SBEM VS UK Building Regulations

By Tony Ryan.

There is an ever increasing need to reduce CO2 emissions in the UK. More than 33% of the world’s energy is consumed by buildings. In the UK, buildings are responsible for 44% of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. 26% of the CO2 emissions come from residential buildings while the remaining 18% comes from non-domestic buildings.

There are many drivers for the reduction of CO2 emissions in the UK such as;

  • UK Low Carbon Transition Plan
  • Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD)
  • The Climate Change Act 2008
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

The Climate Change Act 2008 has set ambitious but achievable targets to reduce CO2 emissions in the UK by 34% by the year 2020. These targets will be calculated using 1990’s CO2emissions as a baseline.

Every industry has to play its part in helping to achieve these targets and the construction industry is perhaps one of the most important based on the CO2 emissions of buildings mentioned above.  Building Regulations are a key method of enforcing new, stricter requirements. As a manufacturer of insulated panels Kingspan Insulated Panels is continuously providing customers with products to meet UK Building Regulations requirements. Approved documents; Part L for England & Wales and Section 6 (energy) of the Scottish Building Regulations, continue to review and enforce better U Value requirements for building fabrics.

The Department of Building Control is responsible for ensuring buildings meet the standards imposed by the Building Regulations. Building Control requires a Building Regulation UK Part L (BRUKL) compliance certificate which clearly states the new structure’s Building Emission Rate (BER) is not greater than the Target Emission Rate (TER). These BRUKL certificates are generated by completing a Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) calculation which estimates the monthly energy consumption for space heating and cooling, water heating, ventilation and lighting. It also quantifies the total estimated CO2 emissions from a property measured in kg. CO2/m2/year.

Since the 7th April 2006 all new buildings require a SBEM calculation. I am part of the team at Kingspan Insulated Panels which provides advice to help customers achieve a “Pass” in their SBEM calculation. We consider factors such as:

  • Optimum panel thickness guidance for compliance
  • Rooflight layout and percentage (over-heating due to solar gain considered)
  • Guidance on actual air leakage required for compliance
  • Recommendations on renewables

The installation of more efficient building fabrics/building services and the use of renewables to reduce a building’s carbon footprint are becoming more and more essential as Building Regulations continue to limit the allowable CO2 emissions from new buildings.  By using energy modelling software and by knowing what to look for this process can be painless, so if you would like to know more just contact me.

Tony Ryan, Building Performance Analyst, Kingspan Insulated Panels. Email:


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