I don't think my client was planning on an energy retrofit when he first talked to me about repairing and repainting the shingle siding on his 120-year-old Massachusetts home. But after crunching some numbers, we decided that re-siding the house with factory-painted fiber-cement siding would be more cost-effective than replacing, prepping, and repainting the severely weathered cedar shingles.

That's when we began to talk about improving the home's energy performance, too. I suggested that we add rigid foam underneath the siding to help eliminate drafts and reduce noise from a nearby highway. To seal the deal, I guaranteed that the new foam would pay for itself in just a few years by lowering his heating bills.

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