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.