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A Guide to Building Energy Rating (BER)
What is BER?
A Building Energy Rating or BER is similar to the energy label on your fridge with a scale of A-G. A-rated homes are the most energy efficient and G the least efficient. From 1st January 2009, a BER certificate will be compulsory for all homes being sold or rented. If you are buying or renting a new house or apartment now, you may already be entitled to a BER – so ask the seller/landlord or their agent for it.
Along with the BER certificate, you will also receive an Advisory Report which will help you to identify how you might improve the energy performance of your home.
Who is entitled to a BER?
A seller must provide a BER to prospective buyers or tenants when a home is constructed, sold or rented under the following circumstances:

• New homes where planning permission was applied for on or after 1st January 2007;
• All homes for sale or rent on or after 1st January 2009.

There are exemptions for certain categories of buildings, e.g. protected structures and certain temporary building (Ref. S.I. No. 666 of 2006).
There are fines of up to €5,000 for non-compliance with the regulations.
How is BER calculated?
A BER is based on the characteristics of major components of the dwelling (wall, roof and floor dimensions, window and door sizes and orientations) as well as the construction type and levels of insulation, ventilation and air tightness features, the systems for heat supply (including renewable energy), distribution and control, and the type of lighting.

It covers annual energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation, lighting and associated pumps and fans, calculated on the basis of a notional standard family with a standard pattern of occupancy.

The energy performance is expressed as: (a) primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2/yr) represented on an A to G scale (see BER certificate); and
(b) associated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in kgCO2/m2/yr

A BER is only an indication of the energy performance of a house. Actual energy usage will depend on how the occupants operate the house. In that way it is similar to the concept of a fuel economy (miles per gallon or litres per 100 km) rating for a car.
A BER does not cover electricity used for purposes other than heating, lighting, pumps and fans, i.e. does not include for cooking, refrigeration, laundry etc.
What are the benefits of BER
A BER makes the energy performance of a home visible to prospective buyers and tenants and enables them to take energy performance into consideration in their next house purchase or rental decision.
Who carries out a BER assessment?
BER assessments are carried out by registered BER assessors who have been trained under the National Framework of Qualifications and have registered with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). All registered assessors must adhere to the BER Assessors Code of Conduct. A list of registered BER assessors is available online at www.seai.ie/ber
How much does a BER cost?
A person offering a home for sale or rent, or their agent, is required to employ a registered BER assessor to carry out an assessment. There is no set fee and the advice is to shop around for the best price. Make sure to confirm all fees prior to commissioning a BER assessment.
Assessors are charged a fee of €25 to submit a BER assessment to SEAI for publication on the National BER Register.
How long is a Ber valid for?
A BER is valid for up to 10 years provided that there is no material change to the dwelling that could affect its energy performance. The maximum term of validity of a Provisional BER is 2 years.
What is a provisional BER?
New homes offered for sale off plans also require a BER. In these cases, a Provisional BER will be issued based upon the design drawings and building specifications. When the home is completed, a BER based on an assessment of the final drawings and building specifications, which represent the house as constructed, is required. This BER must be supplied by the builder/developer on completion of any such homes sold off plans.
Who is responsible for the BER scheme?
The BER Scheme was established under the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 666 of 2006).
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has been designated as the Issuing Authority with responsibility for the registration of BER assessors, logging of BER assessments and ongoing management of the BER Scheme.
SEAI has put in place a comprehensive quality assurance system to audit BER assessors and BER assessments and to protect the integrity of the BER Scheme.
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