# BER statistics

#1

From the SEAI site.

Monthly Stats Report - PDF

Interesting stuff. Shocking that there are still new dwellings being built to a D,E,F and G standard.

But how should a buyer value a BER rating? Well let’s assume two houses, both 100m2, both with oil heating, but one with a B2 rating and the other with an F rating. The B2 rated house will need 10,000 kWHrs of energy per annum, while the F rated house will need 40,000 kWhrs.

https://www.bercerts.ie/images/BER%20cert%20rating.png
kWhrs/m2/annum for the different ratings.

Assuming a litre of oil contains 11 kWhrs, and the system is 75% efficient, and oil costs 80c/litre, the B2 rated house will have an annual energy bill of €970. The F rated house will have an energy bill of €3880.

This €3000 annual additional cost impacts on the affordability to such a degree that the buyer of the F rated house has to reduce their top offer by at least €50,000. As prices continue to fall this €50k becomes a larger proportion of the sale price and the importance of the BER rating starts to become extremely important.

It won’t be long before a poor BER rating could reduce the value of a home by 30-40%

My two cents.

#2

Expected comfort levels of occupants or poor BER rating

#3

That’s a very fair point.

#4

So how much money do solar panels save per annum ?

#5

I don’t see in the report where it says that these are BER’s issued to new houses?

I would have assumed that they are new BER’s issued to existing houses.

AFAIR, and I stand to be corrected as I haven’t doubled checked, I think that a house built to the current building regs should not fall below a B3 rating.

You are assuming that no effort is ever made to improve the BER rating of the property, the price penalty will be more like the cost of improving the performance of the property to an acceptable level assuming it is economic to do so.

That’s a question that should only really be addressed after other elements of the house have been improved first, the low hanging fruit is insulation (B & Q have a great offer running at the moment on Rockwool insulation if you want to improve your attic insulation) then other elements should be addressed such as the efficiency of the boiler and heating system. In the overall scheme of things solar panels will be one of the last things a householder should be investing in.

Depending on their usage habits a family of 4 will probably use about 4,000 - 5,000 kWh of hot water in a year. Assuming good orientation, pitch and no shading, 6m2 of good quality solar panels should provide about 60% of that demand and importantly should provide 100% of hot water demand in the summer months when traditionally in Ireland hot water is normally heated by an electric immersion heater.

It is generally uneconomic to install enough solar panels to provide 100% of year round hot water demand as the area of panels required to meet the demand in mid winter would be huge. In any case in the Irish context most houses have a boiler which will heat hot water as well as providing space heating and as long as the boiler is going to be running for the space heating it is an efficient method of also heating the hot water.

It should be noted that the performance of solar panels varies widely. You should look at the test results of panels from a recognised national testing institute and then compare the output per m2 of the panels and then factor in the price so that you can compare the output per € invested and base your decision on that.

However even that comparison is not infallible as you are relying on the panel manufacturer to provide panels which are consistent in quality with the panel that they submitted to the test institute.

#6

It’s there alright, - on page 7.
6,000 of 26,000 BER’s were C or less.

I completely accept that there are improvments that can be made to improve a BER rating, but it’s not possible to get from an F rating to a B2 rating without making some fairly radical improvements. That could include replacing existing windows and doors with high performance double glazing, insulating the exterior of the property (if possible, or depending on the build type, dry lining the inside), having the attic properly insulated, a new heating system , All that is easy when building the property, but it gets a whole lot more disruptive and expensive when it’s done to an existing home. Consider the difficulty of insulating an attic with an existing attic conversion.

I’ll dig up some examples of the costs involved in raising the BER to a B2 rating. I suspect I may have over-egged the pudding, but I’m sure that won’t be held against me.

#7

I stand corrected! Pretty shocking that any new house can get such low results and really calls into question “building control” or the lack of it in Ireland when houses are allowed to be built with such low performance which are clearly outside of the building regulations.

I wasn’t suggesting that every poorly performing house should be upgraded to B2 only that your figure for loss of value of €50,000 assumed no possible upgrading whatsoever. And I did of course put in the rider “assuming it is economic to do so”

#8

If you have an apartment with storage heating then you can expect a G rating.

#9

It seems that the rating can be subjective. My parents and their neighbour had different raters and were rated on different things and got different ratings, even though neither had work done to their houses. I spoke with a friend who is involved in assessing assessors, who said that can happen.

#10

Of course there are a host of things that can be done to get from an F-Rating to a D1 or C3 rating, and at relatively low cost, but it gets more and more difficult to make the improvements necessary to reach the B2 standard. These ‘low hanging fruit’ are plucked from the tree and eaten very early on in the process, and the additional necessary steps require a considerable expense.

It’s difficult to find anything definitive on the cost of renovation works necessary to achieve a higher BER rating. I remember Construct Ireland had a couple of case studies, but unfortunately I haven’t found them yet.

But here are a couple of nice graphs.

#11

+1. I’ve heard similar stories. As far as I’m aware, a house built to the Passive House standard (requires NO energy) would fail to get an A rating in the Irish assessment. But generally I think the scheme has value. It definitely needs to be properly policed though…

#12

We live in a temperate climate so heating only required for four months of the year. I think energy costs for houses are over emphasised in a lot of cases. If people are more energy aware then can save a lot. A lot of people expect to be able to only wear a t shirt in their house in December.

Main energy costs in a lot of places are cooling costs in summer. Passive houses are big in the Middle East for that reason. Company in Kerry is a leader in passive house technology.

#13

I had a conversation with an EA this week about BER ratings, and how subjective they are.
I went to see a house a few months go that had a D rating - no idea how it got it. Windows were original steel frame single glazed, and some of the glass was broken so there was wind blowing through the house. Minimal attic insulation, no wall insulation and the house was a bit damp. But it has a new efficient gas boiler which was enough to bring up the rating.
The EA told me that he previously had a house for sale, and the BER assessor told him that changing 2 light bulbs in the main living area to energy saving bulbs, and putting a balloon in the original fireplace chimney would improve the rating.
I think the rating has merit, but can’t always be taken at face value without your own inspection of the building, and an understanding of how the rating was achieved and how it can be improved.

#14

Can you ask to see say the 2 previous years heating and electricity bills when negotiating on a house? Not a lot of help if there were periods of unoccupancy but might helpe in some cases.

#15

My parents and their neighbours got exactly the same rating even though one house has replacement double glazed windows and the other has original single glazed. AFAIK the biggest single loss of energy is from windows, so there must be something wrong there

#16

Here’s the DEAP software that is used to do the BER cert. It’s very straightforward to use and it should give an insight into how the different factors are taken into account. You don’t need an assessor number to use it.

#17

Also try and minimize glazing north facing and maximise south facing (as per passiv haus). I hear of a lot of people now especially in new builds opting for triple glazing but apparently the U value of the glazing is more important to watch out for.

#18

One wrinkle in this otherwise useful piece of advice is that I’ve found that a windy day sucks heat out of even decent double-glazing. As our prevailing strong winds are south-westerly…

#19

It’s a common misconception that Passive houses require no energy or additional heating, I was guilty of it myself until not too long ago.

Passive houses must fulfil a range of criteria before they can be certified as passive but the main one is that the heating load should be less than 10 W/m² whilst maintaining an indoor temperature of 20°C. So on the coldest day of the year a 200m² house should require no more than 2000w of heat to keep the entire house at 20°C, a two bar electric heater would do the job.

But it is true to say that because of the way the BER is calculated many passive houses don’t get an A1 BER rating as one might expect.

As has been discussed here previously the BER system certainly has it’s flaws particularly as it is mostly a paper exercise but it is definitely better than what we had before i.e. nothing!

#20

+1
I found this software easy to use & gave me very useful insights into energy waste at home & insights into how the regulations can be (mis)interpeted by assesors.
Tis worth walking a mile in their shoes.