Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) Calculations Explained

What are SBEM calculations?

Simplified Building Energy Model, or SBEM, is a methodology created by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to assess the energy consumption of commercial and non-domestic buildings, much like SAP calculations for domestic dwellings.

The model calculates the thermal efficiency, the amount of energy consumed and carbon emissions of the occupied building annually based on the building’s design, construction, lighting and HVAC.

What are SBEM assessments for?

SBEM calculations are used to demonstrate compliance with the Building Regulation UK Part L (BRUKL).

A BRUKL compliance report and certificate is required for all new commercial and non-domestic dwellings, or refurbishment projects over 50m2, to prove they have been designed to comply with UK building regulations.

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BRUKL assessments are first carried out during the design phase of a build project. A report is then produced detailing how the design meets the requirements.

Once the build is complete, it will need to be reassessed to evaluate whether the design still complies and consider changes that may have been made during the construction process, it will then be signed-off with a BRUKL certificate.

To comply with BRUKL, the SBEM calculates the Building Emission Rate (BER), which must not be above the Target Emission Rate (TER) set in the Buildings Regulations to pass.

Upon completion of a build or refurbishment project, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is then produced by an Accredited Energy Assessor.

The earliest possible completion of commercial SBEM calculations during your project is recommended. By finishing the calculations during the project’s design phase, you can head off any potential problems before they arise by ensuring that your project complies with building regulations, mitigating the potential of failing to meet the BRUKL standards.

The report takes into consideration the construction materials, HVAC, services and Building Emission Rate (BER), which is calculated as part of the SBEM assessment, and cannot be above the Target Emission Rate (TER).

Where a project fails our BRUKL assessment, our experienced consultants will recommend changes to the design to ensure it will achieve compliance before submission.

SBEM assessments are for anyone involved in the development of a commercial, non-domestic new build or refurbishment over 50m2. The term ‘non-domestic’ refers to any property that is not used as a place of permanent or semi-permanent residence.

SBEM assessments can be undertaken by architects, developers, contractors, consultants, planners, mechanical and electrical organisations, and other industry professionals.

There are a few exemptions to the SBEM and BRUKL regulations, these include:

  • Places of worship and those used for religious activities
  • Temporary buildings in use for no more than two years
  • Buildings with low energy demand
  • Single buildings with a floor space of less than 50m2

Why do I need an EPC

Following its construction, the BER needs to be calculated again using SBEM, at which point an As Built BRUKL certificate is produced. An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is then produced by an Accredited Energy Assessor as part of the building control sign-off. An EPC is legally required under the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations (EPBR), to sell or rent space in a commercial building.

How we can help

Our experienced consultants can assess and produce your SBEM calculations to support your organisation in achieving compliance with BRUKL. 


Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

BRUKL, SBEM, Energy & Sustainability Statements

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