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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 11, Issue 6 — June 1985

Can Windbreaks Reduce Energy use in a Mobile Home Park?    (View PDF)

Marie-Francoise Walk, David R. DeWalle and Gordon M. Heisler

Abstract: Effects of a coniferous windbreak on electrical energy use in a 66-unit mobile home park in central Pennsylvania were studied during the winters of 1981-82 and 1982-83. A 100-m long, single-row windbreak of white spruce (Picea glaucaj trees with an average height of 6 m was artifically erected on the upwind edge of the park in 1981-82. During the winter of 1982-83 no windbreak was present. Wind speeds in the mobile home park were reduced by the windbreak by 9% at 3H downwind from the windbreak (H = windbreak height), by 8% at 13H downwind, and 0% at30H downwind. Using equations relating electrical energy use to climatic variables, the energy use of 13 homes was found to be similar between the 2 winters, 8 homes displayed a significantly lower energy use with the windbreak in place, and 20 homes showed a higher energy use with the windbreak in place. Differences in energy use between winters were not attributable to the windbreak; rather, they were due to changes in behavior of the occupants. If the windbreak had reduced wind speed by 50% rather than 0-9% and other factors were constant, total winter electrical energy use would have been reduced by an estimated 6.6%.


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