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Upgrade BER rating

  • 23-10-2021 12:05pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,068 ✭✭✭

    I'm looking at a couple of "green" mortgages which offer low rates for houses rated B3 or higher.

    My house is rated C1, and I'm wondering how easy it would be to upgrade it to B3 without major work?

    Two things I have not done which were on the initial BER advisory are changing all lightbulbs, and upgrading the hot water cylinder to a newer one. Both are things which are on the "to do" list but I've put off.

    Just wondering should I put the money into making a few changes, as well as getting a new BER certification, or just accept a higher rate mortgage?

    The house is an upstairs duplex. A good number of neighbouring houses for sale were listed as B3 or B2.


  • Registered Users Posts: 647 ✭✭✭houseyhouse

    I don’t know if changing the lightbulbs improves the BER but the hot water cylinder should. I’d consult the guy who did your report to find out exactly what you’d need to do. Then it’s just a matter of costing out the changes that would bring you up to B3 and comparing the cost to the reduced mortgage payment. Don’t forget there are grants available for some works too and it should reduce your energy bills.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,068 ✭✭✭fjon

    Cheers. The report was done by the seller of the house so I’m not sure who they used. I don’t suppose this kind of advice is something a BER surveyor can provide?

  • Registered Users Posts: 414 ✭✭Emma2019

    The lightbulbs makes quite a difference funnily enough.

    It's a tick box exercise, a BER certifier will tell you if the lightbulbs will be enough but it may well be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,601 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    A lot of guys on the renewable energy forum got solar pv and a green mortgage as a result.

    My house was a d1. I upgraded the boiler, cylinder and changed the light bulbs to get a C1. Got 3.24kw of solar pv and went to a B3

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Change the lightbulbs and you will get from the C1 to B that you require.

    This is the reason why the BER is a con.

    I wouldnt let a BER put me off buying a house at all. Its so easy to get it to a higher BER once you know the system they are using.

    Make sure you get the person who asessed it before to do the new asessment too and TELL him what you have improved. Because they all measure in their own ways. Thats the variable.

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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,253 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    C1 to B3 could be down to a rounding error on data put in to DEAP. The "actual" (this is such an inexact science) kw/h measure on the cert will show how far off you were previously.

    I suspect I've got from a C3 to probably C1 with some specific works since the last cert but its not worth paying to find out; plus the assessment last time was done with me in the house able to point out works done and give specific data on insulation etc.

    Changing the lightbulbs will pay for itself, plus fluorescent bulbs are horrible if you've any of those left. Only complicated thing is if you have transformer-requiring (12v) halogen spots where you'll need to replace the fitting and take out the transformer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,478 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Changing light bulbs to LED & cylinder will pay for themselves regardless of the BER rating. Breaking your heating into zones for water, upstairs & downstairs with decent controller will help with BER too. All well worth doing just for the money you will save in the long run but if you get better deal on mortgage then the payback on your investment will be even quicker

  • Subscribers Posts: 39,469 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    Change the lightbulbs and you will get from the C1 to B that you require.

    in no way is that guaranteed. changing approx 25 lightbulbs from intumescent to lels would make approx a 3% difference on an overall C12 assessment, changing the energy point value by about 4 kwh/m2/yr

    so as the C1 band is 25 energy points wide, the only way changing the lightbulbs will result in a grade change to a B3 is if you are on the cusp of a B3 already ie going from 128 to 124 energy points.

    "Telling" an assessor what you have improved is absolutely useless.

    you need to be able to prove by specific documentary evidence anything that cannot be seen and measured.

    for example internal insulated plasterboard drylining. you cannot simply say to the assessor, theres a 52.5mm IPB on the external walls. you will need to either have a letter from a supervising architect / engineer of the work, and / or a receipt from a hardware store, showing your address, date and type and quantity of product delivered.

    assessor DO NOT measure in their own way,. The measuring conventions for a BER assessment are very strict (and at times illogical) and anyone doing it incorrectly will be subject to penalty points.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Not my experience at all and Ive probably had about 12 BERs done over the years.

    LEDs make a big difference. Also a new water tank or block up the fireplace. Things like that.

    Assessors do indeed measure things differently. The area of a room or the area of windows etc.

    And yes, unless you get a total jobsworth, they will take into account what you tell them is behind the walls and under the floors.

    OP have a chat with the original assessor. Pay him to come out and tell you what to do to move from C1 to a B. Then do it and get him to assess again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,818 ✭✭✭spaceHopper

    If you look at your ESB bill the MPRN number will be on it, it should also be on the report, you can look at that up in the SEAI site and get the BER report and cert. That will tell you who did it.

    If you want to get a B3 I'd ring an accessor and ask them how much it would cost to an acescent no report just what it would take to go from C1 to B3

    You could be looking at new tank, zoned heating, led lights, draft proofing, possibly new window glass. Also keep in mind that the to get the green start mortgage from AIB Ithink you need to have 50% LTV.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,601 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Telling them what's in your walls is useless if they are checked by the seai and you've no documentation to prove it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,068 ✭✭✭fjon

    Thanks for the feedback all. I have the BER Cert, but not the advisory report (not available online anymore). I've asked for this from SEAI and hopefully that will have some info on it. I don't know who did the initial assessment - there's an Assessor Number on the cert, not sure how to find out who the actual person/ company is.

    The rating on the cert is 157.12, and I believe I need to get this down below 150 to go to a B3. As it's quite close to the threshold I'm hoping not too much is required to get this.

    Since the cert was done, I've upgraded 15 out of 32 to LED (all were non-LED when assessment was done). I've also added a Hive heating control, but the heating is still only 1 zone.

    Thanks for the info on the 50% LTV. As I am currently in the 60-80% LTV bracket I won't be able to get this until this drops down somewhat (or the house value increases).

  • Subscribers Posts: 39,469 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    well im an assessor and have carried out over 1000 assessments since 2007

    so you can take what im saying as the actual situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Just got one done a few months ago.

    Conversation went like this.

    Have you upgraded the insulation?

    50mm insulation backed plasterboard on all outside walls plus polystyrene pumped into the cavities. Done about 15 years ago.

    Ok, thanks i'll put that down so.

    Thats the way it always goes.

    Obviously you werent any of the assessors ive spoken to.

  • Subscribers Posts: 39,469 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Clearly you are not the normal assessor :) But whatever works for you ...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,760 ✭✭✭dudley72

    Multiple done myself over the years, always had to prove the insulation etc was in place, this was either by taking off window boards and showing insulated slabs or having receipts. Same experience from anyone I always talked to.

    Never met an assessor who “took my word”, if that was the case sure you could tell them anything and get a BER rating for a poor insulated house

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,253 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I've got two BER certs (obsolete and current) for my house, the first one was done by an assessor who may as well not have even been in the house. Records no attic insulation (there was - subpar, but there was); no double glazing (it was part double glazed) and 0% energy efficient lightbulbs (it was nearly entirely CFL or empty sockets).

    Second one is accurate. Because I was there when it was done.

    Its not a service that's expensive enough for people to go find better assessors nor do most people know if they've had a crap one.

    The first one may have made the house cheaper for me, though, as it was an F and a bad one at that. The increase in C3 didn't involve absolutely huge volumes of work!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,601 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Mine wouldn't include the walls as he couldn't verify what was inside them

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,550 ✭✭✭C14N

    You don't need a 50% LTV for the Green Mortgage deal. They will do it for any amount, although they have different rates for 80-90% LTV, 50-79% LTV, and <50% LTV (I believe each bracket has an interest rate difference of 0.05% APR).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,550 ✭✭✭C14N

    How much would you look at spending on breaking the heating zones up? I'm hoping to move into a new place before Christmas. It's already a B3 so it's not bad, but some things like that would be nice to do to save money in the long run if they didn't cost too much.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,201 ✭✭✭cruizer101

    It would depend on the current pipework, it may be a case of just adding an automated valve into existing pipework or it may require bigger changes to the pipework.

    I'm doing a bit of a heating upgrade atm and am going with TRV's on all rad which I can then put smart controllers on and will allow me to have lots of control, to me seems far better option to have that granularity than blanket upstairs/downstairs zoning.

    Also to be honest I'm not sure how much saving there is in zoning heating, if you are only heating downstairs a fair bit of heat is going to leak upstairs anyway. I'd be curious to hear the actual savings that can be made by heating/not heating various rooms within the envelope of the house.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,550 ✭✭✭C14N

    Interesting. How much does that work out to per radiator? And is it easy to install yourself or does it require a plumber to do?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,201 ✭✭✭cruizer101

    A TRV valve can be got for 15 quid, I got some chrome fancier looking ones for a bit more

    Then the smart trv unit is I think 50-70 and need to connect it to a hub.

    So to do a whole house with it your 500-1000 probably. I'm not sure I'll bother do smart for them all tbh but considering it.

    Can you do the work yourself? Maybe. It is easy enough if you are handy and can be done without draining the heating system, though it is easier if you do, and will need some extra hands. Plenty of guides on youtube. When you get into new place post up a query on plumbing forum and should get good advice, though it is a much quieter place since the boardspocalypse.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,068 ✭✭✭fjon

    You're right, I just checked it and there's only .05% different between the rates (5 year fixed). The 50%-80% band is 2.15% for 5 years which is still an excellent deal

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,913 ✭✭✭KilOit

    Digging this is up as similar to my question.

    House is C1 on BER cert, it's a few years old but changes made are light bulbs to Hue, added Nest thermostat, carpet with underlay laid upstairs, and 20-year-old boiler upgraded to A rated 94% efficient boiler. Is this enough to push it to B3?

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,123 ✭✭✭Ray Palmer

    Carpet is really not going to change the rating. The boiler will be the main change and while changing bulbs help BER rating it doesn't make much difference to heating which is what most people consider BER is for. Nobody can really tell you as they have no idea what the rest of the property is like.

  • Registered Users Posts: 328 ✭✭getoutadodge

    I had a insert wood stove installed since the original C1 rating was assigned. Would that have any effect?

    Just as an energy saving exercise I also put in heavy curtains and blinds plus changed all the lighting to energy saving LEDs and a new thermostat control unit for the gas boiler. Also added strips to the window bases to eliminate draughts.

    Would an assessor note or care about such changes? My bills certainly lessened.

  • Subscribers Posts: 39,469 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    yes all of those will affect your rating.

    obviously the stove instead of an open fire would be the biggest gain. the light bulbs and curtains would be very marginal.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 328 ✭✭getoutadodge

    Txs...but I would have thought the stove (replacing an old fireplace covered with plasterboard ) might have actually lowered the rating? I suppose a proper flue and a stove packed with fire insulation is better than an old open grate hiding behing plasterboard.