Why assessing energy efficiency is good for everyone

By Vincent Brady

Several state bodies, including the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) and the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, are all working towards improving the energy efficiency in Ireland. There are many good reasons they are working so hard to achieve this. They have already implemented policy and created an environment to help achieve their goals.

Why is energy efficiency important?

The overall efficiency of buildings is crucial in Ireland’s fight for a prosperous future and to minimise the impacts of climate change. Building in Ireland account for 35% of total energy consumption and 59% of electricity consumption, making them a huge part of Ireland’s current carbon footprint.

The more energy efficient our economy becomes; the less reliant Ireland is on imported fossil fuels. Not only does this reduce Ireland’s CO2 emissions, but it also makes us more independent and supports domestic competitiveness.

The lower the cost of energy becomes; the less likely people are to be at risk of energy poverty. This will improve health outcomes, support domestic employment and generally create a nicer society to live in.

Being at the forefront of energy efficiency helps Irish businesses to thrive at a time when energy efficiency is a hot topic globally.

Energy efficiency is crucial in the fight against climate change, and Ireland wants to lead by example.

What is an energy efficiency assessment?

An energy efficiency assessment will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the energy performance of your property and highlight areas where improvements can be made. This is more crucial the older your building is, as commercial and residential properties built before the year 2000 are usually the least efficient.

Building regulations have evolved in recent years, placing more emphasis on energy efficiency. This means architects and builders consider the energy efficiency of the property before it’s even built, incorporating best practices and efficient materials to help with the overall energy efficiency.

Your BER (Building Energy Rating) grades your properties energy consumption accordingly, which can then impact the properties resale value, as many will see a poor rating as an indication that work needs to be carried out on the property to modernise it. The BER rating scale goes from A to G, where A rated homes are the most energy efficient and will have the lowest energy bills, while G rated properties will perform the worst for energy efficiency.

It’s not just about the environment, it’s quality of life

Most people would agree that lower bills make life easier. Improving the energy efficiency of your home can reduce the month to month financial strain you’re under, as well as making a property more appealing (and potentially more valuable) to potential buyers or tenants.

Increasing the energy efficiency of your home also makes it a much more pleasant place to live, as it will be consistently warmer and less draughty.

What grants are available to improve my buildings energy efficiency?

If you assess the energy efficiency of your home or commercial property and find there are areas it can be improved, then there are grants available to help you get the work completed. You can find out more on the SEAI website.

Solar Electricity

Grants of up to €3,000 are available towards the cost of installing solar panels for electricity generation and battery energy storage. A good solar system with a battery can easily provide 70% of your home’s energy needs.

Insulation

An older home with poorly insulated walls can lose up to 30% of its heat unnecessarily. Cavity, internal and external wall insulation and a properly insulated loft can stop this from happening, reducing your energy consumption. A poorly insulated home means your boiler is having to work overtime to heat your home.

Heating controls

A modern and accurate heating controls system will help you to reduce your energy consumption by up to 20%. This means your use of your heating system becomes more efficient, reducing your energy bills.

Heat pump system

A heat pump system will provide your home with an alternative to fossil fuels, reducing your energy costs and carbon emissions.

Solar water heating

Solar energy can also be used to heat your water. On average, a system will provide between 50% and 60% of your annual hot water, reducing your energy bills.

In an ideal world you would be ideal to choose several options to suit your property, but most of us are looking to get the most bang for our buck. Assessing energy efficiency will highlight the areas that need improving the most, letting you know where the best place to invest is.

Energy efficiency for business

As well as being needed for the environment, reducing your energy consumption and carbon footprint is also good for your bank balance. This is good news for businesses that are concentrating on the bottom line and gives them an increasingly important stance they can use in business literature.

Is there anything else I can do?

Be aware and make conscious choices. The discussion about climate change has been ongoing for many years and people are already well versed in many aspects of it. This has led to a shift amongst manufacturers who will use the energy efficiency of their appliances as a selling point. Opting for appliances with low energy consumption delivers two benefits, it saves you money in the short-term, but also sends a message to manufacturers that we want more energy efficient appliances and products.

Other less costly items can also help to improve the energy efficiency of your home and your BER rating, such as a thick lagging jacket for your hot water cylinder or opting for low-energy light bulbs.

Why Banrach are your perfect partner

With nearly two decades experience providing realistic solutions to property owners, we are well versed in all areas of civil and structural engineering, planning permission, energy, and forensic investigation. We understand the importance of providing cost-effective solutions in a professional way. Contact us if you need an assessment of your property’s energy efficiency.