President Obama says it's "sexy." A Cincinnati company that once sold basement finishing systems now sells this product instead. "I love it," says Bill Conforti, owner of Siding 1/Windows 1, in Chicago.

Hiding in Plain Sight

"It," is blown-in insulation. While more glamorous products such as solar panels and wind turbines may get greater attention and more tax credit dollars, the average American home could be made more efficient by the judicious application of insulation.

According to USA Insulation, a franchise group, 65% of U.S. homes don't meet minimal insulation standards, and just 20% of homes built before 1980 are fully insulated. Jeff Head, owner of Head Construction, in Evansville, Ind., added blown insulation to his product offering about a year ago. At the beginning of last summer Head blew some insulation into his own attic. And in December, when a heavy snow hit the area, his roof remained snow-covered ? a sure sign of a well-insulated attic where heat is not escaping through the roof ? while the snow on his neighbor's house quickly melted.

A Natural

Ken Moeslein, CEO of Legacy Remodeling, in Pittsburgh, says that he studied the product before taking it on. "We didn't just jump into it." But insulation, he points out, is "a natural" for companies that install roofing because insulating the attic allows them to sell "a complete roofing system" rather than just a re-roof.

And the retail price ? $2,500 to $3,500 ? makes it an affordable add-on, as well as a job that cash-strapped homeowners can buy with check or credit card. Conforti says that he sometimes offers homeowners a 50% discount on an insulation job if they buy a roof.

Conforti's installers received a DVD and some training from Owens Corning ? "not a lot, but you don't need a lot," he says ? and they were off and running. "We're not going to do the type of volume that we do on siding and windows," Conforti says. "But if you do a hundred jobs at $2,500, that's $250,000."

Brian Hogg founded The Insulation Company, in Cincinnati, when basement finishing jobs grew fewer due to tough credit. Attic insulation is "nice, easy, simple" to sell, he says. Still, "you have to get the leads and have people in there to close."