What is a BER rating?
You may have heard about a BER rating on properties, but not been sure exactly what that meant. Put simply, BER stands for Building Energy Rating, and it signifies how energy efficient a property is. Properties are graded on a scale of A to G, with A-rated homes being the most energy efficient, making them more likely to have lower energy bills.
So how does this affect you? As a prospective buyer or renter, you want the property to have the highest BER possible. As mentioned, a high rating usually means that the property has lower energy bills, which of course saves you money in the long run. So if you’re torn between two properties, looking at their BER might help you decide which one will cost you less in the long run.
If you’re selling or renting a property, be it residential or commercial, you are required to have an energy rating carried out. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as for protected structures and temporary buildings, but for the vast majority of properties, a BER is needed. However, a property’s BER can last for 10 years provided no significant material changes are made to the property that might affect its rating, so it’s not necessary to acquire a new one for every sale or rental within that timeframe.
A property’s BER is calculated by taking a variety of factors into account, such as the property’s dimensions, orientation, insulation, and space and hot water system efficiencies. When calculated, it is expressed in two ways: as primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2 /yr), and as associated carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions in kgCO2/m2 /yr.
If you’re looking to acquire a BER rating for your property, there are a number of independent assessors registered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) who are qualified to carry out the job. You can find a list of registered BER assessors at www.seai.ie/ber/. In terms of price, there is no set fee for an assessment, so it is recommended that you shop around for the best value. Commercial BER certs are generally more expensive than residential ones.
There is also a provisional BER rating. These ratings are assessed off plans for currently incomplete buildings. They are valid for up to two years, but when the building is complete, the property must get a full BER for the property. The full BER will always be more accurate than the provisional one.
If you’re getting a BER for your property, you don’t need to worry about passing or failing. All properties assessed will get a grade, and in terms of energy efficiency, that’s all a property needs by law. However, a higher grade is always more favourable, as prospective buyers or renters will prefer to have a property that retains heat well and thus has lower energy bills. There a number of ways to boost a property’s BER, such as investing in insulation or in new heating systems.