Before your BER assessor visits, its essential they have all documents related to recent upgrade works and copies of recent energy bills. This will ensure they can provide the most accurate rating. On the day of the assessment, your assessor will need to access all areas of the building and carry out a range of measurements and tests. They will document the results and enter into a software tool named DEAP which will calculate and generate the actual BER certificate.
Proof of works done previously is everything when it comes to getting an accurate BER, SEAI requires documentary evidence to prove what upgrade measures have been done to the house. This can include receipts, sign off letters from contractors or architects, and as-built drawings. The important information needed is the type and thickness of the insulation used so the assessor can do an accurate U-Value Calculation. A lot of people are now putting in heat pumps. It is so important that the heat pump installer completes the “Designer/Installer Sign Off” so the assessor can use the correct efficiency for the heat pump in the BER
If you are not happy with the cost of heating or running your home or how comfortable your home is, the likelihood is you need a home energy assessment. This can be as basic as a walk through your home by a home energy assessor to identify some simple energy saving opportunities or as complex as a full energy audit on your home with air tightness testing and thermal imaging survey
Most BER Assessors now will do a home energy assessment for you. We recommend finding an assessor with a background in construction or retrofitting. It is important that the assessor understands how buildings work and what measure will work best for you.
A sound test is used identify how much noise comes through a Party Wall between your house or apartment and the house next door. Sound tests can also be carried out through floors of neighbouring apartments
Under TGD E of the current building regulations a sample of testing is required for all new residential developments to show the party walls and floors achieve a minimum sound resistance. The regulations require airborne sound test through party walls and floors. Impact test are also required between party floors. These regulations were introduced in 2014
An airborne sound test is carried out by creating a loud noise using a large speaker on one side of the wall and recording how much of that noise comes through the wall using a sound level meter. The same method applies to testing through floors. In order to carry out a sound test, the tester will need access to the two dwellings being tested and the dwellings need to be unoccupied
If the sound test fails to achieve the minimum rating, there may be an obvious cause such as vents too close together or holes in the party walls/floors. A failure will be the result of insufficient density in the wall/floor, or inconsistency in the building fabric. However noise transfer can be very complicated and a design solution will usually be required by an acoustic engineer. The engineer will design a solution based on the results from the sound test.
Independent ventilation verification is required on all new dwellings to ensure the building is adequately ventilated. An independent ventilation validator will check that you have enough fresh air vents in the house. They will check that your extractor fans are sized correctly, and if you have a Mechanical Ventilation System with Heat Recovery (MVHR), they will check that it is commissioned correctly and installed correctly.
Under TGD F 2019 of the Building Regulations, the ventilation in all new dwellings needs to be independently assessed and verified. This applies to all Naturally ventilated and mechanically ventilated dwellings.
If it’s a new house or apartment, ask to see the independent ventilation verification cert. Ensure all vents are open and clear. Do not block vents. Open the windows every morning to purge the house with fresh air. avoid drying clothes inside if possible. If this is not possible ensure the space is well ventilated by opening windows or installing a good mechanical extract fan. Ensure all bathrooms and shower rooms have extract fans and they are working correctly
Under TGD L 2019 all new domestic and commercial buildings need an air tightness test when the building is complete. The air tightness test result must be less than 5 m3/hour/m2 @ 50 Pascals to satisfy the building regulations. You might also get an air tightness test when doing a deep retrofit of a building to identify the areas that are most drafty. It can be especially useful when coupled with a smoke test or thermal imaging survey to identify where you are losing heat and if windows are badly sealed
Ensure nothing is left turned on when it doesn’t need to be turned on. Get a smart meter installed and ensure you run dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and water heating at night. change all the lights to low energy lights. Get a home energy assessment done.
This depends on the size of the building, but typical, a BER Survey for a 3 bedroom house takes around an hour. The assessor takes away the details from the survey to calculate the energy rating of the house using the DEAP software. This process will typically take 3-5 days
Home energy assessments should be the starting point for any renovation project. The assessment will identify the current energy rating on the property and what areas should be addressed to improve the energy rating. From this, the assessor will produce an Energy Road map with details of the recommended energy upgrades and the associated energy savings. This will have specific details of the type and thickness of insulation required to achieve a comfortable home. It will also include options for upgrading the heating system and adding renewable energy systems.
There is no best building system! All systems have their own pros and cons. They best system for one person may not be the best system for another. A good energy consultant will identify what is important to you and devise the best solution around your demands. Some of the criteria people consider is cost, efficiency, speed of construction, user friendliness, fuel preference, location, thermal mass, wall type, insulation type, occupancy, temperature, living habits, ventilation, type of windows, type of heating, water efficiency, renewable energy, environmental impact etc.
If your home has a lot of condensation on the windows, problems with mould in the corners of bedrooms and is generally stuffy, the chances are you have a problem with ventilation. If you live in a new dwelling with MVHR and the air is very dry or you have similar problems to the previously mentioned, the chances are you have a ventilation problem.
The BER rating can be improved in so many ways but the best improvements are typically achieved by insulating the roof and the walls, replacing single glazed windows, upgrading the heating system and heating controls and improving air tightness. Other things that make small improvements are low energy lights, replacing circulation pumps and adding a lagging jacket on hot water cylinders
High electricity costs can be associated with washing machines, dryers, electric showers, electric heating, heat pumps, circulation pumps and many other things. an energy consultant can set up a monitoring system on your house to assess what is using the most energy and how savings can be made
The way we build, heat, run, use and manage our buildings is changing at an alarming pace and trying to keep up with the pace can become overwhelming. We have so many decisions to make when we decide to take on a building project. The priority for most is have something comfortable that doesn’t cost a fortune to run. A good energy consultant will advise on the most cost effective building solution that meets the energy performance Targets set out in the Building Regulations without compromising on quality