What is SBEM?

Darren Evans
April 16, 2021

The Simplified Building Energy Model, or SBEM, is a compliance tool for assessing whether a non-domestic building meets the energy efficiency requirements and carbon emissions targets of national building regulations.

SBEM calculations can effectively be viewed as the non-domestic version of SAP calculations. They are required for new-build projects, as well as extensions, refurbishments, and retrofits of buildings other than dwellings.

What do SBEM calculations measure?

Energy efficiency requirements in national building regulations generally assess a building’s performance in terms of its carbon emissions (exact performance metrics and methods of compliance vary by country in the UK). SBEM calculations set a target emission rate (TER) for the design, which must be bettered by the building emission rate (BER).

The calculations consider the building type, construction, and geometry/orientation. Mechanical services, including heating/cooling, ventilation, and lighting, are factored in with the use of the building to generate the TER/BER comparison and an energy performance certificate (EPC).

Data for different building types is contained in the ‘national calculation methodology’, which describes how buildings other than dwellings should demonstrate compliance. As the ‘simplified’ in ‘SBEM’ suggests, SBEM calculations are a compliance tool only. However, the national methodology also allows dynamic simulations that can act as a design tool and compliance tool.

When should SBEM calculations be carried out?

Prior to construction, a design stage SBEM assessment is carried out to show that a building proposal complies with the regulations. Upon the building being completed, an as-built assessment is carried out.

An experienced sustainability consultant like Darren Evans can work with you at any stage of your project to provide design recommendations and help to achieve compliant SBEM calculations. However, the best time to engage with our SBEM calculation service is as early as possible.

By guiding you through the design stage assessment, we can help you to tweak the design and make changes to the specification before the project reaches site. This ensures the design meets regulatory requirements from the start, avoiding any costly and unforeseen changes that may need to be made later.

Alongside compliance calculations we offer a complete range of sustainability and assessment services. Start a conversation with us by contacting us to discuss your project’s needs.


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