Energy Efficient Siding Options by Placer Exteriors

California homeowners today are concerned about energy efficiency in their homes for a couple of reasons. First, with the high cost of energy in our state, keeping utility bills under control requires using energy-efficient materials. Secondly, many are also looking for eco-friendly products that reduce their home’s impact on the environment.

Which type of siding does the most to make your home energy efficient? We'll answer that question in a moment.

Here’s a look at your options when it comes to energy efficiency and home siding.

Efficiency Levels of the Most Common Types of Home Siding

The energy efficiency for building materials is known as R-value. The higher the R-value, the more efficient the building material is. Most energy experts suggest that your home’s walls should have at least an R-13 energy efficiency. In fact, that is code in many areas. An R-15 or R-18 can be achieved by using 2×6 construction instead of 2×4 construction.

Most siding materials have an R-value of less than 1! That includes standard vinyl, steel or aluminum siding. Here’s a brief list of siding materials and their R-values:

  • Wood shingles: 0.87
  • Beveled wood siding: 0.81
  • Standard aluminum, steel or vinyl siding: 0.61
  • Brick or Stone: 0.44
  • 2-inch stucco: 0.4
  • Fiber cement: 0.37
  • 1-inch brick or stone veneer: 0.11

What About Energy Efficient Siding?

Most exterior walls have insulation in between the wall studs, but allow significant energy loss through the studs themselves. Wall studs, both wood and metal, are poor insulators — when they come in contact with the exterior cladding, they allow heat to pass through them (which is called a thermal bridge).

Insulated siding is vinyl siding with rigid foam insulation laminated or permanently attached to the panel. It fights thermal bridging by blanketing a home's exterior to reduce energy loss through the studs. The green solution creates a thermal mass and increases the overall R-value of the wall. In energy codes and energy efficiency programs, such as LEED v4, insulated siding is recognized as a form of continuous insulation.

So, How Does Insulated Siding Affect the R-Value?

When you choose one of these siding products backed with quality foam insulation, you will increase the R-value of the siding to 3.0-4.0. This includes vinyl, steel, and even aluminum siding. That’s a remarkable improvement, and that will make a tangible difference in how much energy is saved in your home.