How to Build an Energy Efficient Backyard

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to start enjoying the beautiful weather. In fact, you should plan to spend as much time as possible in your own backyard. Not only is it good to get some fresh air, but you’ll also be able to reduce your dependence on energy and save some money along the way.

Save Energy, Choose the Outdoors

Spending time outdoors should be an essential part of everyone’s summer plans. However, what few realize or think about are the long-term effects of spending time outdoors. By reducing your dependence on indoor living, you can actually save energy. This is a direct result of using less artificial light, air conditioning, and electricity. However, if you’re going to spend more time outdoors, you need to have a plan. You can only enjoy the sweltering heat of summer for so long. 

Tips for Maximizing Your Backyard’s Efficiency

In order to make your outdoor living arrangements as energy efficient and comfortable as possible, you need to work on maximizing the beauty and practicality of your backyard. Here are a few ideas to spark your creativity:

  • Incorporate shade. One of the most important aspects of a comfortable and energy efficient backyard is having shade. While you want the warmth of the summer sun, it’s not healthy or practical to be directly exposed to it. Options include planting trees, using roof overhangs, building canopies, and installing pergolas. The latter is particularly advantageous and flexible. According to Fred Vosburgh of PergolaKitsUSA, “In addition to offering a source of shade and reducing the overall temperature of your outdoor living spaces, pergolas can give your backyard a distinctive look.” After all, that’s the goal: Creating an efficient, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing backyard. 
  • Be responsible with your swimming pool. If you have a swimming pool or spa, it’s important to properly care for it in order to save money and keep your family cool during the hot months. While the basic pool pump may be cheaper on the frontend, you can expect to pay four times more in electricity costs when compared to the most energy-efficient pumps on the market. That could be as much as $300 a year. You should also avoid running your pump at high speeds when it’s not being used. Furthermore, investing in a pool cover can keep your pool cool and prevent excessive evaporation.
  • Use good grilling habits. Air quality matters as much as reducing your dependence on energy. That’s why it’s better to switch from a charcoal grill to a natural gas grill. This reduces pollution and keeps your family healthier.
  • Be smart about lighting. Finally, pay attention to your outdoor lighting. Instead of wasting money on large floodlights, look for ways to tastefully incorporate solar light fixtures. There are plenty of options on the market and you can find versions in almost any design. Most of these lights power up during the day and automatically turn on at night. 

Using these tips and tricks, you can save energy and enjoy the beautiful summer weather at the same time. What are you waiting for?

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Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.

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