Introduction to the Code for Sustainable Homes

What is the Code for Sustainable Homes?

The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced to drive a ‘step-change’ in sustainable home building practice. Prepared by the Government working closely with building industry bodies and research organisations it is intended as a single, national standard to guide industry in the design and construction of sustainable homes. It measures the sustainability of a home against design categories, rating the whole home as a complete package. The categories included are:

• Energy/CO2

• Water

• Materials

• Surface water run-off

• Waste

• Pollution

• Health and well-being

• Management

• Ecology

How does the Code work?

• The Code uses a sustainability rating system indicated by stars to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a home. A home can achieve a rating from one to six stars, depending upon the extent to which it has achieved Code standards.

• Minimum standards exist for a number of categories, which must be achieved to obtain any Code rating.

• Apart from these minimum requirements, developers are free to choose which and how many standards they implement to obtain sustainability star ratings.

• The assessment process will be transparent and rigorous and carried out by accredited independent assessors. They will perform design stage assessments, recommend a rating and issue an interim Code certificate. A post completion check will follow. This need only be done for each house type within a development. Follow up sample checks will also be made.

For the full Code for Sustainable Homes document, please click herefor the Communities and Local Government Website.

Benefits for Home Builders

  • There is a growing appetite among consumers for more sustainable products and services. The Code for Sustainable Homes can be used by home builders to demonstrate the sustainability performance of their homes and to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

  • Regulatory certainty – The levels of performance for energy efficiency indicate the future direction of building regulations, bringing greater regulatory certainty for home builders, and acting as a guide to support effective business and investment planning.

  • Flexibility – The Code is based on performance which means it sets levels for sustainability performance against each element but does not prescribe how to achieve each level. Home builders can innovate to find cost effective solutions to meet and exceed minimum requirements.

What are the benefits for Social Housing providers?

  • Homes built to the Code standard will have lower running costs through greater energy and water efficiency than homes that aren’t built to Code standards.

  • Homes built to the Code will enhance the comfort and satisfaction of tenants. Costs may be saved in dealing with complaints.

  • The Code will enable Social Housing providers to demonstrate their sustainability credentials to the public, tenants and to funding bodies.

Benefits for Consumers

  • The Code will provide valuable information to homebuyers on the sustainability performance of different homes, helping them in the choice of their new home.

  • By asking for a new home which meets the Code standard, consumers will be able to encourage the building industry to build more sustainable homes and reduce their own ‘footprint’ on the environment.

  • Homes built to the Code standard will have lower running costs through greater energy and water efficiency than homes not built to the Code standard, so helping to reduce fuel poverty.

  • Homes built to the Code standard will provide a more pleasant and healthy place to live, for example with more natural light, and adaptability for future needs.