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Feb. 11, 2010 Volume 31, No. 19

Windbreaks save winter fuel

Most people think of home windbreaks as a summer energy saver, but they can reduce winter fuel consumption by 10 percent to 25 percent, says Chris Starbuck, an MU plant science professor. “Windbreaks can reduce wind velocities and deflect wind away from buildings,” he says.

Plants reduce heat losses from the home by creating dead air space along walls. The most effective windbreaks can reduce wind velocity as much as 50 percent. A foundation planting of evergreens reduces movement close to the house, creating a layer of still air.

Since prevailing winter winds in Missouri are from the north and northwest, plant your protective windbreaks to the north and northwest of your home, Starbuck says.