Building Energy Rating by Annette J Dunlea
The BER cert will measure how much energy and carbon your house will use or produce over a given year. From 1st Jan 2009 all residential property for sale or rent must have a BER cert. From 8th June 2010 a BER cert is necessary after completion of all grant aided work. There is a €5,000 fine for landlords for non compliance at point of sale or rent. A tenant cannot not get rent relief if he can not produce his landlord’s BER. Builders can obtain these at plan stage. The legislation does not apply to listed buildings, listed national monuments, places of worship, temporary buildings, industrial or argicultural buildings and small stand alone buildings not exceeding 50m2. BER is part of of a Buildings EU Directive. The aim of the directive is to make the energy performance of a building transparent and available to potential purchasers or tenants. The 2002/91 EC Directive is to promote the improvement of energy performance of buildings within the community.
The calculation includes: building fabric, ventilation, space, water heating and lighting. These values coupled with measurements taken from the drawings of the property culminate in the achievement of an energy rating. The energy labels rate from A to G, A being the most efficient and G being the least. The energy performance is expressed as primary energy use per floor unit per year and associated Carbon Dioxide emissions. BER assessments are performed by professional assessors who have completed a course and are certified by HETAC. These assessors must be registered by the SEI. There is no specified fee for a BER so shop around as these vary from �150 – �250. The BER is valid for ten years from the date it is issued.
Included in the BER is : the BER for the building, the building name and address, a BER number, the date of issue, the date until the cert is valid, the BER assessor number and the BER assessor company number. The house assessment takes place first and this is followed by the issue of a building energy rating cert. Later a detailed report and an advisory report are issued. An important aspect of the BER cert is the advisory report. This document lists the improvements the owner can do to improve the energy eficiency of the building. There is no legal onus on the owner to complete these recommendations. Recommendations may include: 1. increasing insulation in walls, attics and floors
2. installing advanced energy efficient windows and doors
3. measures to achieve controlled healthy ventilation
4. replace old boiler with a more efficient newer model
5. installing modern heating controls
6. installing certain types of renewable energy heating systems
7. insulating hot water and pipe work.
It tells the owner how to improve their home and make it more comfortable. It will save the owner money and help increase the value of his property.
Pre BER assessment people can take some simple steps to improve their energy ratings:
1. Install energy saving or CFL bulbs
2. switch to controllable wall vents
3. fit TRV valves to house radiators
4. upgrade draft stripping around doors and windows
5. insulate primary pipe work
6. insulate hot water cyclinder with a lagging jacket
7. retain all certs and receipts of home improvement
8. upgrade from traditional fire to a wood burning stove
9. try to use ground source heat pumps
Remember to follow some simple instructions and be energy savvy:
1. turn off heating at night
2. heat bedrooms at 18 degrees and living rooms 20 degrees temperature
3. replace old appliance with new A rated energy efficient products
4. use task lighting rather than lighting the whole room
5. clean light fittings and lampshades regularly
6. when cooking keep lids on pots and once they boil turn down the heat
7. conventional ovens are expensive for reheating so use a microwave oven instead
8. always use timers on immersion heaters
9. use hot water sparingly and it does not need to be scalding
10. add a south facing sunroom or conservatory to your property to increase passive solar gains
11. use double glazing windows and doors
12. place a reflective foil on radiators on external walls
13. shower instead of having a bath
Heat loss occurs from: roofs 25%, walls 25%, floors 15%, windows 15% and gaps around windows and doors. Be wise save the environment for future generations and your money.