A-Rated buildings allow for greater energy efficiency and are attractive both for the building owner and for the wider environment.
The impact of buildings on the environment in Ireland and worldwide, as well as the need for sustainable and energy-efficient approaches to construction, has come to the fore in recent years.
One of the outcomes of this greater awareness was the development of a number of standards and rating systems to assess environmental performance. One of the most well-known is the Building Energy Rating (BER) system.
The BER standard is indicative of the overall energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of a home or building, and is based on a scale from A to G, where an A-Rated building is the most energy efficient on the scale.
In this article, we will explain what an A-Rated building is, as well as how a building qualifies to achieve an A-Rating, and what the advantages are to the end-user of owning an A-rated property.
What is an A-Rated Building?
A property is classed as A-rated when it has achieved the highest energy efficiency rating under the Building Energy Rating (BER) system. This system takes into account the building fabric, heating and hot water systems, ventilation and lighting.
This is based on standard occupancy, as well as the use of the building, with energy consumption calculated using a standard occupancy pattern. Achieving an A-Rating means meeting the following criteria:
- Energy Efficiency: Features including high levels of insulation, efficient heating and cooling systems, as well as the use of renewable energy sources, contribute to a highly energy-efficient property.
- Air Tightness: In order to reduce heat loss, as well as to improve energy efficiency, properties must be highly airtight.
- Ventilation: A good ventilation system that maintains indoor health and prevents moisture or pollutant buildup.
- Lighting: Energy-efficient lighting, including LED bulbs, helps to reduce energy consumption.
- Hot Water: An efficient hot water system, (e.g. solar thermal / heat pump) to reduce energy consumption.
- Location & Transportation: Accessibility to public transportation or that encourages walking or cycling, with an emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.
Benefits of A-Rated Properties
As previously stated, the benefits of A-Rated properties for both the environment, developers and property buyers and owners are numerous as they are more sustainable in many ways. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Energy Savings
Perhaps the most obvious and immediate benefit to property owners is the energy bill savings that come as a result of how well-insulated and energy-efficient the property is, requiring less energy to heat and cool.
2. Improved Comfort
Due to the higher insulation levels, as well as the efficient heating and ventilation systems that regulate temperatures and improve air quality, A-rated properties are likely to be more comfortable to live in.
3. Environmental Sustainability
A-Rated properties result in a reduced carbon footprint which thus contributes to a more sustainable future. This is due to the use of renewable energy sources as well as energy-efficient technologies, reducing the impact on the environment.
4. Increased Property Value
A-Rated properties are likely to increase in value over time, due to an increasingly awareness in environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, making it a worthwhile investment for future resale.
5. Health Benefits
A-Rated buildings create greater health and wellbeing – particularly for those with respiratory conditions. High insulation and ventilation helps to reduce dampness and mold, which both contribute to and exacerbate respiratory problems.
A-Rated properties have achieved the highest possible energy efficiency rating as per the Building Energy Rating (BER) system and offer a multitude of benefits, such as lower energy bills, health benefits and greater resale value.
The case for owning an A-rated property is clear, and the attraction towards them is growing in line with the demand for more sustainable, energy-efficient properties. Contact a leading BER Assessor to find out your property’s energy rating.
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