How to improve your home’s BER

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An energy efficient home can save you considerable money on bills, it’s better for the environment and sometimes it can even help you lower your home insurance premium. A property that has solid insulation and double-glazed windows for example requires less energy to heat. This is because your home heating system doesn’t have to strain to replace the heat that is being naturally lost. So how do you know if your home is losing energy? This comes from your Building Energy Rating – also known as BER.  

The BER of your home indicates energy efficiency and it is measured on a scale of A – G. The BER assessment looks at your home’s current insulation, heating supply and ventilation. This information is then recorded and a document that provides the energy rating in addition to recommendations.

So, what BER is good and what is bad?

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The BER grade scale essentially works like a school grading system. A home that has achieved a rating of ‘A’ is exceptionally energy efficient. However, a home that achieves a property rating of G needs significant improvements in order to make it more efficient and economical. Similar again to the Irish school system within letter categories there is also a number category. For example, A1, A2, A3. For your home to reach an A1 standard then it must use less than 25kwh/m2 per year. Essentially, the better the BER of your home the more economical it is for you.

Why is a BER important?

Firstly, it’s illegal for a new build in Ireland not to have a BER cert as well as any existing homes that are for sale or for rent. This law applies to not only residential but commercial buildings too.  Nowadays, owners of older houses are expected to take measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

So how do you improve your BER?

If we’ve got you thinking about BER and efficiency and you think your home might require changes to bring it up to speed, then worry not. If you would like to bring your home up to a B or C rating, then we have some tips.

Get a handle on draughts:

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Heat is lost through gaps, and we’ll discuss some more about this when we move on to insulation. Draughts are caused by air passing from the outside or the inside, or from the inside to the outside. Because of the pressure differences are caused by wind or warmer indoor temperatures, rather than ventilation which you can control, draughts cause heat loss. Hence, it’s vital that you identify any draughts in your home and try to rectify the problem.

Inspect your household doors, are they worn at the edges? Are they beginning to allow cold air in? If so, then it might be worth replacing them and getting a new door. If your windows aren’t double glazed then chances are heat is escaping through this too.

If you have fireplaces in your home that are not in use, then you should consider having these blocked off. A lot of heat can escape through your chimney and similarly lots of colder air can enter. However, if you use your fire place even once in a blue moon, then do not attempt to block your chimney as this could cause a fire. You don’t want to have a mess on your hands or have to ring your home insurance company.

Insulation:

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Insulation is essential when it comes to heating your house. It’s probably one of the most important aspects to consider especially if you are buying or building a new home. While a significant amount of people believe that the majority of heat in your home is lost through the roof, 65% of the heat in your home in reality, is lost through the walls, windows and doors. This may go against everything you have ever heard, however it’s true! The flooring in your house is the culprit for approximately 15% of heat loss.

Cavity wall insulation can help to stop vast amounts of heat escaping through your walls and attic. If you have a hunch that your insulation isn’t up to scratch, it might be worth having someone come and take a look at it. An independent professional will not only be able to give you a more informed opinion about where you are losing heat, but they will also be able to give you a quote on how much it is going to cost.

There are grants available from the SEAI in order to adequately insulate your house. It’s good idea to read up on all the requirements ahead of applying for the grant before you put yourself through the application process.

Lightbulbs:

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While it might be a small step, changing your lightbulbs will have an effect on your energy rating! Your current light bulbs could be substituted for compact fluorescent lamps. These lights use less energy and last far longer than a standard bulb. These bulbs will also help to improve your BER rating, so it really is a win-win.

What are the benefits of improving the BER rating in your home?

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If you are considering a home build then a good BER rating will help you reduce the cost of running a home moving forward. If you are considering rent a property with a good BER rating then this will lower the costs that you have to pay on bills. Working on your BER rating can also impact the cost of your home insurance premium so it’s worth mentioning to your home insurance broker!

At insuremyhouse.ie we want to ensure that you get the best home insurance premium at the best price! Contact our expert home insurance brokers today!