Building Energy Ratings (BERs)

BER Certificate_2_1Guide to the BER

A Building Energy Rating (BER) is similar to the energy label for a household electrical appliance like your fridge. The label has a scale of A-G, also clearly distinguished by colours, green to red. A-rated homes (Green) are the most energy efficient and G-rated homes (red) the least efficient.

The calculation method used to determine Building Energy Ratings is known as the Dwelling Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP). This is in the form of a detailed software program which takes account the energy required for space heating, ventilation, water heating and lighting less the savings from energy generation technologies. BER assessments performed on new dwellings will also help determine compliance to Part L of the Building Regulations, which relates to energy efficiency and insulation. In fact, the DEAP software is the only way which can show compliance with Part L.

BER’s will be carried out by specially trained BER assessors, registered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

 

An Advisory Report is issued as part of your BER Certificate. This will give indications to how you can improve the energy performance of your dwelling and reduce Co2 emissions. these measures will save you money on energy bills and will therefore pay for themselves over time.

A standard BER Certificate is valid for 10 years. A 2 year Provisional BER Certificate can also be issued for new-builds from building drawings and specifications. This allows a homeowner, builder or designer to put the appropriate steps in place throughout the build to ensure a specified rating. On dwelling completion, a Full BER Certificate is issued in the normal way.

 

Requirements

All new builds, and all dwellings offered for sale or rent are required to have a current BER Certificate. This enables a prospective dwelling owner or occupier to understand what energy requirement the building will have and get an idea on fuel bill costs.

 

Exemptions

The following buildings are exempt from the BER scheme:

  • Listed national monuments
  • Listed buildings of outstanding architecture or historic importance (known as protected structures)
  • Buildings used as places of worship or for the religious activities of any religion
  • Certain classes of temporary buildings such as site offices
  • Industrial buildings not intended for human occupancy over extended periods and where the installed heating capacity does not exceed 10W/m2 
  • Non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand
  • Small “stand alone” buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m2 .

 

Legislation

The Building Energy Rating System has arisen from the ‘Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’, an EU directive which became law in 2003. The European Parliament required all countries to bring the Directive into law through a rating system by 2006, allowing a further 3 years to phase it in fully. The main aim of the Directive is to reduce the energy consumption of buildings throughout Europe in an effort to lesson CO2 emissions and reduce our impact on the environment.

Enforcement is currently carried out by local authorities who can demand to be shown a printed copy of a BER certificate. The penalties for non-compliance are quite severe with fines of up to €5000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 months.

 

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