Plain Gardening: Saving Money On Your Energy Bill

Plain Gardening

People along the Gulf Coast are concerned about power bills during this hot time of year, and will go to great lengths to lower those bills.

Gardening expert Bill Finch says there are simple things you can do outdoors that will significantly lower your energy use indoors. Bamboo is a critical part of Bill’s air conditioning system. It shades the windows on the east and west sides of the house—as the sun is coming up and going down.

In summer, the sun is nearly overhead midday, so house eaves will protect most windows. The problems arise in the morning before 10:00 and in the afternoon after 3:00. In Boston, folks worry more about north and south facing windows, but here on the Gulf Coast, power bills are dominated by windows on the east and west sides of the house.

Bill says you don’t need a big tree to shade your windows. Bamboo works wonderfully, and newer clumping varieties won’t take over your yard. Bananas are another great shade plant, and you get bananas in the deal! Beautiful palms are another great choice.

Bill says this kind of shade can be an important contribution to lowering energy bills in summer; anywhere from 5-20%. For every degree you can turn up the thermostat, it will translate to a 2-5% difference in your energy bill. It adds up!

Learn more by calling Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings from 9-11 on 106.5FM, or email

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