Unless your house is a protected structure, it's likely that your home will need to receive a BER, or Building Energy Rating if you ever put it up for sale or rent, or if you're about to occupy it for the first time. Even if you aren't looking to sell or rent, these tips can also help you increase your BER rating and save on your energy bills if you have a low BER and make your paycheck go a bit further this month.
The BER rating considers all aspects of your home and its energy efficiency, including walls, dimensions of the floor and roof, window and door size, insulation and your heating system.
Having a poor rating on your BER can affect your home or flat's selling price, not to mention your energy bill. Luckily, there are a few ways to help improve the energy efficiency of your home. We've pulled together 15 top tips to help you save on your energy bills and improve your BER rating.
1. Bare floors beware.
Add rugs or carpeting to help insulate your home or apartment for those blustery cold days. This is especially helpful if you don’t have any floor insulation.
2. Block the sun on hot days.
Though we only get a few of these a year, keep your house cool by closing the shades on the rays. This also keeps the sun from fading photos you might have up or furniture upholstery.
3. Let the sunshine in on cold days.
In exactly the same way that the sun can make your house hot when it’s roasting outside, it can also help make your place nice and toasty when it’s freezing. Leave blinds or curtains open during the day to save on heating.
4. Energy-efficient bulbs are a bright idea.
Replacing light bulbs? Energy efficient bulbs are a quick and cheap way to make the home more energy efficient. Make sure you’re getting the correct wattage and size for the fixture you need.
5. Don’t let warm air fly out the flue.
Close the flue in your fireplace when it’s not in use to keep in any warm air from your heating. Of course if you do use your fireplace, make sure you check that it’s back open before lighting.
6. Take a look at your windows.
Lots of heat escapes through single-glazed windows so any extra insulation you can give, including installing draught stripping around current windows and doors helps and can make your BER better. Additionally, keep your curtains closed in winter. Especially during the night time and when you aren’t home, keeping windows closed with curtains or shutters helps prevent warm air from escaping.
7. Set your shower time to a playlist.
If you struggle with short showers, create a fun ten-minute or less playlist for yourself and try to beat the end of the beat. Alternatively, you could get a bit more creative, like the artist who created a shower curtain that “evicts” you if you soak in the suds for too long.
8. Portable heaters aren’t always worth the hot spot.
They’re great for on the spot heating for short periods of time, but leaving on a high wattage portable heater 24/7 can be expensive (and dangerous). In any case, if you’re living in a protected home that doesn’t require a BER, it can often be drafty and there’s a higher temptation to use a portable heater. Make sure your lease doesn’t prohibit them.
9. Keep an eye on your thermostat.
Turning down your thermostat even one degree can translate to an increase in savings of 10%. 17-18 degrees is recommended and should keep you comfortable. A smart thermostat can also help you increase the BER rating of your home.
10. Turn off “energy vampire” appliances.
Saying goodbye to standby on unused appliances can translate to savings of up to 20% off your electricity bill. Standby can be a serious energy suck- a TV on standby can use up to as much as half the electricity as when it’s actually on.
11. Laptops use less energy.
They don’t take up as much energy as desktops, meaning they’ll end up costing you less. We recommend turning it off if you’re not using it, but you have a laptop and don’t want to turn off your computer every time you step away, opt for standby mode over a screensaver.
12. Take advantage of a timer on your heating.
Set it for when you’re home and a few hours during the night. Don’t heat an empty space. Normally when it’s chilly outside all you really need is four hours of heat every night.
13. Don’t forget to give your appliances some extra attention.
Getting your boiler serviced regularly could save you up to €150 a year in energy costs. In some cases, you may need to replace old or inefficient boilers.
14. Time your hot water.
Likewise, keep your immersion/boiler on a timer; you can have hot water when and where you need it without running it all day when you aren’t home. Most immersions can heat up water in an hour. Alternatively, get an electric shower.
15. Get a grant to update your home.
Under the Better Energy Home scheme, certain households are eligible for grants to insulate attics and walls. Insulation could save you 30-40% on your heating bill. This scheme also offers grand aid for high efficiency energy boilers and heating control improvements.
Just a few small changes can land a big change in your BER and energy bills, meaning you save money. Did you know you could save even more, up to €190 a year on your electricity, through Energia? Now that you know how to save on energy bills, make sure you’re up to scratch on the latest offers from us.