A Building Energy Rating or BER is similar to the energy label on your fridge with a scale of A-G. A-rated homes are the most energy efficient and G the least efficient.

 An example of a BER Certificate

 How is a BER calculated?

A BER is based on the characteristics of major components of the dwelling (wall, roof and floor dimensions, window and door sizes and 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 with 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 (see BER certificate); and

(b) Associated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in kgCO2/m2/yr (see BER Certificate)

A BER is only an indication of the energy performance of a house. Actual energy usage will depend on how the occupants operate the house. In that way it is similar to the concept of a fuel economy (miles per gallon or litres per 100 km) rating for a car. A BER does not cover electricity used for purposes other than heating, lighting, pumps and fans, i.e. does not include for cooking, refrigeration, laundry etc.

What are the benefits of a BER?

 A BER makes the energy performance of a home visible to prospective buyers and tenants and enables them to take energy performance into consideration in their next house purchase or rental decision.

Who carries out a BER assessment?

BER assessments are carried out by registered BER assessors who have been trained under the National Framework of Qualifications and have registered with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). All registered assessors must adhere to the BER Assessors Code of Conduct. A list of registered BER assessors is available online at www.seai.ie/ber

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