An Energy and Ecological Analysis of Alternate Residential Landscapes

John H. Parker

DOI: 10.2190/0GH4-8W5X-FLXM-L3CR


A number of recent studies suggest the use of vegetative landscaping to reduce heat gain by a residential structure during the cooling season, thereby significantly reducing the energy used for air conditioning. In order to determine overall energy savings, energy consumed in maintaining the residential landscape should be considered. This study has included an energy flow analysis of alternate residential landscapes in a manner similar to that typically done on natural ecosystems. In particular, energy inputs and flows involved in the purchase, installation and maintenance of various combinations of lawn, shrubs and trees have been analyzed. This analysis, along with calculated investment ratios, indicates which landscape designs and practices will minimize fossil fuel inputs, best utilize natural energy flows and minimize negative ecological impacts.

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