Improving the energy efficiency of your home can take on many different forms, like installing vinyl replacement windows, adding more insulation to your attic, replacing your exterior doors, or getting a programmable thermostat, just to name a few. Since the siding on your home can last for several decades, especially if properly maintained, it’s generally not high on the list of projects homeowners consider if they’re looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient. But if it’s time to replace your home’s siding, are there energy efficient siding options available?
Cracked or damaged siding not only leaves your home more susceptible to weather damage, it also creates an opportunity for drafts to form. But believe it or not, although the siding on your home helps protect you from the elements, many of the most popular types of siding have a fairly low R-value, which means they don’t offer the highest insulation value by themselves. Instead, most of the insulation value in your home’s walls comes from the insulation in your walls and any extra insulation underneath the siding. However, some types of siding are more energy efficient than others. For example, wood shingles have an R-value of 0.87 and aluminum or vinyl siding has an R-value of 0.61, but fiber cement siding only offers a 0.37 R-value.
While many of the most common types of home siding aren’t particularly good insulators, there are also insulated siding options available which are much better. Insulated vinyl, aluminum, or steel siding comes with a layer of rigid foam insulation attached to it and typically has an R-value of 3 or 4, so it is indeed a much better insulator than regular aluminum or vinyl siding.
Regardless of which type of siding you choose for your home, another way to make the exterior of your home more energy efficient is by having a house wrap installed underneath the siding. Since a house wrap offers another barrier between your home and the elements, it can help improve the energy efficiency of your walls by an R-value of 2.