The emission of Greenhouse gases such as CO2 are the root cause of climate change and advanced global warming.
Construction and use of residential buildings accounts for 30% of our national CO2 emissions.
In light of this need for the production of more energy efficient homes, tighter building regulations have since been imposed by the irish government and department of the environment, such as the New Building Regulations Amendment Part ‘L’, requiring that newly constructed homes lower their energy emissions and U-Values by almost 40% and also meet new renewable energy requirements.
In addition to this, as of January 2009 all new buildings need to get an energy rating certificate known as a BER or Building Energy Rating Certificate. BER assessors calculate the energy performance of the building in order to confirm that it is in compliance with the new regulations.
Similarly any existing buildings that are offered for sale of for rent will need to obtain a certificate, with the aim of making the energy performance of a building transparent and available to potential purchasers or tenants.
The BER certificate rates how efficient your house is at using energy and measures how much energy and carbon your house will use or produce over a given year.
It is based on the characteristics of the construction type and levels of home insulation, ventilation and structural air tightness features.
It also takes into account characteristics of major components of the dwelling (wall, roof and floor dimensions, window and door sizes etc.)
In addition it covers the systems for heat supply (including renewable energy), distribution and control, and the type of lighting.
It covers annual energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation, lighting and associated pumps and fans, calculated on the basis of a notional standard family with a standard pattern of occupancy.
*The certificate rates the energy performance of the appliance from A to G with ‘A’ being the most energy efficient homes and having the lowest energy bills.
For more information on this see the Sustainable Energy Ireland website.