How to Add Shade to Your Home to Save on Energy Bills

Though adding shade to the exterior of your home is a great way to increase your energy savings in the summer, this simple solution is often overlooked by homeowners. Even if you know shade can dramatically help cool your home, whether to plant trees, build a shade structure, or add shade cloths, the choice sometimes seems unclear. As professionals in the energy industry, we want you to be in-the-know in regards to how to save energy and money. Just follow these helpful tips from your friends at Maki Heating and Air to determine the best way to add shade to your home and save money on your energy bills.

#1 Think about the long-term benefits and risks of adding shade trees to your yard. 

When homeowners think about increasing shade they often think of planting trees. This can be a great idea if done correctly and the proper precautions kept in mind. Trees take years to grow to maturity, so if you need extra shade quickly, trees alone are not a great solution. But, if you’re planning for the long run and you want to enhance your home‘s overall beauty and shade factor, adding trees to your energy savings plan is a great idea.

Choose The Right Trees

When selecting trees to add shade and reduce energy spending, you want to keep in mind where exactly to plant them in your yard, the type of tree (and the mess it will make in the fall), how large it will grow, and whether it is deciduous or not. Non-deciduous trees like pines may not have the same leafy coverage of a maple tree, but they keep their needles year-round and do well in varied environments where they will get plenty of rain and in the fall and winter months. They are also hardy and thrive in snowy conditions if you live in the foothills and get winter storms. Mature pine trees can provide great shade and they are less messy than trees that shed their leaves annually.

Plant Shade Trees Far From Structures

When planting any tree around the home to offer shade and reduce energy usage, you want to be sure to plant it far enough away that when it grows to its adult size it will not threaten the structure of the home nor will the roots threaten the foundation or any outside features such as the driveway, underground plumbing, or swimming pools. Many a homeowner has spent tens of thousands of dollars replacing broken pipes or cracked swimming pool surfaces from roots pushing through. Also keep in mind how close your trees are to fences and other structures so that proper trimming can be completed yearly. 

#2 Pergolas and other permanent shade structures can double as both shade solutions and inclement weather protection. 

Permanent shade structures like a pergola off of your back porch can be a great way to provide shade in the summer and also a covered area to enjoy the outdoors when it’s cold or rainy outside..

Whether you are building a pergola from scratch or purchasing a premade one to affix to your home, making sure it has an all-weather top is a great way to ensure it will last through all seasons. When building a covered deck or pergola shade structure, it’s a good idea to put it next to the living area of the home since it will help shade all windows it is next to. 

Ideally, if you choose to build a covered porch or deck onto the back of your home, you can create a shade structure that affixes to the house and shades windows as well as sliding glass doors. By protecting the windows from direct sunlight, you actually keep your house much cooler during the day and can save on energy usage and therefore, your monthly cooling bill.

#3. Temporary canopies and cloth shade sails add functionality at an affordable price.

Cloth awnings and shade canopies can be good, economical ways to add more shade to your home without adding a permanent fixture. These can be especially useful if you are renting your home and are not allowed to plant trees or build new permanent fixtures. 

Choose a Tightly Woven Material for Maximum Energy Savings

Choosing a durable material that lets minimal if any sunlight in is the best option as it provides the most shade and UV protection. If you affix them strategically around the windows at the east and west sides of your house that get the most direct sunlight (including sliding glass doors), shade cloths can keep living areas shady and cool much longer than if direct sunlight is allowed to pour into the room. The best part about shade cloths is their impermanence which also means that as the days cool down in the fall and winter months and you actually want more heat and light in your home, you can simply take down the shade cloth canopy and store it Away to be used again during the warmer months.

Call us at Maki, Electric, Heating and Air!

At Maki, Electric, Heating and Air Conditioning our certified professionals are ready to help you add energy savings to your home all year long. We offer services including but not limited to: 

  • Air conditioning  repair
  • Furnace tune-ups
  • Duct cleaning
  • Coil cleaning
  • HVAC system maintenance
  • Mini split system installation
  • AC replacements
  • HVAC cleaning
  • Energy saving solutions


We are the highest quality HVAC company serving the Auburn, California foothills and the Greater Sacramento Area, and we specialize in helping our clients save time, money, and energy by coming up with energy solutions together. Just give us a call at (530) 885-3449 or (916) 782-9242 and we can answer any of your questions or concerns!


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