Here's a thought: cover a house with the same material that trees use to flourish in the elements. And get that material (bark) from a source that would otherwise burn it or discard it. This is the real deal: salvaged bark from timber mills, processed only with a kiln, that keeps a home well-insulated.
It makes perfect sense to us, putting a tree's natural protective layer around one's house, and it's made sense for a long time. In fact, poplar bark houses are making a comeback (apparently they were all the rage, like, a century ago).
The cost may seem prohibitive, at twice what cedar siding shingles can run, but take this into consideration: bark doesn't need repainting (ever), and can last as long as 75 years with minimal maintenance. What you pay upfront makes up for itself in maintenance costs. Plus, there are many added pluses when you factor in the minimal environmental impact.
(Image: Nan Chase for the Christian Science Monitor)