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Since April 2007 the developer of any new home in England can choose to be assessed against the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) launched in December 2006. Within England, replaces the EcoHomes scheme, developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

As usual there is more bureaucratic change instead of focussing on improving what is already there, namely the BRE Ecohomes system. Why not add the ratings system to the EcoHomes system?

What is the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH)

The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against 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 nine key areas are: energy, pollution, water, health & well-being, materials, management, surface water run-off, ecology and waste.

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). EcoHomes will be phased out as the new ratings system comes into force. It will be simpler and more consistent with other ratings systems such as those for applicances etc.

After a consultation in July 2007, the Government will now be proceeding with the implementation of mandatory rating against the Code for all new homes, starting with the lower rating levels.

The levels are:

From April 2008 all new social housing must reach Code level 3.

All new houses must be Code level 6 and be zero rated by 2016.

There is a big protest from commercial house builders over this, and these plans are not enacted yet.

A full guide is available from the Planning Portal website see (new window)