FAQs

In this FAQ page we endeavor to  answer any of your energy rating related questions. If you need any further information on an energy rating topic not listed here please don't hesitate to contact us.

What is a Building Energy Rating(BER) Cert?

A Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificates is effectively an energy label, such as you would find on a household electrical appliance like a fridge. The label is scaled from A to G, with A-rated homes been the most energy efficient and G the least efficient.  A BER certificate will be required at the point of sale or rental of a building, or on completion of a new building. The BER will be accompanied by an Advisory Report setting out recommendations for cost-effective improvements to the energy performance of the building. The SEI will publish the BER certificate on a public BER Register.

At this stage all buildings require a BER when offered for sale or rent. This was first introduced on the  1st of  January 2007 and since that date all new dwellings that applied for planning permission on or after this date require a BER when they are offered for sale or rent. This requirement was extended to all new non-residential buildings in July 2008 and to existing buildings offered for sale or rent in January 2009.

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New Dwelling BER Certificates

New Dwelling BER Certificates shall be produced from the plans, specifications provided by the Builder or Architect and an inspection carried out by the BER assesor. These Certificates are provisional for 2 years, and must be produced before building commences.  Planning permission must have beePlanning permission must have been obtained on or after the 1st of January 2007.

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Existing Dwelling BER Certs

BER Certificates will identify areas of the dwelling that are the least energy efficient. The main cause of a poor energy rating arises from inefficient heating systems, such as old non-condensing boilers and heat loss through the building’s fabric, such as walls, floors, roofs and around doors and windows.

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Advisory Reports

Advisory Reports in conjunction with the advice offered by our BER assessor will assist you by identifying and advising on improving your homes energy rating value and ensure that you save on heating and electricity bills.

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What does the BER Certificate look like?

What does the BER Certificate look like? BER is based on primary energy demand and the BER scale ranges from A1 (most efficient) to G (least efficient). To see what each band relates to in terms of primary energy demand, download a copy of a BER Certificate here;

http://www.sei.ie/showImage.aspx?imgUrl=/uploadedfiles/EPBD/ber%20cert.JPG

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Why is there a need for Building Energy Rating (BER)?

Why is there a need for Building Energy Rating (BER)? Building Energy Rating (BER) is a requirement of the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (2002/91/EC of 16 December 2002), which has now been transposed in Ireland by the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 666 of 2006) The building owner is required to provide the BER to prospective buyers and tenants. BER will, therefore, make the energy performance characteristics of the building transparent to prospective buyers and tenants. As a result, buyers and tenants will be able, for the first time, to take energy performance into consideration in their decision to purchase or rent a building. Overall, the message in a market context is: “information is power”. BER is about equipping the consumer with information and the consequent power to act in their own best interests.

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What are the BER implementation dates in Ireland?

What are the BER implementation dates in Ireland? The requirement to provide a BER is being introduced on a phased basis as follows: New dwellings: The regulations apply to new dwellings for which planning permission was applied for on or after 1st January 2007. Transitional BER exemptions will apply to new dwellings for which planning permission is applied on or before 31st December 2006, where the new dwellings involved are substantially completed on or before 30th June 2008. New Non-Domestic Buildings: The regulations apply to new dwellings for which planning permission was applied for on or after 1st July 2008. Transitional BER exemptions will apply to new non-domestic buildings for which planning permission is applied on or before 30th June 2008 provided the new non-domestic buildings involved are substantially completed by 30th June 2010. Existing Buildings (dwellings and other buildings) when offered for sale or letting on or after 1st January 2009.

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What happens when a dwelling is sold “off plans”?

A ‘Provisional BER Certificate’ must be produced by the vendor to potential buyers or tenants, when the new dwelling is offered for sale “off plans”. This certificate is based upon the pre- construction plans.  When the relevant new dwelling is completed, the vendor is obligated to arrange for a new BER certificate to be supplied to the purchaser, based on the plans of the dwelling as constructed (to take account of any design changes during construction).

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What happens if I build a dwelling for my own use?

A BER certificate must be procured by the person commissioning a dwelling for their own use, prior to taking up occupation of the dwelling.

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How will BER of New Dwellings be carried out?

The owner/developer of the new dwelling will engage a registered BER assessor listed on the Register of BER Assessors (www.sei.ie/ber) to carry out the BER based on the plans and specifications for the new building.  All BER Assessors will be required to follow a standardised procedure using an approved calculation methodology and to adhere to a standard code of practice.

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How will the BER of Existing Dwellings be carried out?

The BER assessor will normally survey the dwelling to record, for example, the size of the dwelling, the construction, the insulation levels, the types of windows, the ventilation features, details of the heating and hot water systems, etc.  This information will then be used to generate the BER which represents the energy performance of the dwelling.  All BER assessors will be required to follow a standardised procedure using an approved survey and calculation methodology to generate the rating.

A BER of an existing dwelling being offered for sale or letting on or after 1st January 2009 must be carried out by a registered BER assessor, at the expense of the owner - who must provide the resulting BER certificate and advisory report to prospective buyers/tenants.

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What will happen if I do not obtain a BER for my dwelling as required by law?

If you do not comply with a BER requirement you will be liable, on conviction in the District Court, to a maximum fine of €5,000.  Failure to secure a BER certificate at the proper time could hinder or delay the legal completion of a sale or letting or a future disposal of the relevant dwelling.

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What can be done to improve a BER for an existing dwelling?

Building energy performance options might include measures such as: insulating the hot water cylinder and pipework; increasing the insulation in the walls/ attic/floor; installing advanced energy efficient glazing; replacing an old or inefficient boiler with a more efficient boiler; installing modern heating controls; installing certain types of renewable energy heating systems. For this reason, the advisory report will be a key document in relation to existing dwellings.  It may be particularly useful to those who have just purchased an existing dwelling which they plan to improve or remodel in their early stages of occupation.

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How long will a BER remain valid?

A BER for a building will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue, unless there is a material change in the building in the meantime which could affect its energy performance – for example an extension to the building, a significant change to the building fabric or a change in the heating system or fuel used.  Therefore if a property which has received a BER is placed on the market within 10 years of that BER being issued, and the property has experienced no relevant alteration in the meantime, then that same BER may be used by the building owner for the purposes of meeting their obligations under the Regulations.

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What impact will BER have on Irish householders?

The BER requirement will impact on an estimated 170,000 sale or rental transactions per year.  BERs will mean that anyone buying a house will be able to check the energy performance of the house and get an indication of the annual running costs.  It will allow people to take energy costs into consideration in their purchasing decisions.  This is becoming more and more important as energy costs are increasing all the time.

BERs will allow house hunters to compare the energy performance of two different houses on an equal scale.  It will allow you to compare two houses that on the surface appear very similar such as two 3-bed semi detached dwellings or equally two very different houses, such as a 2 bed apartment and a 5 bed house.

BER will ultimately improve energy awareness in the property market both for home buyers and developers and this awareness can be expected over time to place a somewhat higher value on more energy efficient properties.  In time, it is likely that householders who have received low energy ratings will wish to improve and maximise the energy performance of their property.  By doing so, they will increase the comfort and affordability of their dwellings and enhance their value and sustainability.

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What impact will BERs have on owners or renters of dwellings?

A person wishing to sell or let a house will be required to get a BER carried out by a registered BER assessor and to provide prospective buyers or tenants with this information.  This will increase awareness of energy performance as a factor in the property market. Those with better rated homes (i.e. more energy efficient homes) will be motivated to highlight this as a positive selling point while those with poorer rated homes may be motivated to upgrade their homes to improve the energy rating.

It is expected that investments in the energy performance of homes will benefit building owners and users in terms of improved comfort, lower energy running costs and possibly higher property values.  Over time it can be expected to contribute to a change in market behaviour, which will ultimately improve the energy efficiency of the national housing stock and collectively, over time, these market activities could result in an environmental protection benefit in terms of a reduction in CO2 emissions from Ireland’s national building stock.

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