The Structural Insulated Panel Association will join the NAHB Research Center and a team of remodeling contractors to research cost-effective solutions for residential energy efficiency improvements in New York State. The NAHB Research Center was selected to receive a $300,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Deep Energy Retrofit Program to improve the energy efficiency of three existing homes using retrofit insulated panels.

Retrofit insulated panels, also referred to as “nailbase,” consist of rigid insulating foam laminated to oriented strand board sheathing. The panels are attached over the wall or roof sheathing of an existing home, adding continuous insulation and a complete air barrier without disturbing the interior. Increased insulation and proper air sealing can significantly cut energy costs for New York homeowners, who pay on average $995 per year just to heat their homes.

“Bringing innovative technologies such as retrofit insulated panels to the housing industry ultimately improves the quality and affordability of homes and home building products,” said Mike Luzier, president of the NAHB Research Center. “This project will look at a wide array of issues that will provide information and guidance that could accelerate use of this technology.”

Adding insulation on the exterior of existing homes has been shown to be effective in reducing energy use, but can prove complicated when it comes to installing siding, flashing, and windows. Retrofit insulated panels provide a solid OSB nailing surface that is ready to accept a weather resistant barrier, window trim, and virtually any type of siding.

“Retrofit insulated panels present a great opportunity for homeowners to cut their utility bills and add value to their home,” said SIPA’s Executive Director Bill Wachtler. “And for remodeling contractors, the solid nailing surface greatly simplifies both the installation and detailing of continuous exterior insulation.”

Along with installing retrofit panels on the three homes, the NAHB Research Center will apply construction details for attaching retrofit insulated panels over a variety of architectural features. Researchers will also present best practices for moisture protection, sealing, and flashing to facilitate the adoption of the technology by New York State remodeling contractors.

Each project will be field tested before and after to determine the amount of energy saved by insulating the home. This will be paired with real-world construction costs to demonstrate the return on investment for homeowners considering retrofit insulated panels.

Materials for the project will be provided by SIPA members Timberline Panel Co. of Cambridge, N.Y., and Thermal Foams of Buffalo, N.Y. Retrofit insulated panels are available from a number of structural insulated panel manufacturers across North America. For a complete list of suppliers,