Software tool assesses compliance with Part L

A software tool developed by BRE and commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will help those developing and designing buildings with the complex task of assessing their energy performance — a task that will soon be essential. Such assessments will be needed for all new buildings and many large refurbishments to comply with the revised Part L of the Building Regulations and to produce the energy rating that will be required from next year under the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Known as SBEM (simplified building energy method), the tool simplifies the job of the national calculation methodology laid down in the Part L consultation document. It demonstrates a building’s compliance with minimum energy performance standards and calculates the EPBD assessment rating. This rating shows how much energy the building uses under standardised design conditions and will have to be made available to prospective purchasers and tenants. The tool consists of three elements. • The SBEM energy-use calculation tool. • An interface for the user to input information on the building’s geometry, construction activities and service systems. • A set of databases (of activities within buildings, descriptions of wall, floor, roof and glazing systems, and details on heating, ventilation, air- conditioning and lighting systems) from which the tool can draw information. Beta testing continues until the end of September 2005. This follows a period during which a prototype of the method has been available on the web and received almost a hundred comments and feedback on suggested revisions and improvements. The prototype tool can be viewed on the web site below.
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