The building industry is continually looking for ways to create greener, more sustainable developments. As a result, energy efficiency is a high priority in the UK.

Sustain Quality provide assessments to ensure new commercial buildings are:

  • Well insulated
  • Well ventilated
  • Efficiently heated, cooled and lit
  • Sustainable

Today we will be focussing on SBEM calculations for commercial buildings and why they are important prior to, and during the construction process to ensure the above objectives are met. 

cta your guide to sbem calculations ebook

SBEM: Key Information

Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) is a computer program that provides an analysis of a building’s energy consumption. It calculates monthly energy use and carbon dioxide emissions of a building, given a description of the building geometry, construction, use, and HVAC and lighting equipment.

It was originally based on the Dutch methodology NEN 2916:1998 (Energy Performance of Non-Residential Buildings) and has since been modified to comply with current UK building regulations.

Below, we have pulled out some key facts for clarity:

  • SBEM been available in the UK since 2006.
  • SBEM calculations are required for commercial buildings, whilst SAP calculations are for dwellings.
  • Sustain Quality offers both SBEM and SAP calculations, depending on your specific requirements.
  • In order to produce a new or up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), you need to carry out SBEM calculations. It is against the law to rent or sell a commercial property without an EPC.
  • The EPC rates the property between 1 and 100. The closer to 100 the rating is, the more energy efficient the building is.
  • SBEM calculations come in two formats: L2A (new builds) and L2B (conversions and extensions) and contribute to a new or updated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

What Does SBEM Measure?

A SBEM calculation measures four key criteria:

  1. Ensuring the Building Emission Rate (BER) doesn’t exceed the Target Emission Rate (TER)
  2. Making sure that building fabric and HVAC systems (heating, cooling, and ventilation), hot water and fixed lighting systems achieve a reasonable overall standard of energy efficiency.
  3. Demonstrating appropriate passive control measures to limit solar gains during summer months, in order to reduce the need for air conditioning systems.
  4. Enabling energy-efficient operations are put in place and ensuring there are necessary provisions.

What Software Do We Use?

SBEM assessments are made and calculated using government approved software. Sustain Quality uses two different types of software. They are Elmhurst Energy and Stroma, depending on specific requirements.

From this, we are able to provide you with a detailed SBEM calculation.

‘As Designed’ and ‘As Built’

‘As Designed’ and ‘As Built’ refers to the stage of which the development is at.

The ‘As Designed’ SBEM calculation is completed prior to the construction work being carried out. The calculation is submitted to show that the building meets the target emission rate for energy efficiency.

When all works have been completed, the ‘As Built’ SBEM calculation is then submitted and building control can sign the project off.

We aim to provide a detailed and comprehensive calculation during the ‘As Designed’ stage to ensure that it is as true to the final assessment, once building work has completed.

If you would like a quote based on whatever stage you are at with development, we’d love to hear from you.

What Details Do We Require?

The more information you give us prior to carrying out a calculation, the more accurate our assessment will be. Ideally, we’d like:

Full-scaled plans Building fabric details
Sections and elevations of the final or intended layout Information on air tightness and thermal bridging
Specifications for heating, cooling,
ventilation, hot water and lighting
Any renewable systems to be

Click here for a copy of the appointment form we require you to complete prior to the assessment being carried out.

cta your guide to sbem calculations ebook


By now, you should have a general overview of the fundamental elements of SBEM calculations. Sustain Quality is committed to providing the best in energy assessments, including SAP and SBEM, as well as a range of sustainability and building compliance solutions for developments in the commercial and residential sectors.

We place a strong emphasis on educating our clients and if you would like any information on our services, fill out the form below.