There are a few things you can do before your BER Assessor arrives, to help improve your BER rating.
Using low energy light bulbs throughout your whole house will increase your BER Rating. Low energy compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 20 per cent of the energy that traditional (incandescent) bulbs use, while supplying the same amount of light. Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights use only 10 per cent of that of an incandescent bulb. Not only will this reduce your energy bills, but will improve your BER Rating, thereby improving the appeal of your home to prospective buyers or tenants.
A chimney is a significant source of heat loss in any home, thereby wasting energy and increasing the cost of heating a home. It is always important to have adequate ventilation throughout a home, especially where an open fire exists. One way to reduce the heat/energy loss and improve your BER Rating is to install a simple chimney damper. If a fire place is never used, an adjustable chimney damper can be permanently fitted and sealed to ensure heat loss is minimised. Having an adjustable damper will prevent dampness.
Using a hot water cylinder insulation thickness of greater than 80 mm, reduces hot water storage heat loss by up to 75 per cent, increases your BER Rating and in turn reduces the required energy and expense associated with heating it. If a cylinder is reaching the end of its useful life, consider replacing it with a factory insulated model. The simplest method is to use a modern lagging jacket to ensure adequate insulation thickness.
It is very important to have adequate ventilation in a home to provide adequate ventilation for the removal of moisture, pollutants and the operation of combustion systems. Therefore it is vital for safety reasons, to ensure adequate and controllable ventilation. One way of achieving this is to have internal controllable vent covers which will improve your BER Rating and can be opened and closed as required to allow the free flow of air.
Gaps between frames and windows or external doors, is a common source of heat loss and draught stripping is one of the most cost effective ways you can reduce this air infiltration and improve your BER Rating. Draught stripping is available in all hardware stores and you should use hardwearing, waterproof material which will still allow the door or window to open and close easily.
Having adequate attic insulation can prevent up to 30% heat loss from a home. Installing proper levels of attic insulation will help retain valuable heat, reduce energy demands and improve comfort levels. Insulation effectiveness is measured in U value (the measure of heat loss), and the lower the U value, the less heat loss. You can use blanket insulation, rigid board insulation or expanding foam to achieve the required insulation level. Ensure the roof space must have adequate ventilation to prevent dampness, by leaving a continuous air gap along the eaves at each side. Thickness of insulation will be determined by the specific product used. Ask your installer for U Value and appropriate levels.
A hot water cylinder can have a timer and thermostat to reduce unnecessary heat loss and improve your BER Rating. A thermostat allows the boiler to switch off at the required temperature (saving money and a useful safety feature) while a timer allows for the control of the heating element, again reducing waste and the overall energy required. The ideal temperature cut off point is 60 degrees Celsius. Setting at a temperature above this, wastes energy.
The heating system controls in a dwelling can greatly reduce energy requirements. If possible, fully zoned controls (for both time and temperature) can be considered to optimise heating usage in different areas of the home. A seven day programmer in each heating zone will allow you to control the heating schedule for each area independently (e.g. upstairs and downstairs) to meet your specific heating needs for each day of the week. This will allow the boiler to switch off automatically when it is not needed, thereby reducing costs and energy requirements and improving your BER Rating.