Simplified Energy Building Model

by Jarrah Harburn on September 7, 2012

SBEMThe Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) uses a nationally standardised assessment method for commercial buildings in the UK. All business owners, building consultants and surveyors need to be aware that new commercial buildings seeking planning permission will be assessed to ensure a carbon dioxide emissions standard is adhered to. Specifically, the Simplified Energy Building Model (SBEM) is of great importance, and this article will explain how it works and how it relates to energy efficiency and solar power.

Understanding the SBEM

The SBEM is essentially just part of a greater commercial building environmental assessment model that ensures the UK’s new commercial buildings do not emit harmful levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). When a proposed building is assessed by the SBEM (usually during planning permission) it may require certain upgrades or design guidelines that result in required levels of Carbon Dioxide emissions.

The assessments are not simply about energy efficiency and are similar to the Standard Assessment Procedures employed by the Environmental Performance Certificates (EPC) used for with the domestic market. Whilst the process is complicated, the outcome and recommendations are not; often highlighting specific upgrades that can be undertaken to help decrease the emission ratings of the building, as well as increase the energy efficiency.

Solar Panels and the SBEM

One of the more specific measures often relied upon by the SBEM system is the retrofitting of  specific square meterages of solar panels. Solar Panels are often a perfect fit for commercial buildings for a number of reasons and as such are one of the first recommendations from the Simplified Energy Building Model, unlike under the domestic Green Deal. To name a few justifications:

  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels can be installed in a retrofit fashion very easily – utilising roof space that meets basic load bearing standards to generate large amounts of renewable energy.
  • Solar Panels do not require planning permission for the majority of commercial buildings.
  • They do not require alterations to building design or structure from the outset, meaning planning permission for the buildings are simplified.
  • Solar panels generate clean energy for the facilities use, first and foremost. Excess energy can be exported to the grid or sold via a private Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The National Calculation Methodology

The organisation knows as the National Calculation Methodology (NCM), under direction of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), allows assessments on prospective buildings to be undertaken through approved assessment software. The Simplified Energy Building Model (SBEM) is simply the most widely known application, developed by the well established BRE Group – a consulting firm for public and private sector building development. The NCM monitors and authorises the SBEM as it is a reliable, universally applicable program for assessing the commercial buildings in question.

Solar Installers on the Solar Selections network are designing and installing solar systems to Simplified Energy Building Model requirements already. To speak with your personal solar broker and have them arrange for a number of quotes to be provided obligation free, contact us today. Don’t forget, Solar Selections also assist with energy efficiency upgrades on homes and energy efficiency upgrades on commercial buildings. We can assist with planning permission considerations for both as well.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

020 7205 2267

© Solar Selections Ltd 2012

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