Landscape for Savings and Safety

Plant Energy Savings: Plant Deciduous trees to block heat from the sun in the summer and let sunlight in during the winter

A well-designed landscape not only adds beauty to your home, but can reduce your heating and cooling costs.

Trees and other plants on the east, south and west sides of your home help shade it, helping reduce cooling costs in the summer and cold winds in the winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves during the fall, allowing sunlight to warm your home. The extra shade during summer months keeps your home cooler and gives your air conditioner a break.

Well-placed trees or shrubs can create a windbreak that can block wind close to the ground, which reduces heat loss around your home. A windbreak can reduce wind speed for a distance of as much as 30 times the windbreak’s height.

“Proper placement of trees and shrubs can help lower your energy bill by 10 percent,” says Benton REA Energy Advisor Eric Miller.

Planting Near Electrical Equipment

Branches that touch utility power lines create hazardous situations and can cause power outages. Selecting and planting trees with the size and growth characteristics appropriate to their location can extend the life of the tree and prevent power outages.

A list of trees, their heights and where you may plant them is available from the Mid-Columbia Community Forestry Council at BentonREA.org/trees. Electrical equipment such as pad-mounted transformers, switch cabinets and electric meters must be kept free of obstructions.

Bad example - Pat Mount Transformer is not accessible to utility workers because it is hidden by large rocks and plants
Bad example – Not accessible to utility workers
Good example - Pad Mount Transformer is accessible to utility workers because there is plenty of empty space around it
Good example – Accessible to utility workers

“During power outages, Benton REA crews often find fences, shrubs and trees that have been placed or planted in front of electrical equipment,” says Benton REA Operations Manager Jeff Ekrut.

“Removing these obstacles takes time and delays restoration of power.” Overgrown plants can also obstruct access to the electric meter on your property. Benton REA meter readers need safe and clear access to the meter to obtain an accurate monthly read.

Call 811 Before You Dig

Five hundred fifty-four miles of Benton REA’s power lines are underground. Because of this, and the many other natural gas and water pipelines or communications cables that may lie beneath the surface, Benton REA urges you to call 811 before any digging project, big or small.

811 Logo - Know what's below. Call Before you dig.

Always follow the law and call 811 for the Utilities Underground Location
Center at least two business days before doing any digging projects. Hitting an underground wire, cable or pipeline could cause serious injury or damage, and potentially create expensive repairs or a life-threatening situation.

More Information

To learn more about which trees are safe and efficient to plant near your home, visit BentonREA.org/trees or contact Benton REA at 509-786-8252.

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