Take a Whole-Home Approach to Energy Efficiency this Spring

Steps can be taken both inside—and outside—to maximize energy savings. 

Consider starting with a home energy assessment—done either by a professional or online. A home energy assessment takes a whole-home approach to identifying areas for improvement and recommended fixes. 


How to get started 

FOCUS ON ENERGY®, our partner in energy efficiency, can help you find a qualified trade ally contractor/assessor to perform the assessment, which will help identify and prioritize projects. Discuss your needs with a few contractors to understand scope and cost. An assessment may be a necessary step to take advantage of some state or federal incentives. Visit focusonenergy.com to get started. 


DIY online assessment 

Focus on Energy also offers an online assessment option. Better understand your home’s energy use in as little as ten minutes! Find energy-saving opportunities and rebates through this free online tool


Plant strategically 

Planting smart also can help you save energy—up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. 
It’s key to plant the proper tree or shrub in the proper place. Consider what’s above and below your desired planting location, as well as the mature height and spread of a plant. Use these general planting tips: 

  • Plant large, leafy trees on the east and west sides of your home to provide maximum summertime shade and lower the surrounding air temperature. They should be planted at least 20 feet from the side of your home. A six-foot-tall tree planted near your house will shade windows in the first year. That same tree will shade the roof in 5 to 10 years. 
  • Trees with lower leaves and branches work well on the west side of your home to offer shade from lower sun angles in the afternoon.   
  • Position trees and shrubs to shade air-conditioning units. Equipment that operates in the shade will use less electricity, but be sure not to block the airflow.   
  • Plant bushes next to your house to create air space that will provide insulation year-round.   


Keep safety in mind 

Be sure to contact Diggers Hotline at least three days before doing any digging in your yard. MGE and other participating utilities will mark the location of underground facilities on your property. This free service will help you stay safe and avoid costly fines. 
It’s also important to plant trees away from overhead power lines. Trees that grow too close to power lines can cause outages. Find MGE’s list of the 10 best trees to plant near power lines at mge.com/landscaping


MGE’s energy experts are available to answer your energy efficiency questions from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at (608) 252-7117, or you can send them an email at askexperts@mge.com

published: Feb-28-2024