OWNERS wishing to sell or rent residential property will have to pay an estimated fee of €300-€500 to comply with new building regulations from next year.
From January 1 next, a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate will be compulsory for all homes being sold or rented.
The BER system, which will rate the energy performance of a home on a scale of A-G, similar to the rating system for refrigerators, is being introduced as part of an EU directive designed to improve energy efficiency.
Anyone who fails to comply with the regulations can face a potential fine of up to €5,000 or three months in jail.
Announcing details of the scheme yesterday, Sustainable Energy Ireland — the state energy agency, which is overseeing its introduction — claims that a BER assessment will cost on average €300-€500, depending on age, size and location of the property.
“There is no set fee and people are advised to shop around for a number of quotes to get the best price,” said agency spokesman Kevin O’Rourke.
Each BER certificate, which also contains information on the associated CO2 emissions, will be valid for a period of 10 years providing there is no material change to the building. New homes offered for sale off the plans will be issued with a provisional BER certificate based on design drawings and building specifications.
Property owners will also receive an advisory note with their certificate which will inform them how they can improve the energy performance of their home.
Mr O’Rourke said more than 800 BER assessors out of more than 3,200 qualified personnel across the country had already been registered to carry out assessments on properties.
More than 80 different measurements, including a building’s dimensions, orientation, level of insulation and ventilation, as well as the type of lighting and use of hot water systems and boilers, will be used by a standardised software package to calculate an energy rating for the property.
The energy agency claims 82% of new homes have achieved a BER rating of B or higher. Under legislation, BER certificates have already been obligatory for all new homes for which planning permission was sought after January 2007.
Mr O’Rourke said it was anticipated the majority of Irish homes built during the 1980s will have a rating of D1 — the 10th best rating of 15 different levels.
However, he declined to comment on what impact different BER ratings might have on property prices.
“Location will still be the most important factor but we believe the requirement for BER certificates will increase the importance of energy efficiency as a factor,” said Mr O’Rourke.
“It is clear that a home with a better BER will be superior, all other things being equal. People will realise that it is a much more comfortable home to live in.”
The agency estimates the annual average energy cost of a standard family home built in the 1970s or earlier is €2,280, compared with €725 for one built in 2008.
Similarly, the energy costs of a two-bed apartment constructed pre-1980 averages €1,600 per annum compared with just €500 for a modern flat.
* More information on the BER system from the SEI website on www.sei.ie.