How can I improve my BER rating?
We have received many queries in relation to BER (Building Energy Rating), how a householder can improve the rating of their home and also the legal requirements in obtaining a BER Certificate.
What is a BER?
A Building Energy Rating (BER) is an indication of the energy performance of a home. BER is the calculated energy use in a home for space and hot water heating, ventilation and lighting based on standard occupancy. A BER is similar to the energy label on a household electrical appliance like a fridge or washing machine. The label has a scale of A to G, A rated houses are the more energy efficient and have the lowest energy bills.
Who needs a BER?
A BER is compulsory for all homes offered for sale or rent. A BER is also required before a new home is occupied for the first time. There are exemptions for certain categories of homes, for example, protected structures. If you are buying or renting a house or apartment, you are entitled to a BER so ask the seller, landlord or agent for it. Also advertisements must include BER details when a home is offered for sale or rent.
BER assessments are completed by registered BER Assessors who have been certified by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). You can find details of registered assessors in your area on www.seai.ie . The BER assessor will survey your house, issue a BER Certificate and Advisory report.
Measures to Improve a BER Rating
The advisory report, which accompanies the BER Certificate contains recommendations on how to improve the energy performance of the dwelling. The measures that would improve the BER rating would include the following options:
Insulating the hot water cylinder and pipeworkDraught stripping around doors and windowsIncreasing the level of insulation in the attic/walls/floorReplacing inefficient open fires with high efficiency Stanley StovesReplacing an old inefficient oil boiler/range with a high efficiency condensing boiler/range cookerInstalling modern heating controlsInstalling low energy lightsReplacing single glazed windows with energy efficient glazingInstalling renewable energy heating systems
The householder may consider some of the above measures either before selling or letting the property to improve marketability. Alternatively the purchaser of the property may implement some of the energy saving measures to reduce home heating bills and improve home comfort. Also householders, who have no legal requirement to obtain a BER rating, should consider the above measures to help reduce their own energy costs.