Plant leafy shade trees around your home
It will take awhile, but once trees take hold and get big enough, their shade can keep your home significantly cooler and help you save money.
While it is conventional wisdom to plant shade trees on the south side of the home to provide the most protection from the sun, the best approach is planting trees on the east- and west-facing sides, says Liskey. That's because trees on the south-facing side can boost utility bills in winter by blocking out valuable sunshine during the warmest part of the day, he says.
The savings you'll reap on your utility bill could be eye-opening. Depending on where you live, one tree planted on the west side of your home can reduce your energy bills by 3 percent within five years, according to the Center for Urban Forest Research in Albany, Calif. Within 15 years, that savings jumps to nearly 12 percent, and planting another tree on the east side can boost the total savings to nearly 22 percent.