Building Energy Rating


Non-Technical Option | Specific Example
Climate | Climate & Air | Energy

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From January 1st, 2009, a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate became compulsory for all homes being sold or offered for rent in Ireland. A BER is an indication of the energy performance of a home. It covers energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting calculated on the basis of standard occupancy. the label of a BER certificate contains a scale from A to G, with A-rated homes the most energy efficient and generally have the lowest energy bills. The certificate is accompanied by an advisory report which identifies how the energy performance of a home might be improved. The labels can serve as a useful indicator of the expected energy demands of a home, though the behaviour and operation of the house by its occupants remains a key factor.

The measure is in essence focused on reducing an information defecit which can contribute to inaction or indifference by occupants, vendors and purchasers to the energy performance of the home.  By measuring performance in line with a standardised methodology, the BER rating system creates awareness of energy performance in the context of housing, and can thereby encourage users to explore the potential scope for improvements. The BER is also growing to become a significant dataset that offers value to analytical and modelling teams.


Though compulsory for all homes offered for sale or rent from January 1st 2009, a BER certificate is also required, subject to transitional arrangements, where construction of a new home began on or after 1st January 2007. There are exemptions for certain categories of homes, for example, protected structures and certain temporary homes. A new home (i.e that has never been sold or occupied) is exempt from the BER requirement if the planning application was submitted on or before the 31st December 2006 and if it was substantially completed by 30th June 2008. 'Substantially completed' means that the external walls have been erected.

BER assessments are carried out by registered BER Assessors who have been trained under the National Framework of Qualifications and have registered with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

As of August 2012 there have been 309,702 Domestic BER completed, and 9.591 non-domestic buildings rated.


BER Example


As of yet the author is aware of no formal studies having evaluated the impact of the BER standards introduction in Ireland. However, the dataset on BER ratings does offer an important set of information in regards to housing energy performance across the country and will be increasingly valuable as the ratings develop and as increasing pressure to manage domestic energy use mounts.

Costs & Benefits

The fee for a BER for a building is payable by the owner (directly or through their agent) and is responsible for any fees payable to the BER Assessor. The administrative costs for the managing agency in Ireland (SEAI) have not been formally assessed. The impact and benefits have similarly not yet been quantified.

Evidence & Reference

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland maintain accurate and up-to-date information on the format and progress of this measure in Ireland.

Modelling this Measure

The BER data offers some value to the general modelling of domestic energy demand and potential changes in domestic energy demand through a variety of interventions.


All information sourced from the SEAI website

Site Entry Created by J A Kelly on Mar 25, 2011

Reference This Source (2019). Building Energy Rating. Available: Last accessed: 24th April 2019

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