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Home Energy Ratings


Posts: 103
 Ralf
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Topic starter
(@ralf)
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Joined: 7 months ago

I look a lot of homes in Portugal, and up until now I more or less eliminate any house that does not have at least at B- Energy rating, or better. I am wondering if this is a mistake. How difficult would it be to take a property that has an energy rating say an E or F to a B or higher energy rating? This may be difficult to answer, I realize. I know one factor are windows, and if they are double glazed or not. I suppose some homes are insulated so poorly that the energy rating cannot be raised to a certain point without a major expense.

Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on the energy rating. I just don't want to end up buying a home that to very cold in the winter months. I have been in the arctic for over 30 years, and I am tired of being cold. 🙂

Interested to hear what others think about homes in Portugal, and the energy rating.

Obrigado!

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Posts: 2486
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(@martin)
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Joined: 16 years ago

This was a topic discussed a few months ago

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Posts: 194
 Bert
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(@bert)
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Joined: 1 year ago

I am not sure how true to form all the energy ratings are but I do know that not than many, a lot, a great amount of Portuguese homes have no, nada, zilch insulation let alone double pane windows, ha ha. 

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4 Replies
 Ralf
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(@ralf)
Joined: 7 months ago

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Posts: 103

@bert gads

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Community Member
(@sonia)
Joined: 4 months ago

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Posts: 72

@bert you will find that the double pane windows are much more common than you think, changing the windows is relatively easy compared to insulating a concrete /brick/ stone house. 

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 Bert
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(@bert)
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Posts: 194

@sonia Yes understood but I believe the commonality you suggest may also be related to where in Portugal you are referring.

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(@sonia)
Joined: 4 months ago

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Posts: 72

@bert it is not really about the location, its more about ease of doing and costs. Changing the windows is easy and not very expensive but insulating an apartment is much more dificult and costly.

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Posts: 141
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(@tygger)
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Joined: 4 years ago

@Ralf It depends on which part of Portugal you intend to live in, upgrading windows is unlikely to make a big change in the rating of an older property, as most seem to be of single wall construction, so reach B or higher they will need either external or internal wall insulation. keeping warm in the Algarve will be simpler than in Porto, in the former you'll need A/C in the summer, but not much heating in the winter.

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 Ralf
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(@ralf)
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@tygger thank you. I will likely end up in Central Portugal (Arganil, Coja, etc.) or northern Portugal (Amares, Braga) so it will be cold in the winter.

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Posts: 406
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(@thomasribatejo)
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In practice, it is not true that older properties = more cold/damp.  Until the mid 20th Century, houses were built traditionally, with the climate in mind (and without technology/appliances to mitigate things). Consequently, buildings from before the 1950s/60s (broadly) tend to have wall types which work with the landscape and the climate, to keep heat and cold out.  Often, there were limited (and perhaps small) windows as a result, for instance; there was good ventilation; floors and walls were often less tiled (and certainly less concrete) than is now the case.

Modern interventions in these buildings (more/larger windows, different renders/finishes, replacing floors with concrete and roofs with metal/concrete etc) can compromise this.  Whether or not this has happened, improvements to windows and doors, and the provision of roof/loft insulation, can make a valuable difference.  The walls are generally unlikely to benefit from insulation in these older properties.

For buildings from the start of the age of concrete, you find single-skin blockwork walls, concrete floors, and often inadequate windows.  All these things can be improved, at a cost, and in a way dependent on the type of property - but perversely, the cost and success might be higher and lower respectively than for pre-concrete structures.

In 2006, the regulations tightened considerably, so professionally built properties (which is not all properties...) should have improved thermal/energy performance.

In short, buying "newer" guarantees you nothing, unless you know the building to be very recent, and have confirmation of the standards applied.

A few things to take into account:

Depending on the area you're looking at, mitigating heat may be at least as valuable as mitigating cold;

Energy ratings in estate agency listings may not be accurate, always check the reports;

Check for ventilation of areas where humidity originates (notably bathrooms and kitchens) as this can be poor, and "better" glazing without ventilation could be storing up a damp problem (which, contrary to common wisdom, is not an inevitability in Portugal, though it is common).

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10 Replies
Premium Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 12 months ago

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Posts: 248

@thomasribatejo   How are those energy ratings actually calculated/determined, and by whom? You mention checking a report - what does such a report contain and how reliable is it?

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 Ralf
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(@ralf)
Joined: 7 months ago

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Posts: 103

@jeanne I wondered the same thing. And it sounds like the integrity of the ratings is      compromised. This really concerns me, as I really want to ensure the home I buy has the ability to stay cool in the summer, and hold in heat in the winter. I know some basic things to look for, such as double glazed windows, but don't trust myself to determine with confidence the energy efficiency of a house. I am going to have to hire someone, or get much more up to speed on this subject.

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(@tygger)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 141

@ralf If you find a property that you wish to purchase then you can pay for your own SAP survey, you could ask the surveyor that will be carrying out the construction survey if they can do it for you.

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 Ralf
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(@ralf)
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Posts: 103

@tygger ok, thank you.

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(@jeanne)
Joined: 12 months ago

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Posts: 248

@ralf   same here.  Living in a climate with long, harsh winters has pounded the importance of R- values into my head.  Winter humidity is not an issue where I live now - our winters are so dry that we use humidifiers  to ADD moisture indoors.

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Admin
(@thomasribatejo)
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Posts: 406

@jeanne Energy ratings are carried out by accredited people, who should normally be independent of the seller or agent (but commissioned by them to provide the certificate).  When we sold somewhere in the not too distant past, the estate agent put us in touch with someone, who visited, and we paid them directly. They carry out a survey to determine the relevant classification.

They contain information on the energy/environmental credentials, and recommendations as to improvements that the buyer might wish to make (although these are quite generic).  If anyone is interested in seeing one, I am happy to share the one for my last sale, if you send me a private message here.

My point about checking is that, as with many aspects of an estate agent listing, what appears in the listing may not be entirely correct.  It is legally required for a recent certificate to be part of the sales documentation.  The contents of the report should not need checking - that said, as mentioned, the recommendations are pretty generic, as are the related costs, so my view is that the documents are most useful to compare between properties, rather than with some theoretical optimal property.

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(@tygger)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 141

@jeanne You'll need something that is called (in the UK) a SAP rating (Standard Assessment Procedure), building surveyors often provide them, but you may find that there are specialist energy rating organisations, normally less expensive than a chartered surveyor, in the UK a SAP certificate can costs as little as £60. I would expect the estate agent to provide one and you should be able to check it's authenticity by referring to the issuing body.

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(@thomasribatejo)
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Certificates can be checked here:

https://www.sce.pt/pesquisa-certificados/

and you can do this from the address, and/or with the unique reference of the certificate.

This link gives you a sample survey:

https://www.sce.pt/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ADENE_certificado_energ%C3%A9tico_habita%C3%A7%C3%A3o.pdf

Technically, only a property owner can request an energy certificate, not an estate agent - however I daresay it's possible for the latter to do it on behalf of the former, in practice.

The cost of the certificate itself is fixed nationally at between €28 and €65 for houses (a scale based on size); however, the person conducting the survey then adds their professional fees/costs, which are unregulated.

The surveys are conducted by registered professionals, who can be searched for on the SCE site.

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 Ralf
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(@ralf)
Joined: 7 months ago

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Posts: 103

@thomasribatejo Thanks again, Thomas. Making notes of the points you make in regards to humidity in certain areas, and to scout ventilation. Much appreciated.

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Premium Member
(@tygger)
Joined: 4 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 141

@thomasribatejo I was not really referring to ancient monuments 😆 i.e. houses built in the beginning of the last century. It's true what you say that those houses didn't have heating or cooling so relied (somewhat ineffectually) on thick walls and small windows. As you say there are a number of houses, in the north of Portugal which suffer from damp due to the high humidity and lack of ventilation, not many people want to open the windows in winter, so mechanical ventilation will be required, preferably MVHR system to mitiagte the effects/cost of pumping your nice warm air to outside. 😲

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