Energy Saving Landscaping is based on understanding the direction of the sun and prevailing winds in relation to your house and using plants to reduce their impact. In other words – it is the knowledge and know-how of creating a landscape design that uses specific horticulture products and strategic thinking to lower the use of energy in a household. 

For example, well placed deciduous trees will lose their leaves in the fall and allow sunlight to warm your house in the winter. Even groundcover plants and turfgrass can reduce heat radiation and cool the air around your home in the summer.  


ESL certified landscapers are trained in using the right plants with a design that will maximize a home’s energy savings. Landscapers across North Carolina are becoming Energy Savings Landscape (ESL) Certified to help homeowners save energy and money.

Who is getting certified? 

Since the program began in August of 2011, approx. 200 landscapers have become ESL certified; receiving training on Energy Efficient Landscape Basics, Plant Selection, Design, Rain Gardens, Green Roofs, and Turf.

Why should I get certified & Why do my clients care?

NCNLA started the ESL program to help landscapers gain a valuable skill and help homeowners find cost-saving in their own backyards. Strategic landscaping may be the best long-term investment for reducing home heating and cooling costs, while also bringing environmental and other improvements to North Carolina communities.

When is the certification class offered?

The certification is offered once a year at NCNLA’s Green & Growin Education Conference & Marketplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a well-designed landscape can:

  • Protect your home from winter wind and summer sun – saving up to 25 percent of a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling;
  • Increase an air conditioning unit’s efficiency by as much as 10 percent; and
  • Add 10-15 percent to your home’s value.