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Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire

SBEM Calculations

What is an SBEM Calculation?

SBEM stands for Simplified Building Energy Model and it is the preferred method of the government to assess energy in non-residential buildings.

These calculations are incredibly important as they are used to prove that the building conforms to the regulations laid down in Building Regulations Approved Document L2A. It does this by comparing the designed Building Emission Rate (BER), with the Target Emission Rate (TER).

Essentially, SBEM calculations are like SAP calculations, but for non-residential premises. They calculate the amount of energy used by a building through such things as heating, air conditioning and lighting, as well as the amount of carbon dioxide the building emits, before then assigning the building a rating between 1 and 100. The closer to 100 the rating is, the more energy efficient the building is deemed to be.

A BRUKL certificate is then issued and if the project meets the requirements, it will have passed Building Regulations Part L.

There are a number of different types of buildings that will need an SBEM calculation. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Shopping centres
  • Offices
  • Restaurants
  • Retail units
  • Leisure centres
  • Retirement homes
  • Warehouses

In addition to the above, it is important to remember that an SBEM assessment can be needed not only for new builds but also for extensions and refurbishments too.

There are some exceptions as well, such as places of worship and unheated buildings.

When do I need an SBEM Calculation?

They are design calculations that are required when you are refurbishing, building or extending commercial premises.

SBEM calculations are required in order to comply with Building Regulations Part L2. It is compulsory to have SBEM calculations carried out on non-domestic construction projects.

The SBEM calculations produce an SBEM report certificate which shows the energy efficiency rating for the building in question. If the SBEM report certificate shows a pass then the project passes Building Regulations Part L2.

New build SBEM calculations work out the target emission rating (TER) followed by the building emission rating (BER). The BER must be equal to or less than the TER in order for the SBEM rating to show a pass on the SBEM report certificate.

What does an SBEM Calculation provide?

They provide a carbon footprint of the proposed building (and are required by Building Regulations Part L). They indicate the energy cost and carbon emissions generated at the design stage of a project.

Very often changes will be made after As Design calculations in liaison with the architect, developer or client to ensure that the construction complies with the latest regulations. It is essential to engage with an accredited consultant before finalizing the design.

What is the connection between an SBEM and an EPC?

Once the construction has been completed and all works have been carried out as per the SBEM specifications, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is produced from SBEM calculations.

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