A good BER rating is desirable, as it can increase the value of a property and will result in lower fuel bills for the dwelling. There are several ways of improving a BER either in an existing building or pre-construction:
- Change chimney to open flue by installing a wood stove or similar
- Should the house be pre-construction a draught lobby may be added to the design
- Air pressure leakage test can be carried out and the value entered. Ensuring the air tightness of the building during construction will improve this value, especially for timber frame construction.
- Increase draught stripping to 100% on all windows and doors
- Install a balanced whole house ventilation with heat recovery
- Seal suspended wooden floors
- Using a ‘heat recovery’ ventilation system will mean that the fresh air supplied to your home is pre-warmed by the stale air being simultaneously extracted from wet areas – heat losses will be reduced.
- Building Elements: Improve U values
- Use a better grade of insulation and use a greater thickness of insulation
- Better quality materials (e.g. some building methods such as ICF – Insulated Concrete Form can give improved U values)
- Improve U values for Windows and Doors
- Better grade materials (i.e. argon filled/air filled/triple glazing)
- Reduce over shading if possible
- There should be fewer windows at the north of the house and more to the south to increase the solar gain and reduce heat losses.
- Water Heating: (NB, consider the system as a whole.)
Some simple Improvements:
- Increase insulation on cylinder
- Insulate primary pipe work
- Install a cylinder thermostat
- Install a solar water heating system
- Light and Internal Gains:
o Increase % of low energy lighting outlets
o Reduce living area % if possible
o Improve thermal mass of the building
- Distribution losses and gains:
- Improve controls category to time and temperature controls
- Improve responsiveness if possible from underfloor to radiators
- Put boiler inside if possible
Improvements on energy requirements for a dwelling depends on heating system choices, which will be influenced by many factors such as the fuel and space available on site. Some possible improvements are:
o Change to a condensing boiler with a high efficiency rating from the HARP database
o Fit compensators to improve the energy adjustment factor of the heating system
o By choosing a wood pellet or wood gasification boiler a low carbon performance coefficient can be achieved.
o Replace open fires with efficient wood stoves as a form of secondary heating.