Are you planning or are already working on a house renovation? Or maybe you have been thinking about selling or renting a house recently? If yes, then you have to have heard about BER (building energy rating). Frankly speaking, getting the BER of one’s home seems to be a very heated issue in Ireland nowadays. The reason is simple – such house energy rating is a good indicator of how much improvement is needed to make your property warmer, more comfortable and more cost-efficient. If your home’s BER isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, there are a number of things you can do to upgrade your house’s overall performance, including the change of your front doors.
Still don’t quite get the idea of the building energy efficiency rating? Read on to learn more!
What is the best BER rating
BER stands for Building Energy Rating. It shows the energy performance of your home, ranging from A to G. It is the indicator of how much you will be likely to spend on energy, how much carbon your home produces and how comfortable your home will be. G-rated homes are the least energy-efficient, they require more energy to heat and lead to higher energy bills and higher carbon emissions. A-rated homes, on the contrary, are the most energy efficient ones. They require less energy to heat and this, in turn, means lower carbon emissions and lower energy bills.
BER certificates were introduced into law in Ireland in 2006. Since then, all houses for sale or rent must have a BER rating. It is very important as a house with a higher building energy efficiency rating achieves higher prices and is generally easier to sell. If you are retrofitting your home, you’ll also need an up-to-date BER certificate, especially if you are applying for government grants. In case of the latter, a building energy rating cert will be needed to complete the grant paperwork. When it comes to non-domestic properties (such as offices, hotels or retail units) for sale or rent, they need an energy performance commercial certificate. Such a commercial BER cert gives information about the energy efficiency of the building and its running costs.
How is BER rating calculated
BER certificates are provided by independent SEAI BER assessors. You can find them through the SEAI’s register. SEAI is a governmental body that promotes and aids the development of sustainable energy in Ireland, offering various home energy upgrade options as well as individual grants. A registered SEAI BER assessor will pay you a visit to determine your house energy rating.
A building energy rating is calculated based on the amount of energy a home requires for space heating, hot water heating, ventilation, the building fabric and lighting. Important factors taken into account while completing such calculations also include home’s insulation, its age, windows and front doors. When a SEAI BER assessor completes the assessment, they will provide you with a BER certificate and an advisory report. The latter will guide you towards the most efficient energy upgrades to increase the comfort and value of your home.
- BER chart (source: SEAI)
Generally, when planning any energy upgrades to your home, you should aim for a B2 energy rating. This rating will give you the most energy savings for the money you invest. You failed to achieve a BER rating of B2? Don’t worry, there are many ways to improve the energy performance of your house!
How to improve building efficiency rating
There are a number of upgrades to install to enhance your energy efficiency house rating. Obviously, some of them are more expensive than others so it’s up to you to decide which one to choose. Your budget and ambition will be determining factors in how much work you want to engage in. The cost of work will depend on a number of aspects, including how efficient your house is to start with. Look at the list below to compare the options and see what works for you:
Improve your house insulation
There are 3 main types of wall insulation: cavity insulation, internal wall insulation and external wall insulation. Each type has a different effect on overall building energy rating. By improving your property insulation, you could save money in the long run by reducing your heating bills. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
Check your ventilation system
The signs of inadequate ventilation, such as persistent condensation and mould growth, will probably be addressed by a SEAI BER assessor in the first place. In order to ensure sufficient levels of ventilation in your house, it is important not to permanently close or cover over air vents, as they provide better airflow. If you have older vents that may need replacing, check the Fenbro offer HERE.
Reduce your hot water thermostat
When you install a smart thermostat, you will be more efficient with your energy use and able to increase your energy efficiency house rating. Most smart thermostats will automatically turn down the heating when you’re away to help you save energy. It’s as easy as that!
Choose low energy lighting
Replacing older non-efficient light bulbs is one of the simplest ways to improve your house energy rating. Upgrade your property with low-energy LED light bulbs and you’ll quickly see a noticeable decrease in electricity bills.
Switch to renewable energy
Solar panels have been gaining popularity around the world recently. Firstly, it is because they are much more affordable now and secondly, there is the growing awareness of the importance of reducing carbon emissions. It is undoubtedly one of the most proven ways to increase the building energy rating of your house!
Replace single glazed windows
Upgrading your windows to either double or triple glazing is always a worthwhile investment. If you replace your old windows with more energy-efficient ones, you will not only get a better BER rating, but you’ll also make a significant improvement to the comfort of your home and reduce your heating bills. If you still do not realise the difference between different window glazing types and their characteristics, go to THIS blog article for more useful information. Generally, there are a few important features that will help you differentiate between “good” and “bad” windows and these include the type of window frame material, window frame installation depth (preferably 80 mm and more), number of gaskets (preferably 3) and a triple glazed unit with a thickness of 48 mm and a thermal insulation coefficient of Uw = 0.5 W/m2K ( the lower Uw, the better). We have advised you on choosing the best windows for your home in our previous blog article HERE.
Invest in new front doors
New external door is an important contributor to better building energy efficiency rating. Installing state of the art front doors will help you get rid of heat loss and thus, significantly reduce your energy bills. What is more, new front doors will really freshen up the appearance of your home and increase its market value. So if you’ve been planning to replace your exterior doors, do not wait for a SEAI BER assessor to point it out to you!
Upgrading BER home rating with new doors
External doors play a very important role in the overall energy efficiency and building energy rating (BER). Inefficient doors will let heat leak out and channel cold draughts into your rooms. That’s why if you are planning to improve airtightness, increase the comfort levels in your home and reduce heating requirements, always consider front door replacement as your first choice. However, not all doors are equally efficient – check which factors affect the BER the most when it comes to external doors:
The material of the external door can significantly impact its energy efficiency. Doors made of wood or metal will offer better insulation than those manufactured from low-quality materials. However, the thermal insulation of the entrance door is determined primarily by the insulation layer – it is most often mineral wool, polystyrene, or polyurethane foam. Wooden or steel doors are generally insulated with polyurethane foam or mineral wool. Doors for passive houses are filled with polyurethane foam.
External doors with glazing units inside the door leaf or front door with side panels will also impact your building energy efficiency rating. Double-glazed or triple-glazed units with low-e coatings can improve insulation and reduce heat transfer, leading to better energy performance of your door and entire property.
The door heat transfer coefficient is marked with the symbol U and is given in units of W/(m2 *K). The lower the coefficient value, the smaller the heat losses. Ud-value is influenced by several factors, such as the type of door material, its thickness, thresholds, seals and the door fitting itself. The common value of the coefficient for the entire leaf, including the frame and all equipment elements, should not exceed 0.8 W/m2k for energy-efficient buildings. However, there are also special external doors designed for passive houses and certified by the prestigious Passive House Institute in Darmstadt.
Energy-efficient doors from the Fenbro offer
Functional and stylish external doors are a basic element of every modern home. Additionally, top-quality front doors should be safe, warm and characterised by good thermal insulation parameters. High energy efficiency of the doors will allow you to maintain the optimal temperature inside the rooms, which, in turn, will contribute to energy savings and better building efficiency rating in the SEAI BER assessment. Fenbro offers a wide selection of extremely aesthetic and energy efficient front door models.
They are willingly chosen by our customers due to their exceptional solidity, diverse designs and very good thermal insulation parameters. Available in 5 basic lines, they match the current architectural trends and the requirements for a building energy rating (BER) certificate. When planning your house energy upgrade, you should especially take into account the following lines:
- ALU HYBRID
Non-rebated and flush door line, combining two proven technologies: an aluminium frame and a fibreglass composite with a carbon coating. As standard, it is equipped with hidden hinges with 3D adjustment, an espagnolette with eight locking points, a hitching strip along the entire length of the frame and a threshold with a rainwater drainage system. All this resulted in an excellent thermal transmittance coefficient of Ud=0.54W/m2K for the entire door.
- TERMO PRESTIGE LUX
A line of doors characterised by exceptional energy efficiency, intended for energy-efficient and passive houses. Warm Termo Prestige door frames are equipped with two gaskets and a thermal insulation insert in each chamber, which leads to excellent insulation parameters: Ud = 0.79 (for doors without glazing).
- OPTIMUM TERMO
It is a high line of external doors which provides very good insulation parameters: Ud = 0.85 (for doors without glazing). It is a reasonable and energy-efficient choice at a more affordable price. Rich door equipment combined with a durable door frame guarantees comfortable use of the door for many years to come.
Wooden doors have excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties – therefore, investing in them is yet another measure to improve your BER rating. Wooden doors by DERPAL are fully safe, functional, modern and weather-resistant thanks to their manufacturing method, based on glued wood. These doors are made from selected pine and oak wood obtained from Polish certified forests. The latter, combined with carpentry craftsmanship, results in one of the most solid and warm joinery products available on the market.
DERPAL front doors are characterised by leaf thickness of 74-82 mm and a double system of foam seals in the door leaf and frame. In the case of wooden door models with glass inserts, you get a triple-glazed unit with two chambers, based on tempered or safety glass. The door frame is manufactured from 100% glued wood.
A building energy rating (BER) helps you to save money on heating bills as you adopt energy-efficient solutions. A higher BER requires your home to be well insulated, ventilated, and equipped with joinery products that help to reduce heat losses. Today, it is no longer enough for front doors to be nice and solid. For an energy-efficient house, it is worth choosing entrance doors with the best possible thermal insulation properties. However, the latter are possible to achieve only when the front doors are installed in a professional and failure-free way. If you want to upgrade your house energy rating with excellent front doors, check the Fenbro offer and window and doors fitting services in Ireland!