According to research by the Department of Energy shade trees can reduce the need for air conditioning by 7% to 40%. If you have a garden, plant a tree. It can decrease the energy you need to cool your space but also provide a place to hang a tire swing, not to mention the offsets.
If you don’t have a garden plant vines in a window box. They grow nicely over security bars. This way you can disguise the ugliness and give yourself beautiful flowers as well!