Ber To Apply To All Existing Buildings From 1st January 2009

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) has today announced that 82% of new homes that have published a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate have achieved a B rating. Of these 40% received B2s while 8% of all new homes received A ratings and 10% received C ratings. SEI reminded homeowners that from January 1st 2009 a BER certificate will be required by law for all existing dwellings, offered for sale or lease. The 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 building purchase or rental decision.

A BER, which is a requirement of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, is similar to the energy label on a fridge and carries a scale from A-G, with A being the most efficient. Currently a BER certificate must be supplied by anyone selling or letting a new home where planning permission was applied for on or after 1st January 2007. From 1st January 2009 the same requirement will apply to all existing homes and buildings. SEI anticipates that when existing homes come under the BER the average rating for the majority of Irish homes built in the 1980s will be a D1.

SEI is this week publishing the methodology and software for calculating ratings for existing homes which is based on that used to rate new homes. There are minor differences between the two and the 3,250 BER assessors already certified will require additional familiarisation on the software and survey rules for existing homes. Training on the new methodology will also be available from the 20 BER training providers in Ireland which will facilitate the commencement of assessments for existing homes in advance of January 1st 2009.

Kevin O'Rourke, Head of Built Environment, SEI said; "The exemption period for existing homes will conclude in just over two months time and it is important that building owners, and their agents, are aware that they will require the certificate before selling or letting the property. We are also keen for consumers to realise the benefits that BER will bring to anyone purchasing or renting a house. The rating aside, the accompanying Advisory Report will be a useful guide to the range of energy efficiency improvements that can be made to improve the building's energy performance."

SEI has been designated as the Issuing Authority with responsibility for the registration of BER assessors, logging of BER assessments and the overall administration of the BER Scheme. In order to obtain a BER, a homeowner must have an assessment carried out by a certified BER assessor who is trained under the National Framework of Qualifications and registered with SEI. A BER is based on the building's characteristics, (walls, roofs, floors, windows, doors) as well as levels of insulation, ventilation, lighting, and heating systems, including renewable energy technologies.

SEI is also advising that anyone buying or renting a new house or apartment may already be entitled to a BER and should ask the seller/landlord or their agent for it. Along with the BER certificate, they will also receive an Advisory Report which will help identify how to improve the energy performance of the building, reducing the energy costs in the home, and helping them do their bit for the environment.

A BER is valid for up to ten years provided that there is no material change to the dwelling. New homes offered up for sale off plans can be issued with a provisional BER which is valid for a maximum of two years.

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