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Dublin: 20°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

Just what is the Building Energy Rating - and what do you have to do about it?

We tell you everything you need to know.

THE BER IS the ‘building energy rating’ your house or apartment has.

It indicates the energy performance of the home and is assessed based on the energy use for space and hot water heating, ventilation and lighting for a standard occupancy. When accompanied by an Advisory Report it identifies how you can improve the energy performance and rating of your home.

Source: Buildingenergyireland

Why do I need one? 

It can help you save money on your electricity bills by showing you where you can make energy efficient changes to your home.

Plus it’s a requirement now:

Since 1 January 2007 all new homes are required to have a building energy rating certificate.

Since July 2008 a building energy certificate is required for all non-domestic buildings for sale or rent.

The home owner must obtain a BER before a new home is occupied for the first time regardless of whether it is offered for sale or rent.
When a new or existing home is offered for sale or rent the seller / renter must provide a BER to prospective buyers or tenants. BER details must be included in advertisements when a home is offered for sale or rent.

Source: SEAI

Source: StockMonkeys.com via Flickr/CC

How does the rating work?

The rating works from A to G. A1 is the tops going all the way down to the least energy-efficient G.

How is a BER calculated?

A BER assessor calculates the BER of your home by taking into consideration the annual energy usage, CO2 emissions and energy costs of space and water heating as well as the ventilation and lighting of the home – which is input into a formula and your result calculated.

How can I improve my home’s BER?

There are a number of ways to improve your BER. From insulating your immersion tank and lagging the pipes to increasing the insulation in the walls or attic.

Here’s a list from the SEAI:

  • Insulating the hotwater cylinder and pipework
  • Increasing the insulation in the walls/attic/floor
  • Installing advanced energy efficient glazing
  • Measures to achieve controlled healthy ventilation
  • Replacing an old or inefficient boiler with a more efficient one
  • Installing modern heating controls
  • Installing certain types of renewable energy heating systems

Who provides a BER certificate?

A BER assessor. Make sure you find a registered BER assessor here.

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How much does a  BER certificate cost?

There is no set fee and rates can vary from €100-450. SEAI recommends shopping around to find the best deal. Remember that you should always use a registered qualified BER assessor and ask for references of other dwellings they have provided a certificate to.

You should agree on a price inclusive of VAT and remember that the assessors are obligated to provide a written quotation.

Are there any grants available to improve the BER rating?

Yes – there are SEAI grants available for you to implement measures to improve your BER. We did a piece about them here, but to quickly recap -

  •  There are grants of up to €4,500 available
  • You can avail of them by upgrading or  your insulation, or heating controls, or adding solar heating or getting a BER assessment for your home
  • You must apply at the SEAI
  • You must use an SEAI registered contractor

Source: Anton Fomkin via Flickr/CC

There are also grants to get a BER done. You can get €50 towards the cost of a BER assessment. See the SEAI website for more information.

How long is a BER valid for?

It’s valid for 10 years providing there are no material changes to the building that could affect the energy rating.

Read: What is the Better Homes grant and how do you get one?

Also: A garage to park your boat in… sort of

About the author:

Edel Corrigan

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