How to save energy while heating and cooling your home with the help of the sun and greenery!
The truth is that as much as half the energy used in homes and in commercial buildings goes into heating and cooling says Joanna Yarrow in her book How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 365 Practical Ways to Make a Real Difference.
She reminds us that shading can reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 11 deg. C. minimizing the need for mechanical cooling. Train your favourite vines up trellises on the hottest side of the house. In India and other countries with hotter climates, the bougainvillea is a favourite choice as it thickly covers house walls, trellises, garden walls, gates, roof tops, terraces etc. They give a gorgeous color to the home and cool it as well.
In London and other parts of the UK we find houses covered with the adorable ivy in its various colours, or with the purple wisteria, often with honeysuckle, even roses, the scented jasmine and some very inventive house owners have also used the Passion Flower to dress up their homes with!
You can plant trees to provide summer shade and block winter’s icy cold. You can fit awnings or movable roof overhangs to block out home summer heat but lure it in during winter.
Remember that dark-coloured exteriors absorb 70 per cent to 90 per cent of the radiant solar energy striking a building! Buildings facing within 30 deg. Of due south still get 90 per cent of the sun’s gifts.