Code for Sustainable Homes

A government owned standard/environmental method to reduce carbon emissions and create new homes that are more sustainable by rating and certifying against a set of criteria.
A voluntary standard which exceeds current building regs and aims to promote holistic sustainable design of new homes using a 1-6* rating system. Originally level 6 defined zero carbon, currently under consultation.
The Code for Sustainable Homes (the Code) is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. The Code aims to reduce our carbon emissions and create homes that are more sustainable. It applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is entirely voluntary, and is intended to help promote higher standards of sustainable design above current Building Regulations minima.

The Code measures the sustainability of new homes against nine categories of sustainable design, rating the 'whole home' as a complete package. It covers energy/CO2, water, materials, surface water runoff (flooding and flood prevention), waste, pollution, health and well-being, management and ecology.

The Code uses a one to six star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home against these nine categories. The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use at each level and, within England, replaces the EcoHomes scheme, developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

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Tuesday, 1st October 2013

Dieter Gockmann, EPR Architects

I agree with the comments below, in particular the importance of the CfSH for encouraging Clients to invest in the non-energy themes of sustainability, well-being and diversity being two aspects that are otherwise easily 'overlooked' or undervalued. If the goverment decides to withdraw its support of the CfSH as part of its proposals following the housing standards review I shall encourage my colleagues and clients to continue to design and develop in accordance with the principles and spirit of the code.


Monday, 10th June 2013

Ben Hopkins, Bennetts Associates

Many of the tick-box issues associated with BREEAM accreditation are equally applicable to the Code for Sustainable Homes, and some would argue that other schemes such as PassivHaus are better for forcing good passive design, but the Code is a very useful scheme and goes some way to progressing the non-energy themes of sustainability. The simple and detailed guides freely available make it fairly painless for designers to get to grips with.


Monday, 4th March 2013

Rory Bergin, HTA

This is one of the core standards for sustainable design in UK housing. It deals most with the design of the individual dwelling, rather than the site, and provides a useful set of standards for housing designers. An update is due to happen soon to bring it in line with the projected changes in Building Regulations 2013 and the proposed Zero Carbon standard for 2016.



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Often simply referred to as ‘the Code’, this is very closely associated with the policy for all homes to be zero carbon from 2016. The Code was intended to provide the basis for a ‘regulatory escalator’ – i.e. regulations were to be strengthened in line with Code levels over a period of time, although the Code was always intended to be broader than just energy, covering as it does water, biodiversity, materials and other factors. 

The story of the zero carbon homes policy, and indeed the Code itself, is complex and still ongoing, for more information go to the UK-GBC website here.


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