Understanding Building Energy Ratings (BER)

July 28, 2021

What is a BER Rating?

A Building Energy Rating or BER is an energy label with accompanying advisory report for homes. The rating is a simple scale which ranges from A-G. A-Rated homes are the most energy efficient and tend to have the lowest energy bills.

A BER makes the energy performance of a home visible to prospective buyers and tenants. This allows them to take energy performance into consideration in their purchase or rental decision. The Advisory report identifies potential energy performance improvements. This can lead to reduced energy usage and costs.

A BER Cert is valid for up to 10 years if there is no change to the home that could impact the energy performance.

How is a BER calculated?

A BER calculation is based on the energy performance and associated carbon dioxide emissions for the provision of space heating, ventilation, water heating and lighting under standardised conditions. The characteristics of major components are taken into consideration when calculating a BER Rating, these include dimensions, orientation, insulation, and space and hot water system efficiencies.

The energy performance is expressed as:

i. Primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m²/yr) represented on an A to G scale; and
ii.Associated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in kgCO2/m2 /yr

A BER is only an indication of energy performance in the home, like the rating you can find on electrical goods. A BER does not include electricity used for purposes other than heating, lighting, pumps, and fans. Therefore, electricity used for electrical appliances such as cookers, fridges and TVs are excluded.

Who needs a BER?

A homeowner must present a BER rating to prospective buyers or tenants when a home is put up for sale or rent. There are exemptions in place for certain building categories e.g., protected structures and temporary buildings. A homeowner must have a BER before a new home is occupied for the first time regardless of whether it is for sale or rent. BER details must be listed on advertisements when a home is offered for sale or rent.

Who carries out BER?

BERs are published by independent assessors registered with the SEAI. To become a registered BER assessor, they must complete an accredited training course, pass a national examination and act in accordance with the code of practice published by SEAI. A list of registered BER assessors is available online at www.seai.ie/ber.

How much does a BER cost?

There is no set fee and the best advice I can give is to shop around for the best value. Make sure to confirm all fees in writing prior to commissioning a BER assessment. BER assessors are charged a levy to publish a BER assessment for a home on the National BER register.

Who is responsible for the BER scheme?

Under the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 243 of 2012) the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is designated as Issuing Authority with responsibility for the registration of BER assessors, maintaining the registers of BER assessments, quality assurance, awareness raising and ongoing management of the BER scheme. Under the same legislation, enforcement of compliance with BER obligations is a matter for local Building Control Authorities.

For more information see the SEAI website or call 1890 734 237 / www.seai.ie/ber

SEAI, (2014), ‘A Guide to Building Energy Rating for Homeowners’, SEAI.ie
Read full guide here: https://www.seai.ie/publications/Your-Guide-to-Building-Energy-Rating.pdf



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