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Helping you achieve a perfect SBEM

Which drawings to provide

Provide drawings for site plan, floor layouts, elevations, sections. If you have them, please send floor plans in dwg format as this format is compatible with our software systems.

U values can be calculated if you need

Please supply u-values for all types of external walls, ground floors, roofs and glazing. If necessary, we can calculate these for you (excluding glazing and roof lights) if you let us have full construction details.

Make it air tight

Make sure the build achieves a good level of air tightness – 5 or better. Although non-domestic buildings with a useful floor area of under 500m² do not require a mandatory air permeability test, we are finding that very often a voluntary air test is useful in determining the actual air permeability (and therefore modelling the building more accurately and effectively reducing the development’s CO2 emissions), rather than inputting a broad (and very high) default figure of 15 into the assessment for smaller buildings.

Give us details of all heating & cooling systems

Provide details of all heating/cooling systems present. Ideally we need manufacturer’s figures for boiler and heat pump efficiencies. However, if you provide the make and model we will attempt to look this up for you. Try and avoid any form of heating that uses direct acting electricity, such as panel or storage heaters as this fuel has a high fuel emission factor and associated CO2 emissions.

Consider passive ventilation

If cooling is required for a building, consider passive ventilation or mixed mode as a way of additional cooling. Both these will reduce the cooling load with mechanical air conditioning used only when necessary, so reducing CO2 emissions.

Tell us which energy monitoring devices you are using

Please let us know what sort of controls and if energy monitoring devices (Building Management Systems) are being used as these can reduce the amount of energy used. Buildings over 1000m² must have sub-metering with automatic meter reading and data collection.

How are you heating your water?

Let us know how the domestic hot water will be heated. Again try and avoid electricity unless using instant point of use systems in areas of very low demand. Any hot water storage should be in a highly insulated cylinder with low standing heat losses.

Use low energy fans

Whilst ventilation must of course comply with Part F regulations, these systems should also use low energy fans. If MVHR is specified the system should have low specific fan powers and high heat recovery efficiency.

Let us know what lighting design you plan to use

What lighting system are you using? Please provide a copy of the lighting design if possible.

Make it low wattage

Lighting can have a great effect on the energy requirements of a building. Fittings should be low wattage. LED lighting systems are becoming more popular as they offer very low wattages with good luminious efficacy. Capital outlays are higher than conventional systems but costs are falling. On the plus side, LEDs do have much lower maintenance costs.

Consider high specification solar glazing

In buildings with cooling and large areas of glazing (especially with a southerly aspect) it may be useful to consider specifying high specification solar glazing which will reduce solar gain in the summer months so that the cooling equipment is not working overtime. Please provide manufacturer’s data for light transmission and shading coefficient (g value). External solar shading will also help to reduce overheating therefore reducing the amount of cooling required for comfort and cut CO2 emissions. If external shading is specified please provide a section(s) showing the overhang of the shading.

Consider renewables

Consider incorporating renewable systems into you project - This can be a good option if compliance is easy to achieve. Consider solar thermal and photovoltaic panels (even Combined Heat and Power for a large development - although not strictly renewable). Wind turbines are generally only acceptable in a very few situations as planning restrictions and technical feasibility can make their installation challenging. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to every question. Just let us know and we can give you advice on what you need to do to comply. If you still need help or have any queries, look at our top tips or just ring us on 08458 386 387.  

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 07.08.2012.