There is considerable debate about the benefits of shading, although
I feel that it is helpful for a few reasons:
1) Modest energy savings which could add up considerably
2) Apperance. A nice screen or planting looks better than
than the AC unit.
Keep in mind that factories can often build something better and
less expensively than you and I can do on our own. If you decide
to add a screen, then consider doing a Google search. I found
this quickly, which shows an $80 reasonably attractive unit from
Target, on sale now for $40:
It has redwood coloring and a lattice design. The posts have
pointed ends which can be driven into the ground. The item
description is "Air Conditioner Screen - Natural", which will
help you if you have trouble with the link I provided above.
Forty dollars plus shipping. Even if you just get 1% energy savings,
you have to come out ahead on the purchase.
I live in the Houston Texas area and my house is cooled by a whole
house ac. I have an efficient unit but I think that it would run
even better if the condensor didn't sit directly under the hot sun in
the middle of the day. My thought is that I would build a structure
to give it shade. I would be interested in hearing from people who
have done this and suggestions of websites for possible designs.
Thanks, Al Kondo