Improvement Recommendations

The following list outlines general areas where improvements to your BER can be obtained.

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Windows and Doors

Energy efficient glazing helps to retain heat within the heated rooms and improves comfort through elimination of cold window surfaces and associated down-draughts and condensation. Use of lines curtains, blinds or shutters can improve heat retention at night and further reduce down-draughts.

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Building Fabric - Walls, Roofs, and Floors

Insulation:

Proper insulation will help retain valuable heat and improve overall comfort levels. If insulation is disturbed or damaged at any time, e.g. in attic space, make sure to restore or replace it.

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Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is required in all houses for various reasons. However draught proofing of doors, etc reduces heat loss and improves comfort. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery can help reduce heat loss - warm moist air is extracted from bathrooms and kitchens and the heat is recovered in a heat exchanger. Incoming air is also pre-heated in the heat exchanger - reducing the energy required to heat the house.

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Water Heating

Hot Water Storage Cylinder Heated by Space Heating Boiler

Ensure that the cylinder insulation and pipe insulation is not disturbed or damaged. Incomplete insulation increases heat loss and costs money.

Hot Water Storage Cylinder Heated by Electric Immersion Heater

Ensure that the cylinder insulation and pipe insulation is not disturbed or damaged. Incomplete insulation increases heat loss and costs money. Unless you expect a low level of hot water use, consider using electricity supplied at a cheaper night-time rate. Checking your tariff with your electricity supplier could save you money.

Hot Water Storage Cylinder Heated by Space Heating Boiler and Electric Immersion Heater

Ensure that the cylinder insulation and pipe insulation is not disturbed or damaged. Incomplete insulation increases heat loss and costs money. Generally, if you have a modern high efficiency boiler (rated 'D' or better on the HARP database (www.sei.ie/ber)) linked to a hot water tank thermostat, then it will be better to use the boiler to provide hot water year round rather than using the electric immersion heater.

Hot Water Storage Cylinder Thermostat

This thermostat allows you to set the temperature at which hot water is stored in your cylinder. The lower the storage temperature the less the heat loss from your cylinder. However, you should not set the storage temperature below 60°C to avoid risk of legionnaires disease.

Solar Water Heaters

Your solar water heater converts solar radiation into heat to produce hot water. Units that are subject to exterior fouling or scaling should be cleaned periodically. A marked increase in pressure drop and/or reduction in performance can indicate that cleaning is required. Ensure that you have clear instructions from the supplier in the event that the solar water supply water is turned off or if there is danger of freezing.

Automatic Timer Switch or Programmer (Hot Water)

Your automatic timer switch or programmer allows you to schedule the heating duty on the hot water system and to turn the system on and off as required. Use this facility to limit the running time for the hot water system to fit your specific needs and you will save money.

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Lighting

General Advice on Lighting: Avail of natural daylight whenever possible and avoid leaving electric lights switched on in unoccupied rooms. All lighting lamps carry an energy label similar to that on appliances (i.e. an A to G label) so always choose the most efficient to suit your particular needs.

Incandescent Light Bulbs: This is the most inefficient form of lighting. Only one twentieth of the energy that goes into a typical (incandescent) light bulb is converted into light; the remainder becomes heat, which means that most of the energy you are paying for is wasted. When replacement is necessary, it is cost effective and environmentally friendly to replace these bulbs with low energy light bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): CFLs use 20% of the energy used by typical incandescent bulbs to give the same amount of light, and last up to 15 times as long. A 22 Watt CFL has the same light output as a 100 Watt incandescent bulb. Low energy lighting will give highest savings in rooms that are most often used.

Fluorescent Tubes: Slim line 26mm diameter fluorescent tubes give energy savings of around 8 - 10% compared with older 38mm tubes and are cheaper to buy.

Tungsten Halogen Bulbs: Tungsten Halogen bulbs are up to twice as efficient as standard bulbs and last about twice as long. However, they are still less efficient than CFLs and are only suitable for spotlighting/task lighting and should not be used for general household lighting.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs): LEDs are the newest addition to the list of energy efficient light sources. LEDs are extremely energy-efficient bulbs and can last 10 times as long as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and over 100 times longer than typical incandescent light bulbs. Recent improvements in manufacturing have lowered the cost of LEDs, which has expanded their application.

Check out our newly released BER Estimator.