We use First Rate 5 Energy Rating software and Ecotect Analysis to assess our buildings and the energy efficiency of them from an early point in the process. As an aid to the design process, this helps reduce surprises at the end of the process. The worst thing is to design a great building and at the end of the process realize it is not possible because the energy requirements call for a change to the building fabric.
We are fortunate to do this in house, without the backwards and forwards nature of a third party and the inefficiencies of that communication that can arise. This helps us get it right, faster.