AMARILLO, Texas (March 8, 2023) – Planting trees and shrubs make homes and businesses more attractive and, if planned carefully, can save money on energy bills. Area residents can make the best choices on what and where to plant through Xcel Energy’s online tree-planting guide, customized for the region’s unique growing conditions.
“Trees are especially valued by customers in our area, not only for their aesthetic value but also for shading the sun and blocking the wind,” said Michael Swanson, program manager for Xcel Energy’s vegetation management group in Amarillo. “We encourage our customers to consider investing in trees that will stand up to our weather and to plant them in locations where they won’t interfere with power lines. This ensures everyone’s safety and helps us maintain high reliability on the electrical system.”
Carefully designed landscaping is one of the most cost-effective investments available to reduce energy costs, paying for itself in energy savings in seven to 10 years. Shaded surfaces may be 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the peak temperatures outside of the shade. Planting the right kind of trees around homes and businesses takes the edge off a hot day and prevents air conditioning units from cycling as often. Not only does this ease the strain on the equipment, it saves on monthly electric bills as well.
Information on where to plant trees and which varieties thrive in this region can be found on the sustainable landscaping page of xcelenergy.com. Among the tips customers can find are:
• Shade west walls and windows with deciduous (leaf-shedding) trees that create shade in the summer and, after leaves fall off, allow sunlight to warm the home in the winter.
• Plant vines and shrubs next to the home to create a blanket of air space that insulates outside walls in winter and summer. A trellis with climbing vines or a planter box with trailing plants can form screens that block the sun yet allow cooling breezes to flow through.
• Plant low shrubs and ground covers around the home to reduce reflection of solar heat from roads, driveways, walks, patios or water.
• Plant trees and shrubs to shade air conditioning units from the sun, helping them to run up to 10% more efficiently. Be sure branches and leaves don’t restrict airflow.
Trees and shrubs should be planted 15 to 35 feet from utility lines, and never directly below overhead utility lines. Keeping utility lines free of tree growth helps to ensure customer safety, the reliability of service and could save on the cost of future tree maintenance.
Xcel Energy also is reminding customers to call 811 to have underground lines marked before taking on any landscaping projects such as tree planting that require digging.
And while customers are waiting for landscaping investments to pay off, they can also lower monthly bills in a variety of means that make homes and businesses more energy efficient. From xcelenergy.com customers can select the Programs and Rebates link to find energy-saving tips and information on efficiency programs the company offers across its eight-state service territory.
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