BER – What Does it Mean for Your Home?

Picture of bar-chart in rainbow colours inside a template of a house with the sky as a back-drop.

In today’s property market, we’re all looking for ways to improve our homes while keeping costs to a minimum. Whether we’re looking to move to a new home or simply make sure our current castle is in as good nick as possible, energy efficiency and in particular BER, is a hot topic.

What is BER?
A ‘BER’ or building energy rating is a rating on the overall energy efficiency of a residential or commercial building. Similar to how household appliances like fridges come with energy labels, BER is measured on a scale of A to G, with the most energy efficient being A1 and the least energy efficient being G.

Why improve your house’s BER?

By improving your BER, you will improve the energy efficiency of your home. If you are looking to buy or sell your home, it must be BER certified. At the same time, if you are looking at buying or renting a new property yourself, you are entitled to see a BER on request.

How to improve your BER?
You can improve the building energy performance of your home by carrying out some of the following measures:

• increasing the insulation in your attic, walls and floor

• insulating the pipes and hot water cylinder

• installing advanced energy efficient glazing in your windows

• installing controlled healthy ventilation

• inserting a new, more efficient boiler

• modernising your heating controls

• installing renewable energy heating systems where possible

It’s also interesting to note that they type of home you live in will have a great effect on its energy efficiency. Compared to an apartment, terraced and semi-detached houses use 24% more energy and detached houses use 42% more.

However, is it really worth going to great expense to improve the building energy rating of your home?

Criticism of BER rating system – is it worth it?
BER has been criticised for being more of a theoretical measurement of the amount of energy your home uses instead of actually showing what this energy use may mean to your pocket.

A recent study by the Economic and Social Research Institute has shown that the energy savings of 10% per movement along the A1 to G3 scale of improvement for BER, is only matched by a saving of 1.3% in heating costs.

It has also been noted that the factors taken into account by BER are quite general, both in terms of how they’re applied to different types of property and the type of energy use BER takes into account. BER looks at heating, lighting and ventilation while some experts feel it would be more accurate to look at laundry, cooking, television and entertainment such as computers.

The verdict – does your BER really matter?
At the end of the day, it’s clear that any improvement along the BER scale is worth it. Studies suggest that for every downwards point on the BER scale, the price of the property dips by 1.3%. The process of improving your BER will also make you more conscious of the energy you’re using and while simply living in a more energy efficient home will not improve your bills, a better knowledge of energy usage most certainly will.

If you’re considering a home improvement to increase your BER, allow AIB to take the financial stress out of it. Take a look at our home improvement personal loan options today or get a quote for a home improvement loan.

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