What does Building Energy Rating (BER) actually mean?

If you are considering buying, selling or even building, you've probably come across the term BER’s. We've had a good few people ask us what this means, so thought we'd write an article all about it.

BER is a survey to provide an advisory report and certificate that indicates a buildings energy performance. It uses a scale of A to G, with A rated homes been the most efficient.

The outcome of this report then allows a house purchaser or tenant to examine the house from an energy performance perspective. It will also identify improvements, that if implemented would give better comfort levels and reduced energy costs. Providing no changes are made to a building, a BER can actually be valid for 10 years.

When constructing a dwelling, this can be a bit different and a provisional BER is developed, This specifies proposed materials to include to achieve energy performance in terms of insulation, air-tightness, windows & doors, heating and ventilation. If the house is built in accordance with the specification, it will then achieve that rating and the provisional BER is valid for 2 years.

Did you know that The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have a number of Grants available with regards to your home? You should check if you are eligible.

This is definitely worth exploring and here is some information around this;

  • Better Energy Homes – this covers such areas as insulation, heating upgrades and solar;

  • Better Energy Warmer Home Scheme – this is a grant for improvements to homes of the elderly;

  • Warmth and Wellbeing Pilot Scheme – is a grant to improve the living conditions of people with respiratory problems.

Here are also some tips to help you improve your BER:

  • Windows – replace old windows or at the very least add draught proofing;

  • Lighting – replace old bulbs with low-energy light bulbs;

  • Ventilation – install a balloon in the chimney to keep the heat in, when not in use;

  • Open Fire: replace an open fire with a stove;

  • Hot Water Cylinder – add a thick lagging jacket or consider fitting a thermostat;

  • Oil boiler: is your oil boiler zoned and thermostatically controlled;

  • Walls: insulating external walls with either external insulation or dry-line internally;

  • Attic: add an additional layer of quilt insulation to your attic;

  • Air-tightness: removing uncontrolled air leaks will improve the air-tightness of your home;

  • Renewable Energy :solar collectors, wood pellets stoves & boilers and heat pumps can all help with the energy efficiency of your home;

  • Redesign your home: a lot of older homes did not take account of the sun path and the advantages that solar gains can provide to your home.

It's also worth noting that the ERSI (The Economic and Social Research Institute) reports that a house that has energy improvements carried out will approximately achieve a 10% better price than a similar house with no energy improvement works.

To discuss further, contact James on 087 8328945 or email james@sugruedesign.com

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