What is a BER (Building Energy Rating)?
BER Certificates are similar to the energy label on your fridge with a scale of A-G, a home with an A BER Rating being the most energy efficient and G the least efficient. From 1st January 2009 a Building Energy Rating cert became compulsory for all homes being sold or offered for rent.
If you are buying or about to rent a house or apartment now, you are entitled to know what the BER Rating is – so ask the seller/landlord or their agent for it.
As well as the Building Energy Rating certificate, you will also receive an Advisory Report which will help you to identify areas where you could improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Who is entitled to a BER Rating?
A seller or landlord must provide a BER Rating to prospective buyers or tenants when a home is constructed, sold or rented.
There are exemptions for certain categories of buildings, e.g. protected structures and certain temporary buildings, as well as houses with a total floor are of less than 50 square meters. (Ref. S.I. No. 666 of 2006).
Who carries out a BER Rating?
A BER Rating is carried out by registered BER Assessor. A person offering a home for sale or rent, or their agent is required to engage an Assessor to carry out a BER Assessment. SEAI maintain a list of currently registered Assessors which can be found on SEAI’s website; SEAI National Register of BER Assessors
How is a BER Rating calculated?
A BER Rating is based on the characteristics of major structural elements of the dwelling e.g. walls, roof, doors, windows and their orientations) as well as the construction type and levels of insulation, ventilation and air tightness features, the systems for heat supply (including renewable energy), distribution and control, and the type of lighting.
It covers annual energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation, lighting and associated pumps and fans, calculated on the basis of a notional standard family using a standard pattern of occupancy.
The energy performance is expressed as:
(a) primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2/yr) represented on an A to G scale.
(b) associated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in kgCO2/m2/yr
A BER Rating is only an indication of the energy performance of a house. Actual energy usage will depend on how the occupants operate the house.
Calculating compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations for New Dwellings:
The BER calculations can also be used to calculate the Compliance of a New Dwelling with Part L of the Building Regulations including compliance with the renewable energy contributions and whether or not the dwelling complies the MPCPC (Maximum Permitted Carbon Performance Coefficient) and the MPEPC (Maximum Permitted Energy Performance Coefficient).
The calculations used in the BER can also be used to compare different heating systems e.g. Heat Pumps vs Oil Boilers vs Wood Pellet Boilers and the knock on effect these
have on the quantity of renewable technologies (e.g. PV Panels and Solar Panels) that will ultimately be required to pass the MPCPC and MPEPC limits mentioned above.
How much does a BER Rating cost?
There is no set fee for a BER Cert and it is a matter for the Assessor to charge as they deem appropriate for the particular services offered. SEAI strongly recommend to all people wishing to commission an assessment to shop around for the best price and if possible to check references with other clients. Assessors are charged a levy of €22.50 to submit an assessment to the national database and this must be included in the price charged.
You should agree a fixed price inclusive of VAT for all the services the Assessor is providing.
What the Homeowner can expect from an assessment:
Once you have selected your Assessor the Assessor will make an appointment to visit your home so that they can complete a survey on it.
When the Assessor arrives at your home they will conduct a non intrusive survey. The assessment will typically take a couple of hours to complete (depending of course on the home size and complexity). The Assessor will need to have access to all the rooms in your home.
During the survey they will be measuring the area of the rooms, measuring the windows, the thickness of the walls, the levels of insulation, the heating system, the number of flues, the floor types and the wall types. The BER Rating Assessor will typically collect 80 pieces of data which describe your home, which are then entered by the Assessor into the DEAP software tool in order to generate the Cert.
Preparing for a BER:
There are a number of items that would be helpful to the Assessor if the homeowner were able to provide the following:
- A recent electricity bill so that the Assessor can note the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)
- The date of construction of the dwelling
- Details of any previously published cert for the dwelling on the national register.
- Any plans or specifications of the dwelling if they are available.
- Details of any upgrades that have been made to the dwelling e.g. insulation.
- The boiler model number or any documentation for the boiler.
- Making sure the Assessor has safe and unobstructed access to all areas of the dwelling
After the BER Survey:
The BER Assessor will return to their office and input the survey findings into the software called DEAP. There are approximately 80 data inputs that the Assessor must enter.
Once this is complete the Assessor will log on to the online SEAI National Administration System (NAS) and upload the DEAP file. This will generate the BER Cert and the Advisory Report.
The BER Assessor will then give the homeowner a copy of the BER Cert and the Advisory Report. The BER Assessor will be able to answer any queries you have relating to your dwellings BER cert.
SEAI maintain the register of BER certificates. To see your BER Rating on the national register please go to the National BER Register and enter either the BER number or the MPRN number for your dwelling.