Ireland, like most of the EU is implementing the Building Energy Rating (BER)Scheme, (also know as the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD)). The idea of the scheme is that when you are buying or renting a house or apartment, you should be informed of how it performs from an energy point of view. On the other hand, it means that to sell/rent a house/apartment, you are obliged to have the house assessed and a BER certificate prepared for it.
So what’s in the assessment, well the idea is to include the main elements that control the houses energy consumption, but leaving out the things which depend on the user (as when you are buying/renting, it doesn’t matter that the last guy left the window open, or which TV he had), so really we’re talking about the fabric of the house, and the heating system.
The assessor will measure the walls, the roof, the windows, the floor, the door, chimneys, vents, etc, apply the relevant U-Value or air flow values, and from that generate a heat load for the house (assuming 2.4 occupants or something like that, who expect an average amount or heating/hot water). They will also look at the boiler and decide if it efficient.
From that relatively small amount of information a figure for the likely energy consumption of the house is generated, and rated according to a simple A-G scale. Buyers/Renters get to see the rating when deciding if they want to buy… and BOOM… energy is a consideration when houses are changing hands.
Well the other really cool thing, is that the report that goes with the certificate will tell you of what measures can be taken to improve the performance of the house… cool
What does it not do/do badly?
- It doesn’t take into account the way people use their house (but should it?)
- It doesn’t concern itself with consumer electronics, kitchen electrics, outside lighting
- Generally speaking the assessor will be applying rule of thumb figures to decide U-values of the walls and floors. These will be based on the age of the house, and a little table of what type of wall structures etc were common at different times. You could have Thermal Imaging camera in to get a more accurate read, but that would cost €€€.
- There is no enforcement to make you improve the building, its just a scheme to let you know how good/bad your building is.
- The rating is in M2, so really big house could score well, despite requiring a lot of energy to heat.