New publication shows how buildings can reach their energy potential

The Chartered Institute for Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has published a book to help engineers navigate the tricky waters of Display Energy Certificate (DEC) benchmarks. The book, called TM46, is available to order from CIBSE and is £18 for members and £36 for non-members until the end of the year, after that it goes up to £20 for members and £40 for non-members.

These benchmarks provide the reference values against which various types of building are measured when producing the certificates, which became a legal requirement on many public buildings at the beginning of the month.

Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director and contributing author, said benchmarks were an important tool for hard-pressed building services workers:

“With building management becoming more important and more demanding, there is growing pressure on the engineers responsible for the operational management of buildings to provide not only high quality engineering services but to run and manage them as economically and efficiently as possible," he said.

"The benchmark data contained in this TM are based on the original CIBSE Guide F and ECG 19 data, updated to take account of more recent additions to the data set. The focus should be on improving actual performance and therefore reducing carbon emissions and saving public funds. It is CIBSE’s intent that as energy use in buildings is measured better, so it will be better managed.”

DEC benchmarks have caused some concern among engineers. Fulcrum's Jules Saunderson recently noted that wildly differing building types have similar energy fingerprints. "A secondary school, a seasonal hunting lodge and a speedway track all show the same energy benchmark,” he said. “I wouldn’t pin my hat on this software for risk of being sued.”