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In my ongoing mission to conserve energy (and thereby lower my electricity bill), I'm always looking for ways to tweak my energy efficiency. Some of these cost money initially, but my favorites are the ones that are almost free. Check this one out.

My garage/wood shop is of the attached-to-the-house variety as I described in the recent walk-in-pantry article. Because of the way the house is located, the exterior brick wall gets a lot of afternoon sun, which is quite fierce in the summer. The bricks absorb the heat and relay it into the garage. And of course, it used to make the AC work very hard to cool the kitchen area.

My solution? I attached some lattice to the brick and planted some English ivy in a 10" terracotta pot at the base of it. It really likes the lattice and had not issues with climbing up it. It's also starting to spread to the non-lattice area by setting its creepers into the mortar. I did this about three years ago; it's not an instant fix. But once it takes off, it acts as a natural insulator and really looks great!


  • Kitt

    Yikes. Ivy is not a good thing to grow on your home. The little tendrils will ruin the mortar that is holding the bricks together, allowing moisture and possibly insects to get in. If it gets up to your roof it can get under the flashing and shingles and cause leaks. I've even heard of it getting into walls and destroying wiring. What you save in A/C bills will disappear when your roof starts leaking,

  • Derek L

    What Kitt said - ivy can do serious damage to a house over time. Your savings on your electric bills today will be wiped out by your home repair bills in a decade.

    You're much better off to put some form of insulation inside and to look into painting the brick.

  • Heather

    Ahh...not ivy!
    It looks pretty for a bit, but it makes a HUGE mess. If you don't stay on top of it (and it grows FAST), it sends out tendrils that tear up everything around them (driveway, bricks and mortar, etc...).
    Want to see the ivy scars on our siding? Not pretty.

  • AndrewinKy

    What they said. Ivy will ruin your brick, get up under the soffet, and get inside your roof. It will slowly destroy your house. I'd rmove it ASAP.

  • michaelb1

    Can anyone show me links that say ivy destroys bricks? I've been doing research to add English Ivy or Virginia Creeper to the south side of my house.
    I have read that it is harmful only to wood, like fences. The suckers that it attaches secrete some sort of carbonate form of concrete that binds it to the brick. It does not suck out the moisture of the brick.

    Also i don't think bricks have moisture in them. If they did they would freeze and crack during the first freeze of winter.

    I'm sure it would destroy a roof allowed to climb that high. I don't think the plants would seek out the shade underneath a shingle but you don't want to take the chance.

  • 5 Comments / 1 Pages

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