How does your roof affect your energy efficiency?

Your roof and attic can have a big impact on your home’s energy efficiency. It’s also often easy to tell when there are issues, especially in winter when there’s snow – or icicles – hanging off your awnings.

In the Clean Energy Financing program, a Home Energy Advisor will assess your home and point out the areas where upgrades could make a difference. Here’s what they’re looking for when they’re inspecting your roof and attic.

How attic insulation affects energy efficiency

Because heat rises, your attic insulation plays an important role in keeping warm air inside your home. If your attic is under-insulated, or not insulated at all, a lot of the heat you’re paying to generate over the winter could be dissipating through the roof.

The signs that your attic is leaking warm air are easier to spot in winter, particularly after a snowfall. If you have icicles hanging from the edge of your roof, it’s a sign that hot air is escaping and melting the resting snow. The snow is then freezing as it falls from your roof.

If you’re able to easily access your attic, check the insulation around the hatch or entryway. If it’s visibly dirty, there may be too much airflow from your living space up into the attic.

According to our Home Energy Advisors, to keep your attic airtight you should:

  • Seal the attic floor before insulating to reduce air leakage.
  • Have an insulation level of at least R-40 (around 12 inches).
  • Weatherstrip around the attic hatch (if you have one) to help with air sealing.

What other role does your roof play in energy efficiency?

Homeowners throughout Nova Scotia are installing solar panels on their roofs to help offset the money they spend on their electricity bills. Solar can be a good investment for homes that heat mainly with electric baseboards or heat pumps. If you’re primarily heating with propane, oil or wood, you could save more by converting to electric heat first, and then adding solar panels later.

Your house might be a good fit for solar panels if:

  • The roof is south facing.
  • The roof is at the right angle for solar panels and is in good condition.
  • There’s no shading from surrounding trees and buildings.

To help you understand which areas of your home could benefit from home energy upgrades, the Clean Energy Financing process starts with a Home Energy Assessment. Your Home Energy Advisor can help you make decisions that are best for you and your home.

Clean Energy Financing is available in participating municipalities across Nova Scotia. See how you can get home energy improvements that save you money.