How SBEM & BRUKL Are Related To Commercial Building Energy Efficiency

DSM1 exampleSBEM, is an abbreviation for Simplified Building Energy Model, and is the government approved methodology for calculating the energy efficiency of non-domestic (commercial) buildings. SBEM methodology is the calculation engine behind Commercial EPCs, and for producing a Building Regulation UK Part L reports (BRUKL Reports).

SBEM is the calculation methodology used to create Commercial EPCs and BRUKL Reports.

BRUKL Reports output the Building Energy Rating (BER) of Commercial Buildings. The BER must be lower than the Target Energy Rating (TER) in order for the building to pass Part L2 of the Building Regulations for England and Wales.

At building design state, BRUKL reports are in important tool to ensure that the building is compliant and energy efficient.

When a new commercial building is planned, an SBEM calculation is completed as a part of the design stage. The calculation result ensures that the building meets the building standards¬† for things like building fabric (insulation etc), heating, ventilation and lighting. The SBEM calculations will will be re-checked once finished and a final ‘as built’ BRUKL report will be produced. This is to ensure that if there were any changes in the specification or to the materials that were used, then the building is still compliant. If the BER is still less than the TER then the building will be signed off by the Building Control Officer as a PASS.

There are several iterations of SBEM modelling software, and assessors have to complete an accredited training course in their chosen software. This included a rigorous written and practical exam, course work, and the submission of several commercial properties for assessment. Once the assessor has passed the training they are deemed competent and are legally allowed to produce Commercial Energy Assessments to the level of training they chose to undertake.

There are three levels of competence:

  • A Non Domestic Energy Assessor rated at Level 3 can produce an EPC for a building that has a low-temperature hot water boiler, or an air conditioning unit rated below 12kw. Level 3 Assessors are not permitted to produce BRUKL Reports (SBEM Calculations).
  • A Non Domestic Energy Assessor rated at Level 4 can perform the Part L compliance checks, and produce EPC for both new and existing buildings that have a low, medium or high-temperature boiler, and can rate the majority of kinds of air conditioning.
  • A Non Domestic Energy Assessor rated at Level 5 can produce reports for buildings that have enhanced thermal cooling, automatic blind controls, and atria. The software used for creating level 5 reports is highly complex and takes into consideration weather seasons, shading and daylight. These reports are referred to as Dynamic System Models or DSM.

The rules for homes are different to the rules for commercial buildings and are not discussed here. It is important to understand that hospitals, hotels, and student accommodation are considered to be commercial properties. The construction of an extension to a building where the useful floor area of the extension is greater than 100m2 and that will add 25% or more to the useful floor area of the property are also required to have these checks performed. If you are considering purchasing or renting a property built after 2006 then you should ask to see the Commercial EPC certificate so that you can check that the building has been built to the required modern energy efficiency standards.

Learn about our BRUKL experience providing services in the areas of Newport, Cardiff and Bristol

Next: How is the UK Non-Domestic Energy Performance Register Important