Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes introduces a national standard for newbuild residential development; achieving a specific Code rating is currently only mandatory for public sector housebuilders but is scheduled to become mandatory for the private sector too, with progressively higher ratings leading to a “zero carbon” rating for all homes by 2016.

The Code can be seen as a compass for sustainable construction in the building industry and is increasingly used as a mechanism for imposing environmental standards into planning applications.

It also serves as a marketing tool in the industry by enabling housebuilders to help home buyers to appreciate the environmental impact of a property and get a better idea of its energy efficiency and general running cost, thus demonstrating the value of the increased cost of compliant homes.

In May 2008 it became mandatory for builders of new homes to provide general information to prospective purchasers on the environmental impact and sustainability of a home, either by issuing a certificate showing what code level it had achieved, or by issuing a ‘nil-rating’ certificate declaring that the home had not been assessed against the Code and providing information about sustainability. Code compliance is closely allied with the requirement to provide Energy Performance certificates, and the code rating would be provided within the Home Information Pack on sale.

Criteria for Code Assessment
The code assesses the design and performance of the building against a number of criteria, with an emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions and conserving water. The criteria are:
  • Energy and CO2
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Surface Water Run-off
  • Waste
  • Pollution
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Management
  • Ecology

The assessment results in a star rating from one (minimal improvement on building regulations standards) to six stars (the “net zero carbon” standard). Currently a property that does not meet any of the criteria for qualification can be given a nil rating, but this will be phased out in due course. Page last updated: 28 April 2010
The content of this website reflects the author’s views. the Environment Centre (tEC) and the INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme Authorities accept no liability for the accuracy of the claims made and any use that may be made of the information contained therein.