Frequently Asked Questions

Hello, How can we help?

Want to find out more about building energy ratings or energy upgrades? The answer to your questions and much more can be found below.

FAQ

Some of our most frequent questions asked.

Air Tightness

The air tightness tests should be carried out by a person certified by an independent third party. e.g. the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) or equivalent. Below is a link to a list of NSAI certified air tightness testers.

>>>> https://www.nsai.ie/certification/agrement-certification/air-tightness-testing/

You can find profiles for NSAI certified air tightness testers on our website at the below link.

>>>> https://bertech.ie/air-tightness/

Uncontrolled air leakage commonly occurs at interfaces between construction materials and service penetrations. It can have a negative impact on comfort, health and energy. As such control of air leakage is a fundamental part of an energy efficient design strategy. During the design process it is important to identify the primary air barrier elements. Good quality design detailing is required. During the construction process it is important that the builder fully understands the air tightness details and responsibility for construction and the related quality control procedures are clearly established. Intermediate air pressure testing may form part of the quality control procedures in order to check if any issues exist and allow remedial works to be carried out at an early stage. The acceptable construction details (ACD’s) will be required as evidence to show the thermal performance details have been constructed as per the design. These also contain checks for the air barrier and should be signed by the responsible supervisor of the works. See below link to the ACD’s for wall insulation as an example.

>>>> https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/building-standards/tgd-part-l-conservation-fuel-and-energy/acceptable-construction-details-1

Yes, in accordance with the paragraph 1.5.4.2 of technical guidance document part L 2019, air pressure testing should be carried out on all dwellings on all development sites including single dwelling developments as outlined in paragraph 1.5.4.3 to 1.5.4.5 to show attainment of backstop value of 5m3/hr/m2. See below link to the technical guidance documents, Part L2019 for the Conservation of Fuel and Energy.

>>>> https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/building-standards/tgd-part-l-conservation-fuel-and-energy/technical-guidance-document-l-2

Building Energy Ratings

It is part of the European & International response to the environmental and global warming crisis. The building and construction sector has a significant impact on the environment, global warming and has been identified as a key sector for carbon reduction. The EU estimates that buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is the legislative instrument in Europe in relation to promoting energy efficiency in the building sector. This has had a significant impact in Ireland. The original EPBD 2002/91/EC included for the establishment of a calculation methodology for the energy performance of buildings and the making available of energy performance certificates whenever buildings were constructed, sold or rented. The second and current directive, 2010/31/EU (the EPBD recast) widened the scope of the directive and raised standards. All new buildings must be nearly zero energy buildings by the 31st of December 2020.

The survey will involve the following:

• Establishing the orientation and shelter of the dwelling

• Accurate dimensional survey of the dwelling to establish the volume.

• Accurate dimensional survey of all windows and doors

• Inspection of the fabric of the building, floor, walls, roofs, windows, doors etc

• Inspection of the space and water heating systems, including the controls present.

• Inspection of the ventilation in the dwelling

• Inspection of the lighting in the dwelling

Approximate estimates of the time for a survey is between 1.5 hours to over two hours depending on the size and complexity of the dwelling.

A Building Energy Rating (BER) is an indication of the energy performance of a building. It covers energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting, calculated based on standard occupancy. It is expressed as primary energy use per unit floor area per year (kWh/m2/yr). “A” rated properties are the most efficient and will tend to have the lowest bills. It is calculated using software developed by the Sustainable Authority of Ireland.

SEAI have a facility to find a BER assessment if you have the MPRN number from you electrical bill available. Click on the link below to find the details of your BER rating. You can contact the SEAI for further assistance to retrieve a copy of your BER certificate.

>>>>https://ndber.seai.ie/pass/ber/search.aspx

>>>>https://www.seai.ie/contact-us/

The cost of a building energy rating (BER) will depend on a number of variables. These can have an impact on how long it will take the assessor to survey the dwelling and carry out the associated calculations using the Domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP). To assist the assessor with providing an accurate quotation you can provide the following information:

• The location (Townland and County)

• Your favoured survey date and time

• Property type, ie detached, semi detached, bungalow, etc

• How many bedrooms

• Type of heating system

• Description of any additions to the original building such as, extensions, conservatory, attic conversations, etc

• The purpose of the rating, ie, selling, letting, grant application, etc

To receive an accurate quotation you can contact a BER assessor by using the links to their contact pages on the profiles. Included in the quotation will be a €30 fee which is paid by the assessor to SEAI in order to upload the assessment to the domestic national administration system (NAS).

Click on the link to find an assessor >>>> https://bertech.ie/ber-assessors/

Typically a BER Certificate is valid for ten years. A provisional BER Certificate, produced from the plans of a new build, is valid for a maximum of two years.

The information collected must be entered into the DEAP calculation software. All the information associated with the dwelling must be carefully stored so that it is available should the property be selected for audit by the SEAI. The calculation and administration will take several hours depending on the complexity of the dwelling. An approximate estimate for a standard 3 to 4 bed semi detached dwelling is between 3 and 5 hours. More complex dwellings may take longer. The certificate will be provided within a reasonable timescale of the survey in accordance with the assessor’s schedule and workload but generally most assessors endeavour to provide the certificate within one week of the survey date.

It will greatly speed up the survey if you can ensure the assessor has easy access to all parts of the dwelling, windows, doors and the heating system such as the boilers and hot water cylinders.

If you have carried out any upgrades to the dwelling and want to include these in the survey, it is important that you can produce the adequate documentation and evidence to demonstrate the works carried out. These can be the declaration of works forms signed by the contractor, material certificates, delivery dockets, photographic evidence etc.

Evidence of the age of the property and especially the age of any extensions.

A recent electricity bill showing the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN).

Assessors are generally from technical backgrounds such as engineers, building surveyors or architectural technicians, which leaves them well placed to offer excellent advise to their clients. All assessors are required to follow a code of practice which sets out obligations including minimum levels of insurance, acting in an independent manner and providing details of the BER appointment in writing to clients. To maintain a high quality of service and confidence in the BER systems the SEAI carry out an on-going system of auditing.

You can find both of these documents at the links below:

>>>>https://www.seai.ie/publications/BER-Assessor-Code-of-Practice.pdf

>>>> https://www.seai.ie/publications/Quality-Assurance-System-and-Disciplinary-Procedure-New.pdf

Contractors

Contractors who carry out works as part of the Better Energy Homes grants must be registered with SEAI. You can search a list of Better Energy homes contactors at the below link. This list covers contractors who install insulation, heating controls, solar water heating and heat pumps.

>>>> https://www.seai.ie/grants/find-a-registered-professional/

You can browse a list of SEAI registered solar PV installers at the below link:

>>>> https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/solar-electricity-grant/solar-pv-installers-and-c/

NSAI recommends the following six steps all homeowners should take before deciding on an insulation contractor:

  1. Check that the contractor is an NSAI registered installer. A full list is available on NSAI website, Registered Installers
  2. Check that ALL products used are certified by NSAI, on Cavity Wall / External Insulation
  3. Check that the contractor is fully insured.
  4. Check that the contractor is registered with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for grant works. It is important that this registration is active; otherwise you could lose eligibility for your grant payment.
  5. Always ask for references and if possible, go see completed projects.
  6. Ask about warranties, verify and READ ALL SMALL PRINT.  Remember that no warranty will be honoured if the insulation system is not installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

You can find a list of NSAI registered installers for both cavity and external insulation at the below links:

Cavity Wall Insulation >>>> https://www.nsai.ie/search/insulation/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6InNlYXJjaFwvaW5zdWxhdGlvblwvIn0/

External Wall Insulation >>>> https://www.nsai.ie/search/installation-companies/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6InNlYXJjaFwvaW5zdGFsbGF0aW9uLWNvbXBhbmllc1wvIn0/

You can find a list of NSAI Agrement Certificates at the below link:

>>>> https://www.nsai.ie/search/agrements/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6InNlYXJjaFwvYWdyZW1lbnRzXC8ifQ/P25/

There is much more useful information to assist you make good choices for your project on the NSAI website at the below link:

>>>> https://www.nsai.ie/

Technical Advisors (heat pump grant)

The SEAI have produced a Homeowner Guide to Heat Pump Systems. This can be found at the link below:

>>>> https://www.seai.ie/publications/Homeowners-Guide-To-Heat-Pump-Systems.pdf

If you have any questions on heat pump systems and would like to engage with the heat pump professionals in our Facebook group please join the group at the below link and post your question to the group.

>>>> https://www.facebook.com/groups/453409318625550/

When the works has been completed you must submit all of the required documentation within 8 months of the date of the grant offer. The expiry date will be shown on your letter of offer received when the grant application is approved by SEAI. A BER assessment is required post the completion of the works.

The cost of the advisory report can vary in a similar way to the cost of a BER Certificate depending on the amount of time and complexity of the survey and the associated advise / calculations. SEAI will reimburse €200 towards the cost of the survey should the grant application for the heat pumps go ahead and the upgrades works are completed. On completion of the works a BER assessment is required which includes the upgrades to the dwelling.

The following information will assist to provide an accurate quotation.

  • The location (Townland and County)
  • Your favored survey date and time
  • Property type, ie detached, semi detached, bungalow, etc
  • How many bedrooms
  • Description of any additions to the original building such as, extensions, conservatory, attic conversations, etc
  • The purpose of the rating, ie, selling, letting, grant application, etc
  • Have you an existing BER rating for the building?
  • An outline description of the renovation works to be carried out.

To get an accurate quotation you can contact the technical advisors using the links on their profiles.

>>>> https://bertech.ie/ber-technical-advisors/

Too apply for the grant you have two options:

  • Applying online. This is the quickest method and will receive an immediate response. 
  • Applying by post. By post you should receive a response within 5 working days. You can contact the SEAI to get the application form or download it from the SEAI website 

Visit the below link to the SEAI website find out more.

>>>> https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/heat-pump-systems/

The grants available are shown in the table below.

Energy UpgradesGrant Value
Heat Pump Systems 
Air to Water€3,500
Ground Source to Water€3,500
Exhaust Air to Water€3,500
Water to Water€3,500
Air to Air€600

The first step is to engage with an independent SEAI registered Technical advisor for the heat pump grant. The dwelling should have a low level of heat loss in order to be suitable for the installation of a heat pump system. Your chosen technical advisor will carry out an assessment of your home and determine if it meets the requirements as set out by the SEAI to apply for the grant. The technical advisor will produce a report which will advise you on the works which may be necessary to make your home suitable by improving heat loss which may be occurring through the existing fabric or air permeability. These may include fabric upgrades such as insulation to the roof or walls, window or door upgrades, ventilation or air tightness upgrades. This report is submitted with your grant application to SEAI for consideration.

BERtech.ie facebook group

Would you like to join our facebook group?

We want to make it easy for homeowners, professionals or anyone with an interest in energy efficiency to engage with each other, ask questions and hopefully find some answers. That is why we set up our Facebook Group. Feel free to join! 

Have you any questions?

If you have any questions in relation to building energy assessments, the heat pump technical assessment, or energy upgrades in general you can contact us and we will endeavour to assist you where possible.

bertech.ie FAQ scaled