For most people, buying a house is the single biggest investment they will make in their lifetime. Many factors determine the price of houses including size, location, condition and proximity to amenities.
Increasingly, energy efficiency is becoming an additional factor in determining house value in Ireland. According to Enda Gunnell, CEO, PINERGY, “Making your home more energy-efficient can not only shrink your costs, it can increase the value of your home. Many house hunters are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of energy-efficient homes. In fact, research shows that house hunters are often willing to pay more for homes with energy upgrades.”
A house with a good energy efficiency rating can fetch almost 10% more than a comparable property with a low Building Energy Rating (BER), according to an ESRI report*. The results of that report showed that that energy efficiency has a positive effect on the sale price of a property.
The researchers found that a good energy rating has a stronger effect when sales conditions are worse. Each improvement along the BER scale was associated with a 2% increase in the sales price compared to a 1.5% increase when market conditions were not as bad. So it makes sense to make your property as energy efficient as possible. You will benefit by not only lowering your utility costs but adding value to the property in the longer term.
A Building Energy Rating (BER) is a measurement of the energy efficiency of a building. Properties are assessed and given a rating from A1 to G, with A1 being the most efficient. BER is the calculated energy use for space and hot water heating, ventilation and lighting based on standard occupancy. A BER is compulsory for all homes offered for sale or rent. A BER is also required before a new home is occupied for the first time.
A better BER rating generally means lower energy bills. But the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland notes that the BER is only indicative of energy usage and that actual energy usage will be dependent on the behaviour of the house occupants. So even if you own or have recently bought a property with a good BER rating, you can make further savings by modifying your behaviour with regard to energy usage.
Over the last twenty years, our energy demands have increased exponentially as the number of appliances and technology devices such as laptops, tablets, entertainments systems has skyrocketed. On average, 20% of the electricity we use in our homes is wasted. We leave the lights on in empty rooms, we leave the heating on when nobody’s home, we boil and reboil full kettles, leave our phones and laptops charging when they have full power. Making some basic changes to these habits would see a reduction in energy bills and overall consumption.
The energy world has been turned upside down in the last few years. Large utility companies no longer shape the future of energy. We, as individuals, do. The technology to make homes more energy efficient is already available but it is incumbent on energy companies to do more to bring these new technologies into Irish homes.
In addition, homeowners should consider what options are available to them to make their homes more energy-efficient. Smart energy solutions are available and are being actively used here and in other countries, where many homes generate their own solar energy during sunlight hours, store that energy and access it when they need it.
In Ireland, it is estimated that around 40,000 homes are already using some form of renewable heat technology. However, the generation of solar energy is still very limited and has capacity to grow significantly with the right incentives. To come anywhere close to reaching our energy-efficient 2020 targets, levels of renewable energy need to increase hugely.
Commenting on this, Enda Gunnell said: “Changing our behaviour in relation to energy efficiency and consumption gives all of us the opportunity to live in a more comfortable and efficient way while also making a contribution to the national effort to lower our energy usage.”
He continued, “PINERGY wants our customers to use less of what we are selling. If you are thinking about how to improve your home’s energy efficiency but don’t have the budget to make substantial changes to windows and insulation, consider how you can reduce your energy consumption by making changes to your daily behaviour. Customers who sign up for PINERGY Smart can also reduce their energy costs by availing of our free weekend electricity offer.”
Some top tips for saving reducing energy consumption in the home are as follows:
- Use LED lights instead of Halogen bulbs.
- Choose light bulbs carefully – new compact fluorescent bulbs screw in the same as regular (incandescent) bulbs, but use only about one-quarter to one-third the energy and last longer.
- Install dimmer switches – they use less energy and let you enjoy a choice of lighting levels for different tasks.
- Set your dishwasher at 50 degrees Celsius or ‘low’.
- Wash only full loads and use the shortest cycle to get your dishes clean.
- Your dishwasher will operate more efficiently if you unclog the drain of food particles and clean it weekly.
- Your refrigerator/freezer uses more electricity than any other appliance in your kitchen so avoid opening the door to browse. Each time you do, cold air escapes and your energy costs increase.
- Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water instead of hot to save on water heating costs. Use a cold water detergent.
- Set the water level on your washing machine to match the size of the load and save two ways – on water and energy.
- Add the right amount of detergent – too many suds make your washing machine work harder and use more energy.
- Fill your clothes dryer, but don’t overload it – your clothes will dry faster when they have room to tumble.
- A television in standby mode can use up to as much as half the electricity as when it is switched on.
- Curtains can cut heat loss in half if they have an insulating liner.
- The Value of Domestic Building Energy Efficiency (ESRI Report)
At Pinergy, we are committed to helping homes and businesses across Ireland become more energy efficient. We bring smart technology solutions to customers in their homes and businesses to help them to understand and monitor their electricity usage, reduce their energy waste and lower their carbon emissions. We are a fully regulated and licensed electricity provider who provides electricity to homes and businesses but with a difference.
AT PINERGY WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT ENERGY EFFICIENCY.