• Enrate
  • Blackberry Lane
  • Delgany
  • Co. Wicklow
  • 085-1359151

Fully accredited and
registered with SEAI

About BER

If you are going to sell residential property or rent it to a new tenant you will need a BER Cert.  It's the law.  An exception occurs in the case of listed buildings (for example some Georgian houses and certain other buildings subject to preservation orders). Your local county council maintains a list of "protected structures" and these are exempt because the owners may not be allowed to install common improvements such as PVC double-glazing or solar panels which would improve the energy rating.

Why was BER introduced? The BER Certificate makes transparent to prospective new owners or tenants the energy consumption and therefore the probable running costs of the building. The BER Cert also shows the typical carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the building over the course of a year under standard conditions of use. The BER requirement was introduced in 2009 for all the EU countries. There is a similar requirement for small domestic appliances such as fridge/freezers to display an energy rating, and for new vehicles to disclose a standardised fuel consumption/ CO2 emissions figure. The consumer benefits in the long run by having such information publicly available.

In addition to providing the BER Certificate, the BER assessor also issues an  Advisory Report from SEAI which contains some standard advice on insulation and draught proofing.
 

 

BER Survey and Certificate

Firstly, a survey of the property is arranged in order to gather all the information needed to produce the BER Certificate. Please allow up to two hours for the survey. Click here for more details. Following the survey a BER Cert and an Advisory Report will be e-mailed out to you as a pdf file (normally within 48hours). You can forward the pdf format certificate immediately to your estate agent or solicitor. They will print off as many paper copies as necessary, or incorporate it into their promotional material. The "original" cert, as such, is held in an electronic format on a national database at Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEAI) so all printed paper versions are copies.
The certificate is valid for ten years, or until significant material changes are made to the property whch would affect the BER. The only way to be sure that a BER Cert is valid and up-to-date is to check your property on the national database directly. You will need to identify the property by entering either the BER number which appears just below the address on the BER Certificate, or else the MPRN number for the property which appears next to the address details on your electricity bill.
The figures shown on the BER Cert predict annual energy usage of the property, and the associated CO2 emissions (it's carbon footprint).

The BER scale is divided into 15 grades or categories, on a scale of A to G. The most energy efficient properties, having the lowest running costs, fall into the A1 bracket. These are likely to have "state of the art" heating systems, solar panels, and excellent insulation. They are usually newly built properties, but can sometimes be older ones that have been upgraded.
The least energy efficient properties will fall into the G bracket, at the "red" end of the scale. These are older properties, and are likely to have little or no insulation, single glazed windows and inefficient heating systems. Although the owners will have saved money by not upgrading them over the years, their running costs will be significantly higher on an ongoing basis; by around €2000 per year for an average sized house. In most cases the occupier does not pay this amount in full, but simply endures colder, damper conditions to a greater or lesser extent.

An average rating for an older property would be an E or a D, depending on what basic improvements had taken place. Basic upgrades would be the installation of early versions of double glazing (with 6mm air gap between the panes, as opposed to the current versions with 20mm gas-filled gap and special glass coatings) or the addition of a basic wrap-around lagging jacket on a copper hot water cylinder, and some thickness of fibreglass attic insulation.

Progressively stricter Building Regulations were introduced in 1981, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2011.  Properties built during these eras will have increased levels of energy efficiency built into them as standard, depending on how recent they are. They are likely to achieve grades in the C, D or E range.

There is no "pass" or "fail" in BER, and no minimum requirement for the rating.
There is another energy rating scale with a similar A to G format for all new fridge/freezers. The information is there so that the consumer can make an informed choice in regard to price v energy efficiency, without having to understand all the technical specifications.

Provisional BER Certificate
This is available for planning permission purposes. If the building designer has designed the house to be sure it complies fully with the Building Regulations, then he/she will already have assessed the plans using the Deap 4 computer program, which is the program used in a BER assessment. However, the designer may not be a registered BER assessor and therefore could not produce the actual Provisional BER Certificate. In this situation the BER assessent on Deap 4 and the full specifications should be shared with Enrate, so that we can check over them, and then produce the certificate. The Provisonal BER Cert and Advisory Rreport can then be will be e-mailed to you.
After the house is built, a site visit and survey is always necessary prior to issuing the full or final BER Certificate, which is required by law before first occupancy of the property.

Regular (final) BER Certificate
The regular BER Certificate is required by law when advertising a property for sale or rental. The same BER Cert is required when availing of SEAI energy upgrade grants (eg for insulation and heating controls) Or before first occupancy of a newly built dwelling.
 

Benefits of BER;

  • For the builder: A good BER rating justifies the additional expense of installing higher grade insulation and more efficient heating systems, beyond the minimum requirements of the building regulations. Previously there was no incentive to do this as the final market price was not generally affected by these factors. This is one of the reasons the BER system was brought in. Additionally, a BER is necessary to verify that the build is fully in compliance with Part L of The Building Regulations. There is more detail on the NZEB regs here.
  • For landlords/vendors/estate agents: You are legally required to have a BER Certificate when placing a property on the market, and to present a printed copy to any prospective tenants or buyers viewing it. A good rating such as a B or C will enable you to achieve a better price. It will help you get payback for improvements and upgrades to your premises. However a poor BER cert could be a liability. Location will always be the primary factor in property dealings, but if there are two similar properties in the same area, the one with a better BER will attract more viewings, spend less time "on the market", and command a premium in terms of price. There are specific rules governing the way in which a BER is presented in an advertisement. To stay on the right side of the law, you must follow the correct procedure. You can download a free guide here; A Quick Summary of new BER Regulations (applying from Jan. 9th 2013)
  • Rent Pressure Zones; Landlords wishing to increase the rent in a rent pressure zone by more than the allowable 4% per annum can do so if they make material alterations (substantive renovations) to the house. One way to do this is by building an extension which increases the floor area by 25% or more. If you do this, bear in mind that the 2019 Building Regulations may require you to upgrade the older parts of the house at the same time, such that the whole house reaches an overall  BER standard of at least B2. Alternatively you can make material alterations to the house without increasing its floor area. A radical overhaul of the heating system and an upgrade to wall floor and roof insulation is known as a "Deep Retrofit" and would be likely to give an improvemnt of 7 BER grades. A Deep Retrofit is likely to cost €50,000 to €100,000, but there may be an SEAI grant available covering approximately 40% of the cost. The PRTB have also allowed for certain specified (and less ambitous) alterations to be covered by the exemption. Such alterations to include (a) permanently altering the internal layout (b) the dwelling being adapted for use by a disabled person (c) a permanent increase in the number of rooms (d) the BER of the house improved by 3 grades if it was previously in the G to D1 range (below average to average) or by only 2 grades if it was already in the C3 to A1 range.                                More detail on rent pressure zones can be found at the PRTB. It may be possible to comply with (a) (b) and (c) above by converting a spare downstairs room into a disabled access bedroom, with a similarly accessible downstairs bathroom. A new wheelchair ramp may also be needed outside, to bypass any steps, and the front door and the downstairs internal doors should be wide enough for a wheelchair. Some electric light switches may need to be lowered, and sockets raised higher. In a modern house built from about 2000 onwards, it is likely that light switches were installed at a height of 120cm, the electric sockets are already well above skirting board level, and 82cm wide doors (32 inches) are already installed. Older houses are likely to have 75-78 cm doors (30") with light switches positioned higher than 120cm, and sockets installed at or below skirting board level. The feasibility and best method of going about this (especially the requirement (d) regarding the BER improvement) is best tackled by emplying the services of one of the SEAI registered One Stop Shops.
  • Tenants/purchasers: Although these are not directly involved in getting a BER they stand to benefit from the BER Cert. All properties advertised for sale or rent must disclose the energy rating for the property, up front. This gives the prospective buyer or tenant a good idea of the future running costs of the property. Armed with this information, they can make better purchasing decisions. Previous to the BER system each prospective purchaser/tenant would have had to commission their own separate survey to find out any such information.
  • For society: Reducing their CO2 footprint is a concern for many people. Irelands housing stock, which in the past was often constructed of poor quality materials (typically the hollow concrete block), will improve dramatically in the next few years due to new building regulations."Peak Oil" has already been reached, and the inevitable sharp price increases of energy triggered global financial crisis in 2007/2008. Even as less oil becomes available going into the future, demand continues to increase from China and other developing countries. As the "easier to reach" oil and gas supplies run out, prices will continue to rise. The European Union has acted to impose Building Energy Rating requirements across Europe. Individual governments are also encouraging renewable energy installations and better energy efficiency through grants and stricter Building Regulations. The 2008 Irish Building Regulations introduced a requirement that every new dwelling must generate some of its own energy through renewables (e.g. solar panels) and that its energy consumption would be only 60% of a typical 2005 era house. These were mandatory requirements in the 2008 Building Regulations. The 2011 Building Regulations introduced even higher mandatory standards for insulation and renewable energy, reducing the allowed energy consumption to only 40% of a typical 2005 era house. In 2019 the NZEB Building regulations reduced that even further, to 30%. Also there was a new requirement that at least 20% of the consumed energy would be from renewable energy sources. This is why every newly built house is equipped with either solar panels or a heat pump, or both. The Building Regulations apply to newly built houses and apartments, but older ones are often built to a much less energy efficient standard. Since 2010, any new gas or oil boilers installed (in any dwelling) must be of the more efficient condensing type.The intention of all this is to gradually reduce our consumption and importation of damaging fossil fuels while at the same time allowing the population to benefit from lower fuel bills. The long term intention is to phase out all oil and gas boilers (fossil fuels) and to encurage the use of heat pumps instead. Although a proportion of the electricity powering the heat pumps may come from gas, oil or nuclear sources (see below) all of the actual heat energy delivered by the heat pump into the home has been taken directly from the air outside. The great trick of the heat pump is that it delivers 4 or 5 times more energy than it consumes, therefore a heat pump is considered to be mostly a renewable energy heat source.
  • The EU has set binding targets for Member States to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by 2020.In addition, under the EU Renewable Energy Directive of 2009, Ireland committed to produce from renewable sources at least 16% of all energy consumed by 2020. This was expected to be met by 40% from renewable electricity, 12% from renewable heat and 10% from the renewable transport sector. When we fail to achieve these results, we will become liable for substantial EU fines. Nowadays Ireland often achieves greater than 50% electricity generation from renewable sources. These would include wind turbines, hydro-electric plants and photovoltaic solar panels (solar PV). You can check what proportion of the national grid's electricity is coming from renewables at any given time here and here The Eirgrid display also shows whether we are currently exporting or importing electricity. We have electricity interconnectors to the UK, and one planned for France (which has a lot of nuclear power in the grid). In theory we have enough wind energy available in Ireland to allow us to become a net exporter of energy. The plans for electric vehicles are still somewhat behind the original 10% target. The SEAI grant for the installation of heat pumps in existing housing stock was not introduced until 2017, and the grant for rooftop Solar PV panels was only introduced in 2018. Currently we are one of the few EU countries not to provide a domestic feed-in tariff for Solar PV, meaning you can export your surplus renewable electricity into the grid, at valuable daytime peak tariff time, but they will not pay you anything for it. 

Elsewhere on this site you can find tips and useful information about upgrading (retrofitting) an older house.

How can I get a good BER Rating?

Download a BER Leaflet by SEAI

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About Us

Enrate was founded in 2009 by Clive Dalby to provide an energy rating service for residential dwellings. With over 20 years experience in construction and a particular interest in the emerging renewable "green" technologies, Clive is well placed to advise on how best to make the cost effective improvements to your property which will save you money. Sales and marketing are handled by Eithne Dalby. Enrate is fully accredited and registered with SEI, and a member of the BER Assessors Association of Ireland.

We are committed to providing a quality impartial service which will address the individual requirements of each client.

The Enrate promise; Your time is valuable; we will always get there for an appointment.

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This site has been audited to meet WCAG Priority 1 Accessiblity Standard. It is written in "Plain English". It is designed for maximum ease of navigation.

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Privacy Policy

Any information submitted by you will not be shared with any third party, except for data collected pertaining to a completed BER assessment which will become the property of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) which is the issuing authority for BER Certificates. The BER result or grade only (being represented by a letter on a scale of A - G) which appears on the BER Certificate and the advisory report will be published on the SEI National Database and will be accessible to the public on the SEI website.