Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Michael Bolton

Most homeowners in Ireland do not know the Building Energy Rating (BER) rating of their home and one in three (34 per cent) cannot afford to make their properties more energy-efficient, despite the potential of such a move to slash their energy bills long term.

A new survey by property advisor, Savills Ireland, of over 1,000 adults nationwide, which examined awareness of, and attitudes towards, the 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 23 per cent 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.

The survey found that people in Dublin 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.

Older people are the age group less likely to improve the BER of their home, with 17 per cent of those aged 55+ would improve the BER of their home for the good of the environment, compared to 36 per cent of those aged 18-24.

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 10 don’t know what a BER is, 20 per cent 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, 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 (19 per cent) 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.”

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