiency. These assessments are based on a criteria of 10 guidelines, including vegetation, soil, water use, storm​ water management, energy distribution and general maintenance and upkeep. Proposals like rain gardens, roof gardens, percolation pits and newly paved walks are some examples that SITES marks as renovations that can help contribute to sustainability.

Other possible methods include:

  • Green roofs, which can utilize solar energy to reduce the home's need to heat or cool itself
  • Strategically planted trees to curb heat gains from the sun during the summer, or block cold winds during the winter.

Adhering to any of these kinds of strategies can earn homeowners SITES credits, which, like LEED certification, help establish properties as energy efficient homes.

Submitting landscaping ideas to SITES is just one way Americans can jump on the green bandwagon. Another is to schedule an appointment for a home inspection. By meeting with professional inspectors, homeowners can identify all the ways in which their house may be wasting energy and how these issues can be resolved, helping to reduce both utility bills and the home's carbon footprint. Virginia homeowners looking to make these kinds of improvements are encouraged to meet with local Virginia home inspectors today.