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BER Certificates

BER Certificates – What you should know

A Building Energy Rating (BER) assessment is the first step to making your home become more energy efficient. Introduced in 2007, a BER certificate is mandatory for all new builds under construction, buildings that are offered for rent, and existing buildings offered for sale in Ireland. Think of it as an energy label similar for household appliances. These labels advise you of the level of energy consumption required to run. The same can be said for a building’s energy rating.

BER runs on a similar scale to energy appliances, from A-rated buildings that are regarded as the most energy-efficient (and hence the lowest energy bills), to G-rated buildings as the least energy-efficient with very high energy bills.

Even if you are modernising an existing dwelling, the BER process ensures that buildings will be developed and built in a way that incorporates energy-efficient designs, materials, and even appliances such as central heating systems are in line with the Programme for Government’s sustainability objectives.

A BER certificate is valid for up to 10 years, providing there are no material changes to that building that may lead to significant changes in its energy performance. A provisional BER certificate is usually derived from the architect’s or developer’s plans of the unbuilt home, and comes with a maximum validity of 2 years.

 

How is a BER calculated on your home?

The BER is calculated using bespoke software referred to as “Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure”, or DEAP. It will calculate the energy losses for your home and produce the result as a BER Energy rating.

To start the process, a (registered) BER assessor comes to inspect and survey your home. A typical duration is around 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, the assessor will look at different aspects of your home such as the type of heating systems; how and whether your home is properly insulated; the quality of windows; size and volume of living spaces; the radiators, all to name a few.

The calculation process will also consider how many people are likely to occupy the dwelling. This number will affect things like water consumption, traffic in and out of the building (through windows and doors), requirements for heat and hot water, and so on. The only components of electrical power consumption to be considered are for heating, pumps, fans, and lighting, and will not take into consideration electricity consumption for laundry, cooking, refrigeration and entertainment.

The energy performance of a home is usually expressed as follows;

  • The primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2/yr) represented on an A to G scale.
  • The associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in kgCO2/m2/yr.

 

Why you need a BER Certificate

It is now a legal requirement that all buildings constructed since January 2007 have a valid BER certificate indicating their energy performance, as does any property built before that with the intention to be supplied for rent or sale in Ireland. Having a BER certificate does have its benefits, even if you are not selling. For instance, it can help you to better understand the energy efficiency of your home, which ultimately can help save you money in energy costs and reduce energy wastage. This in turn will have a positive impact on our environment, as it reduces the amount of negative emissions into the atmosphere that can harm our health and well-being.

A BER helps you to save money as you adopt energy-efficient properties. A higher BER indicates that your home is well insulated, ventilated, uses renewable energy sources, and uses “white goods” and heating appliances that save energy. Hence, having a high rating will save you money because energy bills are reduced significantly.

A higher BER also makes your home more comfortable. With the growing availability of smart-home technologies like energy-saving light bulbs, programmable thermostats and even weather sensors all help your home become more comfortable. New technologies like heat pumps used in conjunction with heat recovery systems regulate your home’s humidity, reducing the risk of indoor mold and pathogens.

Lastly, a higher BER rating increases the overall value of your home for rent or sale. A poor BER rating will attract only potential buyers willing to invest in the upgrade works required, meaning a lower offer than what you would like to accept!

 

What does a BER certificate cost?

The cost of a BER certificate depends on the size of your home and the time taken by an assessor to complete inspection. The average cost of a BER certificate for a typical home or an apartment of 1,200 sq ft is around €150. The average cost of a large house, duplex, or penthouse ranges between €200 and €300. These values include VAT.

 

More information

If you are curious about the cost and have other questions, contact John Leahy for a quotation by email on john@leahyauctioneers.ie or call 087 207 3226.

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