Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Electric bill too high? Plant trees!

I was talking to an acquaintance last year who wanted to buy an extra large lot. I asked him if he understood that he was going to have to landscape the half acre and that watering it wouldn't be cheap. So he said he'd just pour cement over it. I laughed and warned him that all that cement would really push up his air conditioning bills--not cheap considering that his 4000+-square-foot house was going to have at least 3 air conditioners. I told him that he should plant deciduous trees to shade his house in the summer. As they drop their leaves, the sun would be able to reach his house in the winter.

The City of Riverside has a great program that reimburses people for planting deciduous trees around their houses. We've taken advantage of this program plus put a pergola with wisteria over our patio. These plantings in combination with putting in 2 attic fans have reduced our kilowatt usage from 1850 to about 1350 during the summer months, which is quite remarkable considering that we have an all-electric house.

Our next goal, which we've been considering for the past decade, is to put solar panels up on our roof (the section that doesn't have trees over it). I've always liked the idea of using the sun to provide power that could ultimately cool our house.

Here's the Riverside Utilities site on the tree program:
http://www.riversideca.gov/utilities/resi-treepower.asp

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