AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Xcel Energy recently released tips on ways to save on energy costs by making smart landscaping choices around homes and businesses in the Texas-New Mexico regions.

A release from Xcel Energy provided an online tree-planting guide for customers, considering the area’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.”

The release said that careful 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.” In addition, planting the right trees in certain shaded areas can limit heat exposure from the sun, preventing air conditioning units from being utilized as often. This will assist with monthly electrical costs.

Xcel released the following tips to keep in mind when landscaping:

  • 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 the reflection of solar heat from roads, driveways, walks, patios, or water; and
  • 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.

Xcel reminded the community that trees and shrubs need to be planted 15 to 35 feet from utility lines to ensure customer safety as the tree grows. In addition, customers must call 811 to have underground lines marked before a landscaping project begins.

Customers can find more energy-saving tips here.

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