Installing insulated siding on an older home may be the best way to up its R-value.
My first encounter with insulated siding (or IS as it’s known in the trades) came while visiting the Raritan Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey that was remodeled by a pioneer in energy-efficient and innovative "green" construction, Bill Asdal. The Raritan Inn serves as a research center and a showpiece of deep-energy remodeling. In 2003, Asdal, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Research Center, pioneered the first net-zero energy remodeling project in the United States. The structure was clad with insulated siding in an effort to achieve the highest R-values possible within the limits of remodeling an 18th century structure. What I noticed was not the R-value but the aesthetic quality. The siding had a clapboard profile and it lay flat, lacking the usual telling concave cup of most vinyl siding.