Monday, April 27, 2009

--"Literally Green Facades"

This article discusses how creeping vines are used to clad building facades and decrease solar heat gain. This is yet another inexpensive way to work in harmony with the environment of a home in order to reduce dependency on expensive, inefficient heating and cooling devices.

Imagine a Southern home that is covered in Morning Glory, Moonflowers, Wysteria, or Ivy. During the summer, the plants shade the walls and act like an exterior layer of insulation. A trellis keeps the plant from deteriorating the wall material, while also allowing a pocket of air to circulate, benefitting both the plant and the home. When winter arrives, the plant dies, is cut back (and composted in order to benefit the next season's growth!) and now the sun's rays can directly heat the home and warm the interior spaces.

I'll take this chance to note that, despite colder-than-average temperatures, I never once had my heat pump turned on until after sunset this winter. I just opened the curtains on the southern exposure to my house, and the sun did all the heating for me!

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