Use potted trees to create natural insulation and shade for your home. Plants can help to regulate indoor and outdoor temperatures and humidity levels. They also provide health benefits!
How it works
- Transpiration: Plants and trees have a cooling effect through a process known as transpiration. When they photosynthesise, plants draw water from the soil to the leaves, causing the plants to “sweat”. Some of this moisture is released into the air, which can have an evaporative cooling effect (read more about transpiration in this NASA article from 2018).
- Dehumidify: Rather than increasing humidity levels, plants can also absorb water from the air through transpiration, acting as a natural dehumidifier.
- Reduce heat: Putting plants and trees near windows can also block sunlight, providing shade and reducing indoor heat and glare.
- Natural Shade: Trees can provide cooling shade, reducing indoor temperatures.
- Control Humidity: Plants can help balance indoor humidity through transpiration.
Environmental: planting trees can help to reduce your household emissions and improve air quality
- Water: some plants may be water-intensive and will need to be watered regularly
Maintenance: Plants and trees will require ongoing maintenance unlike some of the other recipes which you can simply set and forget about.
- Research Your Climate: Different parts of Australia have distinct climates, so start by understanding your local conditions. See our buying guide for tips.
- Check Local Listings: Look for free or low-cost plants on places like Facebook Marketplace or ‘buy nothing’ Facebook groups.
- Purchase Pots and Soil: Make sure to get pots with good drainage and appropriate soil for your selected trees.
- Place Plants: Set potted trees by windows, both inside and outside, to maximise their cooling and humidity-controlling effects.
- Maintain: Water and fertilise as necessary, and consider seasonal pruning to keep the trees healthy and effective.
- Pick the right plants for your climate: Native plants will usually be better suited for thermal regulation and will require less maintenance.
- Opt for self-watering pots or install a drip irrigation system if you're concerned about consistent watering, especially during hot spells.
Below are some suggested resources to help you find the right plants to regulate temperature and humidity levels around your home. Be sure to research plants suited to your local climate. Opt for native plants where possible for optimal efficiency and impact.