A Building Energy Rating (BER) is compulsory in Ireland for any building that’s for sale or up to let. The certificate indicates the energy performance of your building, with A being the most energy efficient and G the worst. The rating is calculated through energy use for the size of the space, hot water heating, ventilation and lighting, based on the average number of people for the size of building.
When the certificate is issued, as well as giving a rating, it will provide guidance on what measures can be taken to move your rating up the scale. Most of these are inexpensive and will improve your utility bills while you are still living in the property.
Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs were the best available in their time, but they have been surpassed by LED technology. By changing all your light bulbs to LED, the lighting portion of your energy bill can be reduced by up to 80 percent. Not only are LED lights more energy efficient, they last much longer, so cut down on the cost of replacements.
So much heat can be lost through gaps in window frames, doors, and letterboxes, that it can affect the warmth of your home. Draughts from these places can be uncomfortable if you’re sitting in the line of fire. Draught excluder tape can be used to close all these gaps and will help to keep the warm air in your home.
Best Attic Insulation
Heat rises, so if you do not have attic insulation you will lose a lot of heat through your roof. There are several different materials that can be used to stop this happening, but generally, choosing the best attic insulation depends on what the space is to be used for.
One of the most flexible and efficient, and therefore the best attic insulation for most situations, is spray foam insulation. You may think you already have the best attic insulation for your home, but if it’s a few years old it could have become compressed and damp, and that will make it inefficient. This does not happen with spray foam, so once it’s installed you can be certain you have the best attic insulation to help increase your BER rating.
Home insulation is a very effective way of reducing your energy bills, but it’s always best if the installation is carried out by the professional, or it could end up costing you money rather than saving it.
Jacket Your Tank
Your hot water tank should be replaced periodically, about every 15 years. As they age they become less energy efficient. You can help to keep your hot water warmer for longer by purchasing a lagging jacket for your boiler, no matter how old it is.
Just like it’s worth installing the best attic insulation, it’s also worth paying for a good quality lagging jacket as there thickness and the materials used can make a difference to how good a job they do.
While dealing with lagging it’s also worth covering any pipes around your home, as this will also help to increase your BER rating.
Change Wall Vents
Every home needs ventilation, but old wall vents can let the heat flood out of your home. You will sometimes notice people have covered them to try and alleviate the problem, but this is not the way to deal with it as you just shut off whatever ventilation there is. Newer disc vents can be shut and opened as required, so on a really cold day you can stop any inflow of cold air.
Change Your Fire Type
Open fires look wonderful, and give the impression of warmth even if they are not giving off much heat. Generally, only about 30 percent of the heat from an open fire goes into your home, the rest goes up the chimney. If you replace it with a wood-burning stove, the amount of heat entering your home is more like 65 percent, almost the same as an open fire throws away.
Insulate your walls
If you have cavity walls, insulating them can help to keep your home warmer, and will boost your Building Energy rating.
Upgrade Central Heating Controls
Upgrading your central heating controls has the biggest single impact on your BER. Older controls are not as flexible and sometimes do not allow for the heating of hot water as a separate function, which can be a problem in the summer months. Most of them allow for the heating going on or off on a 24 hour clock. By upgrading to a digital 7 day 3 zone time and temperature system you can save 500 euros a year on your heating bills.
Install Solar panels
Installing solar panels can reduce your water related energy bills by up to 70 percent.
Apply For Grants
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) offer grants towards the cost of several of these home improvements, and others that are energy saving related. Better Home Grants are available towards the cost of the best attic insulation, solar thermal systems, heating control upgrades, and fitting a new heat pump, among other things. If you carry out 3 or 4 of the measures, they will pay you higher rates and cash give bonuses.
The Irish government want to reduce the carbon footprint of the country, and the sooner they can reduce the amount of energy used in homes, the sooner it will happen.
Use The Professionals
It is possible to do some of these yourself, but generally you are better off letting the professionals do it for you. They will handle the work much quicker than you could, and you will end up with a better-finished product.
To have your attic insulated you should get in touch with Reilly Spray Foam, who only use top quality products and expert installers so you are guaranteed the best workmanship in Ireland.