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 In Energy Tips, Solar Advice

This article was originally published on May 24th, 2021. Updated March 27th, 2023. 

If you’re in the market for an energy-efficient home or considering making improvements to your current residence, it’s likely that you’ve encountered the term BER multiple times. To help clear up any confusion, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about BER. Here they are, answered.

What is a BER Certificate?

BER stands for A Building Energy Rating.  The energy performance of your home is revealed through a BER report, which also includes recommendations for improvement. That performance is rated on a scale of A-G with A being the most efficient and G the least. A higher BER can enhance your home’s comfort, decrease your energy expenses, and lower your carbon footprint. Additionally, it can increase your home’s resale value.

What does a BER certificate take into account?

The BER cert will consider all aspects of your home’s energy efficiency. This will include dimensions of the floor and roof, windows and doors as well as your insulation and heating systems.

Why do you need one?

You are required by law to have a BER certificate if you are renting or selling your home. Since January 2013, it has been compulsory for all homes, for sale or for rent, to include their BER rating when listed.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to arrange for a BER assessment. A property with a higher BER rating can ask for a higher value. If you plan to upgrade your home’s energy efficiency, the SEAI suggests beginning with a BER assessment. Why? Because this assessment will indicate where your home stands on the A-G efficiency scale and it can help to determine your upgrade priorities.

How do you find out your BER rating?

If you don’t know your home’s BER rating, you can check it on the SEAI National BER Register. You will need your MPRN or BER number in order to do this. Your MPRN number can be found on your electricity bill and your BER number can be found on the BER Certificate and Advisory Report.

How do you get one?

You can get an assessment carried out by SEAI registered BER assessors, which you can find here. They will conduct a survey of your home (this typically takes about an hour for a three-bed, semi-detached house) to ascertain how much energy your home requires for hot water and ventilation, for heating and for lighting. The SEAI have a great Homeowners Checklist which will allow you to prepare this assessment as best you can. Following an assessment, you will be provided with a BER Certificate and an Advisory Report.

How much does it cost?

There is no set price list for a BER assessment. It’s recommended that you get three quotes from different assessors to ensure you’re getting the best value. From our own research, we’ve found that prices tend to start from approximately €150-180 for a one-bed flat/house and increase depending on location, accessibility, room numbers, whether you have an extension etc..

There is a BER grant of €50 available through the SEAI with further amounts available if improvements are made following the assessment. Please note that some assessors charge an additional sum for processing grant paperwork.

If you’re in receipt of certain welfare payments, you may qualify for a fully funded energy upgrade. As of the 8th of February 2022, in a bid to tackle the most underperforming houses, an initiative was launched to prioritise homes built and inhabited prior to 1993 with a BER rating of E, F, or G. Existing applications remain unaffected by this development. Notably, qualifying householders who have previously availed themselves of the scheme may now apply for even more comprehensive measures. Furthermore, the eligibility requirements shall be broadened to encompass those who have been the recipients of Disability Allowance for at least half a year and have a child who is yet to turn seven.

How long does a BER Certificate last?

A BER cert is valid for 10 years. Unless that is, you undertake structural modifications or make alterations to your heating system. New homes sold off-plan can obtain a provisional BER based on the home’s design, which is valid for two years. However, when the home is constructed, the provisional BER must be replaced with a final BER.

In summary, understanding your home’s BER rating is essential for anyone looking to improve energy efficiency, lower costs, and reduce their carbon footprint. Whether you’re looking to sell, rent, or improve your home, a BER certificate is a legal requirement that provides valuable information and recommendations. By getting an SEAI-registered assessor to conduct a survey and provide a BER certificate and advisory report, you can identify areas for improvement and take steps to make your home more energy-efficient. With a higher BER rating, you can enjoy the benefits of a more comfortable, cost-effective, and sustainable home.

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