What is a windbreak?

A windbreak is a row or group of trees, shrubs, or structural elements (e.g. fences) that are used to block and direct the wind. Vegetative windbreaks are used in agriculture to prevent wind erosion or damage to field crops. For homeowners, windbreaks can be used to block harsh winter winds around housing. By planting windbreaks, homeowners can realize a savings in heating bills. The U.S. Department of Energy has more information about Landscape Windbreaks for your home.


Is there a specific type of tree that is good to plant for energy conservation?

Different types of trees can help to conserve energy in different ways. Deciduous trees (trees that lose all of their leaves each fall) save energy in summer by shading houses, paved areas, and air conditioners. Small deciduous trees and shrubs, especially those with low, dense branches, also can serve as effective wind barriers.


Large and small evergreen trees and shrubs save energy by slowing cold winds in the winter. They also provide shade, but since they often have branches …

Guide wind – Maximize summer cooling


Strategically positioning vegetation in landscapes can maximize energy benefits and save money for homeowners, commercial properties and public facilities. Vegetation can be placed within the landscape to manipulate air movement by

  • obstruction,
  • guidance,
  • deflection, and
  • filtration.

Use vegetation to obstruct or block undesirable winds by arranging dense plantings at a 90º angle to the prevailing winds. Vegetation barriers can be single or multiple rows of trees and shrubs. The air speed is affected by the density of vegetation, the distance

Urban Forests: Environmental Benefits

Environmental Benefits of Urban Trees
Shade is one of many environmental benefits trees provide.

Urban forests are made up of the trees that exist in urban or suburban landscapes. An urban forest is comprised of trees in many settings – in residential and commercial landscapes, along streets and other rights-of-way, and in parks, greenways and set-aside natural areas.  Urban forests have great environmental, economic and social value.

Urban forests can moderate the impacts of urban air pollutants.  Trees remove particulates, sulfur dioxide, ozone and other

Which home appliances give off the most energy by way of waste heat, and how much do they contribute to my house being so hot in summer? What can I do about it? How do I know which appliances are more efficient and give off less heat?

A number of home appliances give off a significant amount of waste heat and when running, can increase the temperature in your home. As the temperature increases, it may be necessary to run the air conditioner longer in order to compensate for the increased heat and keep the home’s occupants comfortable. This in turn increases your overall energy costs. Appliances that give off heat when running include lighting (specifically incandescent and halogen lighting), televisions, dishwashers, stoves, and refrigerators.
In order …

Home Energy: Useful tools on the web

Many websites provide tools and information to help home owners, building managers and designers with energy efficiency.  Below is a listing of tools taken from links from Energy Program at FedCenter.gov  that relate to  energy conservation, alternative energy sources and energy management.

Energy Star Home Advisor:  This tool provides consumers with customized recommendations for improving energy efficiency and comfort at home.

FEMP Energy and Cost Savings Calculators: for Energy-Efficient Products:  These calculators allow users to enter their own input …

Urban Forestry Video Series New Release!

Video Promotion

Trees provide more than just beauty or a source of wood products. Rather, trees provide an assortment of economic, environmental, psychological and social benefits to humans. Energy savings are one such highly valued benefit or service urban trees provide. Did you know that just 17% shade on a building from trees for example can reduce power bills by $10/ month or that urban trees can lower surrounding temperatures by as much as 20° F?  Alternatively, trees can reduce winter heating …

Connie Neal, University of Missouri Extension

Connie was born in Missouri and raised on a farm in Iowa. She has lived in Missouri for the past 40 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Family and Consumer Science Education with an emphasis in interior design and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City.  She taught at both the high school and college level mostly in the area of housing.  While teaching at the high school level, she combined

Milton Geiger, University of Wyoming Extension

Milton currently serves as the energy extension coordinator for the University of Wyoming Extension and School of Energy Resources. In this role, he works with renewable energy (large and small-scale), energy efficiency, conservation, and the community impacts of fossil fuel development.  Before joining UW Extension, Milton worked for USDA Rural Development-Wyoming, serving as the rural energy coordinator, where he administered the Rural Energy for the America Program (REAP). 

Milton is a graduate of Colgate University (B.A. Environmental Economics) and the …

Keep the Happy in Your Winter Holidays: Stay Warm and Safe

Wintery home.

Most of us look forward to the fall and winter holidays as times for celebrating, feasting, homecoming, and gathering, connecting with our deepest spiritual roots, saying goodbye to the old year and ringing in the new.

Yet the record shows a season of Menorahs and other celebratory candles igniting the drapes, Butterballs flaming up from their fryers, improperly installed woodstoves and combusting Christmas trees destroying homes.

We’re dizzy with busyness, easily distracted, preoccupied with changes to our normal routines and …