Can your lawn help you keep cool this summer? To find out, try a little experiment. After the sun goes down, put your hand on your driveway or a sidewalk and feel how warm it is. Then, to compare, put your hand on your lawn. It will be a lot cooler. While you think your lawn just sits there looking pretty, in reality, it's a powerful cooling engine.
Grass helps block about 50% of the sun's rays from reaching the ground, keeping it much cooler than pavement. The air above your lawn can be as much as 30 degrees cooler than it is above your driveway. Add some landscaping around your house, and your yard can help you save a whopping 50% on your air conditioning bills.
If you ever watch the weather report on TV, you might notice that temperatures in town are usually higher than they are in outlying areas. Cities have more pavement, so they bake, creating what's called the Urban Heat Island Effect. This effect costs cities about $ 1 million an hour in extra cooling costs during the summer. Putting more lawns and landscaping in town could help everybody save money and feel more comfortable.
Next time you wipe your brow when you're mowing your lawn, remember how much it's really cooling you off.