Building Energy Rating

Two important things happened in 2006, they were, 4th of January, the adoption of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive. 19th of May, latest revision of Technical Guidance Document Part L – Building Regulations

For those of you that have applied for planning permission in the Republic of Ireland since July this year, you should have already encountered; “The aim of Part L of the First Schedule to the Building Regulations is to limit the use of fossil fuel energy and related CO 2 emissions arising from the operation of buildings, while ensuring that occupants can achieve adequate levels of lighting and thermal comfort”.

  • Did you notice the reference to CO 2 ?
  • Did you do the CO 2 calculations using the prescribed method by Sustainable Energy Ireland?
  • If you did then you used the Domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP) which you may have downloaded free of charge from the SEI(Sustainable Energy Ireland) web site.
  • Did you notice how difficult it was to comply with the Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rating (CDER) and did you compare it to your Maximum Permissible Carbon Dioxide Emission Rating (MPCDER).
  • Did you wonder where the Heat Energy Rating (HER) and Maximum Permissible Heat Energy Rating (MPHER) went?
  • At any time did you wonder what any of this might have to do with the much talked about Building Energy Rating (BER) under the Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD)?
  • Well welcome to the wacky world of acronyms, that you need to learn before you can build a house today! And if it all seems very confusing, then it’s probably because it is! Lets try to navigate the recently constructed maze of regulation and legislation.

First, Part L of the Building Regulations. You should know that the Heat Energy Rating used in previous versions of the Building Regulations is now gone and has been replaced by the Domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (DEAP). This software will calculate the energy efficiency of the building and its Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rating (CDER). Carbon Dioxide is now a key indicator for compliance under Part L. For those of you that are not familiar with this method of compliance I strongly recommend that you down load your free copy from the SEI(Sustainable Energy Ireland) web site and plug in your buildings data to see if you comply. If you don’t have the technical skills to do this then you should find somebody that has, (one of the newly trainedBER assessors, in 2007). The CDER for your building is compared to a Maximum Permissible Carbon Dioxide Emission Rating (MPCDER) to determine compliance. So can you see how carbon dioxide has replace heat energy as the method of demonstrating compliance?

DEAP is also the method of calculating energy efficiency in buildings as required under Article 3 of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive: “Member States shall apply a rnethodology, at national or regional level. of calculation of the energy performance of buildings on the basis of the general framework set out in the Annex. Pans 1 and 2 of his framework shall be adapted to technical process. in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 14(2}, taking into account standards or norms applied in Member State legislation. This methodology shall be set at national or regional level. The energy performance of a building shall be expressed in a transparent manner and may include a C02 emission indicator”.

So you see the DEAP is the link between the new Part L of the Building Regulations and the Building Energy Rating (BER) given under the EU Energy Performance In Buildings Directive. BER’s will be a statutory requirement for all buildings in the future. The Directive is being implemented over the next three years. For self-builders the important dates are:

  • January 2007
  • BER for new dwellings offered for sale or rent
  • January 2009
  • BER for existing dwellings offered for sale or rent

The European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 666) were published by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on 22 December 2006. Under these regulations the transitional exemption period for the introduction of BER for new dwellings begins on 31 December 2006. Dwellings for which planning applications are submitted as and from 1 January 2007, require a BER when constructed or offered for sale.

The main components of a BER are: -

  • Independent assessed (you can’t self assess)
  • Valid for 10 years
  • Advisory Report (recommendations on how to make improvements or save energy)
  • Includes Building Fabric, Heating, Hot water, ventilation, air-conditioning, and lighting
  • Calls for regular boiler test under 100 kW
  • Requires air-conditioning units greater than 12 KW to be tested every 2 years
  • Minimum Energy & Emissions performance as determined usingDEAP

The bands of the BER label (A to G) have been finalised in increments of 25 kWh / m2 / yr. What difference could that make to your building, the one you plan to build or the one you built over the last 10 years?

  • 1997 Building Regulations equated to a Maximum Permitted Heat Energy Rating of 160 – 190 kWh / m2 / year {BER - C1-C2}
  • 2002 Building Regulations equated to a Maximum Permitted Heat Energy Rating of 90 – 120 kWh / m2 / year {BER - B1 – B2}
  • “A” rated buildings using EPBD will need to use less than 75 kWh / m2 / year
  • “Passive Solar” buildings have a rating of “<15” kWh / m2 / year
  • In a housing market that is approaching a “soft landing” you can see how theBER of your house could affect its market value. All things being equal would you pay €350,000 for a C1 house when a B1 is for sale nearby for the same money?

I hope the above has gone some way to explain the many changes that have taken place this year and promised for 2007.

BER Label