What is a BER and How Does It Affect You?

BER or Building Energy Rating system is already in force in Ireland.

To put it simply the BER is a system to rate the Energy Efficiency of a building in relation to its construction and the services incorporated. In order to make the system simple for the average public, a system with a grading on a scale A to G (with color coding varying from deep red –signifying the least efficient, to dark green-signifying the most efficient) is employed to signify the energy efficiency and sustainability.

Though not exactly the same it is similar at least in the depiction of the grade to the familiar Energy Ratings of a Refrigerator or an Air Conditioner. The rating “A” represents the highest energy efficiency where as the rating “G” signify the least.

Here are some points to ponder over and take action to avoid possible pit falls!

• It is mandatory for almost all new houses being constructed, those that are completed and ready for sale and new or old houses available for rent to have a BER certificate. You are entitled to request one from a land lord, seller or the agent.

• For houses or apartments up for sale off a design drawing too a provisional BER valid for a limited time is available and may be provided by the seller or the agent to the prospective buyer.

• An Advisory Report is provided along with the BER certificate by the issuing authority which advises one on the remedial measures that may be taken to improve the energy performance .This will help the buyer or the tenant in his negotiations and get the recommendations implemented to cut down on their future energy bills.

The regulations apply to;

o All homes where the Planning Permission was applied for on or before 1st January 2007
o All homes for sale or rent on or after 1st January 2009

• The Maximum fine for non compliance with the regulations is Euro 5000 per offence!

• The BER is rated for up to 10 years once obtained provided that there is no material alterations done to the dwelling which would affect the Energy Performance of it.

• A provisional BER which is issued prior to construction of the building but ready for “off drawing” sales is assessed on the strength of the design drawings .These will be valid only up to 2 years from the date of issue .

• The BER assessors are trained under the national frame work of qualifications and have themselves registered with the Sustainable Energy Ireland, the designated issuing authority. A complete list of the assessors is available with them for your guidance.

• BER does not take in to consideration the electricity consumed for the purposes other than Heating, Ventilation, Fans, illumination, and pumps.

The benefits derived buy the buyers and the tenants from the BER are many. For example the heating energy bill is directly related to the energy performance of a building and is a huge chunk of the total consumption. So if you are buying or even renting (where you are responsible for your own energy bills) you have a bargaining platform. On the other hand you can get the seller or the land lord to implement the recommendations as per the Advisory Report of BER before committing yourself to the transaction.

Also don’t forget the global issues where every individual has a responsibility towards sustainability by conserving energy as much as possible for which BER will serve as an useful index.

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