What is a BER?A Building Energy Rating is a label, not unlike the efficiency rating given to white goods such as fridges, freezers, and washing machines. The label indicates the energy rating of a property. The rating is expressed in the form of performance bands, 'A' being the most energy efficient to 'G' being the least energy efficient. It will tell you how efficient your house or development is in terms of energy efficiency while also illustrating how much carbon the dwelling will contribute.
What does a BER Certificate look like?
Click on the image above to see the full certificate
How is a BER calculated?A BER is based on the characteristics of major components of the building envelope of the dwelling (wall, roof and floor dimensions, window and door sizes and orientations) as well as the construction type and levels of insulation, ventilation and air tightness features, the systems for heat supply (including renewable energy), distribution and control, and the type of lighting. It covers annual energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation, lighting and associated pumps and fans, calculated on the basis of a notional standard family with a standard pattern of
The energy performance is expressed as:
primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2/yr) represented on an A to G scale (see BER certificate);
and associated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in kgCO2/m2/yr (see BER Certificate).
A BER is only an indication of the energy performance of a house / apartment. Therefore actual energy usage will depend on how the occupants operate the property. In that way it is similar to the concepts of a fuel economy - miles per gallon rating - for a car.
A BER does not cover electricity used for purposes other than heating, lighting, pumps and fans, i.e. does not include for cooking, refrigeration, laundry, etc.
Comparing Energy Ratings of PropertiesThe BER of a property gives an indication as to the energy performance of the property. So if you are trying to decide between two similar property types, both in terms of price and size, the energy rating may be the decisive factor.
For example if one property has a rating of a B3 while another had a rating of a C3, it follows logically that the B3 will be cheaper to run and therefore may well influence the final decision.
The rating effectively means that now there is another tool to aid the prospective purchaser/tenant in their decision making process, rather than simply relying on the cost or rental price. This clearly provides benefits to the consumer
Assessing your propertyThe process of Energy Rating your dwelling or development will be as follows:
- Assessment of house or house drawings by a one of our qualified assessors
- Issue of a Building Energy Rating Certificate
- Issue of advisory report
When is an Energy Rating legally required?Since the 1st of January 2007, all new homes for which planning permission has been applied for must have a rating. Transitional exemptions will apply to new dwellings for which planning permission is applied on or before 31st December 2006, where the new dwellings involved are substantially completed on or before 30th June 2008.
Since the 1st of July 2008 Building Energy Rating's have been required for new non-domestic buildings offered for sale or rent. Transitional exemptions will apply to new non-domestic buildings for which planning permission is applied on or before 30th June 2008 provided the new non-domestic buildings involved are substantially completed by 30th June 2010.
Since the 1st of January 2009 ratings are required for any existing buildings offered for sale or letting.
What are the legal implications for non compliance?
There is a maximum fine of up to €5,000 for not getting a Building Energy Rating when required.
How can I improve my Energy Rating?The Building Energy Rating Certificate comes with an accompanying advisory report. This report outlines recommendations as to what you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home. You may then choose to implement some or all of the changes outlined. Recommendations may include:
- Increasing the insulation in the walls / attic / floors
- Installing advanced energy efficient windows / doors
- Measures to achieve a controlled, healthy ventilation
- Replace an old or inefficient boiler with a more efficient boiler
- Installing modern heating controls
- Installing certain types of renewable energy heating systems
- Insulating the hot water cylinder and pipe work
The advisory report is a key document for all home buyers.
It is particularly useful to those who have just purchased an existing dwelling which they plan to improve or remodel in their early stages of occupancy. This report will outline to you how you can gain the full benefit of energy usage in your home. It will help save you money from the
moment you move in.
These improvements may help:
- Improve the BER of your home
- Increase the value of your property
- Reduce the home heating bills
- Improve home comfort
Is a BER Rating required for a property for sale from plans?A Provisional Building Energy Rating is required if you are selling any dwelling from plans. The Provisional BER label must be provided to the potential buyer of the property. This label is based on pre-construction plans. When the home is completed, a BER based on an assessment of the final drawings and building specifications, which represent the house/apartment as constructed, is required. This label lasts for two years from the date of issue.
How do I find out more information?Call BERI on 051 355000 and one of our team of highly qualified Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) registered assessors will be more than happy to answer any query you may have. We're wating for your call.
Tips on what to do to improve your BER before your assessor arrives:
- Install energy saving or CFL Bulbs
- Switch to controllable wall vents
- Fit Thermostatic Regulator Valves (TRVs) on your radiators
- Upgrade draught stripping on doors and windows if required
- Insulate primary pipe work
- Insulate hot water cylinder (lagging jacket)
- Keep receipts/certificates of improvements made
Can I get an Energy assessment done on my home even if I don't need it by law?Yes you may get a BER assessment done for your dwelling to ascertain the energy rating it would achieve.
It will provide you with some useful information that could in turn be used to save energy consumption of your house resulting in lower energy bills.
You should know...A BER is valid for 10 years provided that there is no material change to the dwelling that could affect its energy performance. The maximum term of validity of a Provisional BER is two years.
How much does this cost?Typically BER Services will charge between €280 and €495 for a BER including VAT. Cost may vary depending on whether the building is new or existing, and according to building size and complexity.
Developers who may have a number of domestic / residential units which require BER assessment should contact us for a competitive quote.
BERI are National Registered assessors, providing independent advice on all your energy needs.
For more information regarding a BER please feel free to contact us.
BERI Ireland will advise you on the factors that most influence your Building Energy Rating and assist you in achieving your target BER.
Factors that contribute to energy efficiency:
You should know...EU Member States shall ensure that,when buildings are constructed, soldor rented out, an energy performance certificate is made available to the owner or by the owner to the prospective buyer or tenant, as the case might be. The validity of the certificate shall not exceed 10 years.
- Materials used for construction of the dwelling.
- Thermal insulation of the building fabric
- Ventilation characteristics of the dwelling
- Efficiency and control of the heating system
- Solar gains through openings
- Energy required for space and water heating, ventilation and lighting
- Renewable energy technologies
Renewable Energy Tips - Renewable Resources:
- Combining solar collectors with a wood burning stove provides an ideal year-round renewable energy heating solution. A solar collector system can provide around 60% of your annual hot water needs for free (80 to 90% in summer).
- Simple Passive Solar Design techniques can make a big difference to energy consumption in the home.
- Just by facing a house south to capture the maximum daylight energy bills can be reduced by 30%.
- Transmission of light through windows (passive solar heating) can reduce heating costs - could you allow for passive solar heating in the design of a new home? What about integrating a solar water heating system onto a south facing roof?
- Adding an unheated conservatory or sunspace to the south face of your house increases passive solar gains and provides an insulating effect.
- Space and water heating account for over 70% of energy used in the home, so switching to clean renewable energy (e.g. wood fuel, solar energy or heat pump systems) makes a big reduction in the environmental impact of your home.
- Wood is a renewable fuel you can use without producing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuels. Instead of coal or peat, throw on a log onto a fire. Whereas peat and coal take hundreds of thousands of years to form, wood is a renewable fuel that grows in just 3-70 years.
- Using renewable sources of energy like wood and solar energy to heat our homes reduces our reliance on polluting, imported fossil fuels like oil and coal.
- If you recycle glass and paper, you save on a great deal of energy, raw materials and pollution
Alternative Heating Systems:Ground source heat pumps, which collect solar energy stored in the ground, are ideally suited to the Irish climate and can provide year round space and water heating for the fraction of the costs of a conventional system.
A modern wood burning stove can achieve efficiencies of up to 80% compared to only 20-30% for a traditional open fire.
More InformationPlease contact us to get your Building Energy Rating Certificate.
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