Glossary

Perplexed by all this talk of u-values and blower door tests? Our sustainable building glossary will help you get to grips with the key terminology.

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Term Main definition
BER

The rating system used to measure the energy efficiency of Irish buildings. BERs range from a G for poor efficiency to an A1 for best efficiency

Blower-door test

This is used to work out a house's airtightness. A fan mounted to an external door is used to pressurize or depressurise the interior of the house, forcing air in or out through any gaps or cracks. The house's airtightness is determined by measuring the force needed to maintain a certain pressure difference between the inside and outside of the house

BREEAM

This is the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method, a UK system used to assess the environmental impact of non-domestic buildings. It considers a range of criteria including energy consumption, water, materials, waste, transport, ecology, pollution and health. It has four levels: pass, good, very good and excellent

Brise soleil

A permanent structure designed to provide shade from the sun. In the northern-hemisphere these are often placed on a building's south-facade to help prevent glare and overheating. Some innovative approaches to brise soleil include planting deciduous climbers to provide extra summer shading and more passive solar gain in winter.

Building energy rating (BER)

The rating system used to measure the energy efficiency of Irish buildings. BERs range from a G for poor efficiency to an A1 for best efficiency

Building envelope

The exterior shell of the building, including the external walls, windows, floor and roof.