By Jenna Schuster HomeAdvisor
Don’t let visions of clunky solar panels and backbreaking work make you shy away from sustainable living.
Recent innovations make it easier than ever to live a green lifestyle without sacrificing style. Check out some of the new, beautiful and trendy ways you can create an environmentally friendly home.
Reduce your carbon footprint with green walls
Also known as “living walls,” green walls are trending due to their numerous health benefits and interior functionality.
Basically, these walls are vertical indoor gardens covered with living greenery. Green walls filter harmful toxins from the air and produce oxygen. They help cool the air in the summer, keep it warm during the winter, aid with noise reduction and even help with fire-proofing.
Though a green wall does require more maintenance than a regular one, it isn’t much more trouble than looking after a potted plant. After the initial cost to install, a living wall pays for itself in style and function.
Lower greenhouse gas emissions with a green roof
Green roofs are similar to green walls but offer even more benefits to your home. Let a professional install a protective layer and some low-lying greenery on a flat portion of your roof and reap the rewards.
Green roofs come with all of the perks that green walls offer, and they act as a great insulator for your home. They can reduce cooling costs by up to 75 percent.
Plus, a green roof is easier to care for than a green wall. Since it is located outside, the roof gets most of its nutrients from the rain and sun.
You will need to inspect the roof annually to check for leaks, but it is otherwise low-maintenance.
Save the honeybees with urban beekeeping
Does your yard need a face-lift? Become an urban beekeeper and give endangered honeybees a home. This cheap hobby is a great conversation starter and an easy way to enhance your greenery.
All you have to do is purchase the necessary equipment — a beekeeping suit, beehive and harvesting materials — and the bees will do the rest. If you’re worried about the visual appeal, try painting the hive a neutral color so it blends in.
Or, better yet, take the opportunity to decorate it with floral designs. More bees mean more pollination, so expect your yard to thank you for your efforts with larger vegetables and more plentiful flowers.
The best part? Free honey.
Embrace renewable energy with solar shingles
Many people love the idea of solar power but shy away from the idea of unattractive solar panels cluttering the roof. Thankfully, recent innovation has led to the creation of solar shingles.
Solar shingles come in the form of tiles and can either fit over your existing roof, or act as the roof itself depending on the brand. Either way, they’re a simple, attractive and seamless way to get solar energy into your home.
Be warned: The upfront cost for these roof tiles is formidable.
However, they are known to be as durable as or stronger than regular shingles, and they’ll save you a ton of money on electric bills.