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An A-grade house has energy on its side

Bricks and mortar need love and attention if they are to fulfil their purpose of offering security and protection from the elements. One way of ensuring that your property is operating at its optimum is to have a Building Energy Rating (BER) done.

On a scale from A to G the rating gives an indication of how good your house is at producing, using and storing energy. A good rating will make your house more attractive to prospective buyers or renters. Below are some ideas on how to gain the edge with energy . . .

LOW LIGHT Use low-energy bulbs. They use 80pc less electricity and can last up to 15 times longer than your standard bulbs. They cost a little more to buy, but spend now to gain more down the line.

It's A WRAP If your attic isn't insulated you might just as well put on all the radiators and leave windows and doors wide open. It's imperative that attics, floors and walls have a buffer between them and the outside in order to keep the energy in, rather letting it out to heat the neighbourhood.

OLD LAG Put a lagging jacket on your boiler. Most new boilers come with a pre-installed insulated layer. But if you have an older style then make sure that the insulation is thick enough to prevent loss of heat.

DOUBLE UP If your windows are single-glazed, then it would prudent to change them to double or even triple-glazed if the budget can take it. Double glazing can reduce heat loss by up to a third. Triple can reduce it by more than two-thirds.

FEEL THE FLOW Control the ventilation. Too much can lead to energy wastage, while too little can cause dampness especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Draft-proof your windows and doors to keep the heat in.

RENEW Renewable energy systems will improve your BER. Installing solar panels and a geo-thermal system will make a huge difference to your heating bills and most importantly, you will be using the earth's energy to harness heat.

And there are a number of grants that may make it easier on your pocket, so check them out. www.sei.ie is an excellent source of information.