Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes

1. What is the code for sustainable homes?

The code measures the sustainability of a new home against nine categories of sustainable design, rating the ‘whole home’ as a complete package. The Code uses a 1 to 6 star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home. 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).


2. Why is it needed?

Our homes account for around 27% of the Uk’s carbon emissions, a major cause of climate change. The Department for Communities and Local Government laid the foundations for greener housing when it launched the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2007. Since May 2008 all new homes are required to have a code rating against the Code and for a Code certificate to be included within the Home Information Pack (HIP).*


3. How does it work?

Sustainable homes will be rated against six star ratings (six being the best) categories depending on how they perform when assessed against nine design criteria as follows:

For full details please refer to the government site


4. Key target dates

Key target dates that the government has set the building industry to achieve code levels are as follows:

5. What are the benefits?

The Environment

Over time, the environmental benefits of the code for sustainable homes will be significant as we begin to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the level of carbon emissions falls.

The continuing effects of climate change (ie from droughts to flooding) will be better managed and homes will be better equipped and more able to cope with these changes in weather conditions.

Responsible sourcing and management of building materials will drive industry standards up and, in turn, new and more sustainable methods of construction will be developed and introduced.

The code will ensure that homes of the future are encouraged to minimise pollution and effectively manage waste through recycling to further improve their environmental credentials.


Benefits for house builders


The use of sustainable products and services during construction improves buying confidence. Developers realise the importance of Green issues within their future projects. Developers are also able to create differentiation in the homes that they build by the way that they use renewable energies and sustainable products.


Legal requirements

Building regulations are constantly changing and focusing builders on their responsibilities for the design and construction of sustainable homes. The code for sustainable homes pulls together many aspects of these requirements and it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to our environment and its future protection.


Flexible building practices

Although the code for sustainable homes lays out strict guidelines on the performance that a building should achieve, it is left to the builder to determine the best solutions that can be used within each construction to meet the required standard.


Benefits for Home Buyers


Through HIPS packs, home buyers will be better informed about homes for sale and be able to compare environmental performance and energy efficiencies during the buying process. Reduction of carbon footprints will be a key buying consideration in the future.


More efficient

The code for sustainable homes has introduced building practices that should lead to improved energy efficiency of the home which, in turn, will lead to energy cost savings. Homeowners will also benefit from the house design which provides improved lighting and living space providing an overall healthier place to live.


6. What can I do for my existing home?

Although the code is aimed mainly at the design and construction of future homes there are still many ideas that can be brought into existing homes. Some of us will be driven by a need to reduce our carbon footprint. Others may wish to reduce their energy costs. Whatever the reason, this brochure contains solutions for technologies and products that can be introduced into your home today to help you to make your home more sustainable for the future.