Six in ten don’t know what their BER home rating is 

by Rose Barrett
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One in three homeowners cannot afford to make their properties more energy-efficient

Rose Barrett

Most homeowners (60per cent) in Ireland do not know the BER rating of their home and one in three (34pc) cannot afford to make their properties more energy-efficient, despite the potential of such a move to slash their energy bills long term. That’s according to a new survey by property advisor, Savills Ireland, of over 1,000 adults nationwide,.

The survey examined awareness of, and attitudes towards, the Building Energy Rating (BER) of homes found that almost a quarter of those asked have recently made improvements to improve the BER of their home, while a further 23pc have plans to do so over the next 12 – 24 months. 

But while environment benefits have come to the fore of public discourse in recent years, cost savings are by far and away the key driver behind Irish homeowners making their homes more efficient.

Commenting on the survey findings, Beverly Ensor, Divisional Director at Savills New Homes of said: “Building Energy Rating has been around for many years, but it’s really only in recent years that it has been a key concern for homeowners, and even at that, it’s still not a consideration for many – as evidenced by the fact that six in ten homeowners don’t know the BER of their home and one in ten don’t know what a BER is. 20pc of homeowners said improving the BER of their home just isn’t a priority for them”. 

“Without doubt, any move that makes your home more energy efficient has a multitude of benefits – from lower energy costs, to adding to the saleability of your home. And while we all know that using energy more efficiently to power and heat a home is better for the environment – when it comes down to it, it is really financial benefits that drive people to act. For three in four homeowners (76pc), the ability to save money on energy bills would be their most likely reason to improve the BER of their home, while only one in five (19pc) would do so to in order to help the environment”.

“Unfortunately, more than a third of homeowners believe they cannot afford to improve the BER, of their home. The cost of retrofitting a home easily runs into tens of thousands and the high cost of a home energy upgrade is clearly a barrier.” 

“While this could be an indication of just how hard-pressed household finances are across the board, it also suggests that the opportunity cost of a home retrofit is simply beyond the reach of many household budgets and perhaps more needs to be done to encourage the take-up of the Government’s home retrofit grants, as well as the availability and accessibility of those grants.” 

Additional findings from the Savills Ireland BER Survey include:

  1. Men are more slightly more inclined than women to be inspired to energy-proof their home for the good of the environment (26pc versus 19pc).
  2. The older the individual, the less likely they are to cite the environment as the key driver for a home retrofit. Less than one in five (17pc) of those aged 55+ would improve the BER of their home for the good of the environment, compared to more than one in three (36pc) of those aged 18 to 24.
  3. Women are more inclined than men to say they cannot afford to improve the BER of their home (37pc v 31pc).
  4. While Dubliners are amongst the least likely to retrofit their home due to the environmental benefits of doing so, those living in other Leinster counties and in Munster are more likely to be environmentally conscious.
  5. Four in ten homeowners (40pc) have had the BER of their home assessed.

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