If you want a literally green way of having a cool environment, this clever planting technique is worth putting on the calendar. Slash your energy bill but planting a shady and edible curtain.
Photo by rockriver.
Across Japan, the Kyocera company has been experimenting with growing huge leaning trellises for food bearing plants, positioned to share the sides and windows of their buildings. They've radically lowered their energy bills—the wall beneath a trellis is, on average, 15 degrees F cooler—and even started harvesting the fruit and vegetables from the trellises to use in the cafeteria so employees can enjoy fresh produce grown on site.
The design is extremely simple. They build a trellis, lean it against the wall like a ladder, and train the climbing plants in the pots at the base of the trellis to climb and shade the building. You could easily adept their massive trellis project to shade windows around your home. The design is even friendly for renters, a sturdy trellis won't need to be attached to the wall, just leaned in place and braced at the bottom. Check out the full page at the link below to see Kyocera's guide to adapting their project for home use.
Have a clever way to lower your energy bill or grow more food at home with less effort? Let's hear about it in the comments.