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What is a Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate and When is it Required in Ireland?

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Understanding how energy efficient a property is and how much carbon dioxide it emits into the atmosphere is important to both homebuyers and renters. In addition to the moral impetus to opt for energy efficient homes, homebuyers and renters also want to know that that a property is not going to cost them a fortune in energy bills.

In Ireland, you must provide a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate if you plan to sell or rent out a property. Below we explore the function of BER certificates, who regulates them, and how to get one for your property.

What is a Building Energy Rating (BER) and how is it regulated in Ireland?

A Building Energy Rating (BER) is a score that gives an indication of the energy performance of a building. It looks at aspects such as insulation, heating systems, ventilation, and renewable energy sources. Ratings range from A, which represents the highest level of energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions, to G, which represents the lowest energy efficiency.

In Ireland, the BER certification system is regulated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). SEAI was established in 2002 as Ireland’s national energy authority with a mission to transform Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies, and practices.

Which buildings require a BER certificate?

In Ireland, a BER certificate is required for all homes that are being sold or rented. The certificate is also required for newly built homes. In addition, non-residential buildings that are being sold or rented also require a BER certificate. The BER certificate must be provided by the seller or renter to the prospective buyer or tenant at the time of sale or rental.

How can I improve the energy rating of a property I am looking to sell or rent out?

Improving the energy rating of your property can make it more appealing to both potential buyers and renters. It also has the potential to increase the property’s value.

Some of the ways you can improve the energy rating of your property include the following:

  • Improving insulation – Adding insulation to your property is one of the most effective ways to improve its energy rating. This includes insulating your loft, walls, and floors where possible. Proper insulation reduces heat loss and therefore less energy is needed to warm the building.
  • Upgrading your heating system – If your heating system is old, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. Modern heating systems, such as condensing boilers, are far more efficient than older ones. Additionally, consider implementing programmable thermostats or smart heating controls that allow you to schedule when your heating comes on, avoiding energy waste.
  • Installing double glazing or energy-efficient windows – Double-glazed windows can significantly reduce heat loss compared to single-glazed windows. Moreover, if you are considering replacing windows, ensure they have good energy ratings.
  • Using energy-efficient appliances and lighting – Replace old appliances with new ones that have a high energy efficiency rating. Switching to LED lighting can also significantly reduce energy usage.
  • Installing renewable energy sources – Consider installing renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines. These will generate electricity for your home and reduce your dependence on the grid, which could significantly improve your BER rating.
  • Sealing drafts – Make sure doors and windows are sealed properly to prevent drafts. This can be as simple as adding weatherstripping or caulk to gaps and cracks.
  • Consider a ventilation system – Proper ventilation can contribute to a healthier and more energy-efficient home. Mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) systems, for instance, recover heat from exhaust air and use it to warm incoming fresh air.

Before making any large-scale changes, you may wish to consult with a BER assessor or an energy efficiency expert to see which improvements will give you the most significant benefits for your specific property.

How do I get a BER assessment for my property?

To get a BER assessment, you’ll need to hire a registered BER assessor. The assessor will examine your property and its energy systems, then provide a detailed report on its energy performance. The assessor will then submit the report to SEAI, who will issue the BER certificate. The cost of the assessment will vary, depending on the size and complexity of the property.

Is there a penalty in Ireland for failing to comply with the regulations?

Yes, there are penalties for failing to comply with BER regulations in Ireland. If a BER certificate is not provided at the time of sale or rental, the seller or landlord may be fined. The fines can range from €500 to €5,000, or even a prison sentence. If you’re selling or renting a property, it’s important to ensure you comply with the regulations to avoid a criminal record and a hefty fine.

Looking for assistance with buying or selling a property in Ireland?

If you are in the process of selling a property that you own and you require assistance with any aspect of the legal documentation, including advice relating to BER certificates, our expert conveyancing team will be glad to assist you. Should you require our solicitors to handle the entire conveyancing process for you, you can request a competitive conveyancing quote using our online form.

Joseph McCarthy

Joseph has been an integral member of our team since 2013, bringing a unique blend of expertise and dedication to his role. His specialisation lies in private client work, with a focus on conveyancing and probate. In simpler terms, Joseph’s role involves assisting homeowners and prospective homeowners in their property buying or selling journeys. He also offers support in managing the affairs of deceased individuals, guiding next of kin and executors through every stage of the process from the moment of a person’s death. Additionally, Joseph provides assistance in will drafting, ensuring his clients have peace of mind for the future. Joseph also regularly assists clients in creating Enduring Powers of Attorney and advises clients and their families on how to manage circumstances where a person’s mental capacities may be impaired.

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