3 Types of Living Exteriors That Can Reduce Homeowner Costs

by Jacqui Zuzgo 11/21/2021

Many of us have heard of a living or green wall. They’re excellent choices for reducing bills, counterbalancing emissions from basic home living and adding a beautiful touch of nature to your home’s exterior. But what are some of their other perks? Are there other external living features that can be applied to a home to further reduce your monthly utility bills?

Here are three external living features that will do just that, starting with the living wall.

Living Wall

Living walls are walls that have some sort of greenery attached to them. A common variety includes vines or ivy being gently guided along the siding of the home with a green facade or vertical trellis. Others include having the plant directly embedded into the structure of the siding or exterior panel.

Living walls are excellent at reducing noise from neighboring homes, other residents within the community or general life sounds. Other facets of living walls include temperature equalizing, which reduces the strain on your heating and cooling system. Since it isn’t working as often or as hard, living walls can also help you reduce your utility bills.

They’re also marvels at reducing fade damage from the sun or eventual erosion from rain, since the plants living on them require both to stay nourished.

Living Roof

Like living walls, living roofs are great for maintaining your roof. The plants keep the sun and harsh rain from damaging the exterior shingles or layering. However, living roofs offer another benefit: insulation. Living roofs help insulate the uppermost area of the home, the area that holds most of the heat during the warmer months. If you have central air, your system may work twice as hard with a conventional roof, even with proper attic insulation, than with a living one.

When working with proper upcycled or eco-friendly, insulating material, living roofs offer an outer layer or barrier of insulation. The outer insulation helps the inner insulation in the home keep up with the demands of the surrounding environment and further reduces the strain on in-home systems.

Living Floors (Grass Alternatives)

Living floors are typically alternatives to grass. Some grass species are invasive, while others can do tremendous amounts of harm to the soil, especially if not cared for. Living floors, like clovers or moss, may not provide the same type of savings, but they will do wonders for your lawn maintenance needs. For example, clovers and moss do not need excessive mowing and can be grown relatively easily with few resources, which will lower your water bill and the bill for new equipment like mowers or extensive weed whackers.

Living exterior features can improve your home’s value if your target demographic is among the emerging, eco-friendly group. With more homeowners looking for ways to save money while staying green, there’s no wonder why so many of these living exterior features are showing up on the market for a wide-range of homeowners with a wide range of budgets.

About the Author

Jacqui Zuzgo

I have been a REALTOR® in Massachusetts since 1984 and hold both a salesman and broker license. I am currently affiliated with Five College REALTORS® located at 190 University Drive, Amherst, MA. Over my career, I have consistently been a Top Producer in the Pioneer Valley and have gained a reputation for being a strong-minded, no-nonsense negotiator in the industry. I also frequently rank highly on Boston’s Top 20 for sales in Western Massachusetts. Some of my best qualities include my listening and communication skills. I have time and again proven to work well under pressure with exceptional attention to detail. My commitment to my clients and professionalism is obvious in every transaction.

Representing both buyers and sellers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties, as well as assisting in relocations throughout the United States and globally has helped me embrace the need for quality performance and develop an acute and sincere sensitivity to people's needs. Honing in on what matters most is almost a sixth sense. Communication and awareness of the situation at hand produce a final result that has undoubtedly led to the large referral business I maintain.

Education has been a theme throughout my 30 years of experience. Well versed in technology and holding key designations have proven to be assets to my performance and dedication to the Real Estate field. My never-ending enthusiasm, availability, knowledge and drive make for a seamless transaction every client, every time.

I am a native of the Pioneer Valley. I am committed to sharing all the area has to offer in making your transition, whether long distance or short, a satisfying experience.


  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Bachelor of Science 1983
  • Top Individual Seller for Residential Sales in the Pioneer Valley since 2006.
  • #1#1 Realtor in the entire Franklin/Hampshire Counties for Millions Sold since 1999.
  • Highest producer in sales since 2004 in Franklin/Hampshire Counties.
  • ABR®– Accredited Buyer's Representative
  • CRS – Certified Residential Specialist (only 3% of REALTORS® hold a CRS)
  • e-PRO – Digital Marketing, Certified e-PRO Realtor®
  • GRI – Graduate, Realtors® Institute
  • SRES– Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

Biographical Highlights:

Life long, active member of the community, born & raised in the Pioneer Valley. Graduate of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, BS 1983.

Current Committee Involvement:

Member of the local Chamber of Commerce - Post Board of Director's member Volunteer for the Road to Recovery.

Greenfield Community College Foundation Board Member 

Greenfield Savings Bank Corporator

MLS Professional Standards Committee Member

Have a question for Jacqui? Jacqui's email: [email protected]