Making your home more energy efficient could add up to 10% to its value

These findings were a result of research conducted on the impact BERs (Building Energy Ratings) had on the sale of 36,000 properties listed on the property

If you have sold a house in the past six years you will be familiar with BER ratings. They give an indication of the energy performance of a property, utilising a ranking system from A1 to G. And just like the energy labels on your household appliances such as your dishwasher and cooker, A- rated homes are the most energy efficient and tend to have low energy bills.

According to Tom Halpin of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the SEAI has noted a significant shift in the public’s attitude to the BER.

“In 2009, when BERs first became mandatory for all property sales, people may have seen them as an inconvenience,” says Tom. “However today prospective homeowners are checking the BERs before purchasing and they are affecting the price and pace of the sale.

“Detailed analysis of the Dublin market over the last five years – conducted by the SEAI and the ESRI – has shown that a one-point improvement in the scale from G to A1, yields a list price increase of 1%. That’s quite an increase and it’s clearly the reason why so many people are checking the BER before buying or renting. Those selling or renting are using it to identify inefficient areas of their home.”

Over half a million homes have carried out a BER audit

According to figures from the Central Statistics Office BER audits were carried out on 105,539 properties last year. This brings the total number of houses who have received audits since its introduction to over half a million.

What’s more, the figures show that more than three quarters of houses built in the last 15 years have received a rating of C or better.

“This is very satisfying because one of the main objectives for the BER and its prominence in the sales process is consumer empowerment,” says Tom. “It was introduced to make the energy performance visible to consumers so that they could compare properties much more easily.

“Take for example a typical inefficient 1980’s semi-detached house that’s about 120m2 in size.

“This home is likely to have partially insulated cavity wall construction, approximately 100mm of roof insulation, low performance double glazing, a 75% efficient oil or gas boiler and an open fire. The energy rating will probably be around D2, so pretty poor when compared to a home built today which might be A3.”

According to Tom a reasonably good upgrade and BER uplift for the above home could be achieved by installing 200mm additional insulation in the attic, filling the remaining cavity in the wall using blown polystyrene bead, upgrading the boiler to a 90% efficient condensing model and adding separate heating zones with time and temperature control.

While the improvements are likely to cost around €5,000, payback should be achieved within six years. More importantly, the BER of the home would improve to B3, a five point improvement on the BER scale.

Top tips

* Any property being sold today must have a BER rating.

* Shop around when getting someone to carry out a BER rating on your house as it’s an open market and prices can vary significantly.

* BERs are not just valuable for those buying or selling their home. By improving the BER rating of your current home you will reduce your heating bills over time.

* It’s your responsibility as a property owner to get a BER.