Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes  is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes. It is a national standard for use in the design and construction of new homes with a view to encouraging continuous improvement in sustainable home building. It was launched in December 2006 with the publication of Code for Sustainable Homes: A step-change in sustainable home building practice (Communities and Local Government, 2006) and became operational in April 2007. Where Building Regulations apply, compliance is necessary at all times.The implementation of the Code is managed by BRE Global (formerly BRE Certification Ltd) under contract to Communities and Local Government under arrangements based on the EcoHomes© operating systems. BRE Global is the main licence holder. Under the terms of its agreement with Communities and Local Government, BRE Global issues licences to both assessors and other Code service providers. BRE Global provides training, licensing and registration of Code assessors to standards ISO 17024 and EN 45011, within a UKAS accredited ‘competent person’s certification scheme’.
Code service providers are licensed organisations offering all or part of the range of Code services, including assessor training; registration and monitoring; quality assurance of assessments; certification; investigation and resolution of complaints; and maintenance of records (BRE Global, 2007). At the time of publishing, Stroma Certification Ltd and Robust Details Limited are the other organisations licensed to provide Code services. Further information about Code service providers can be found at www.communities.gov.uk/thecode.
The Code for Sustainable Homes covers nine categories of sustainable design:
• Energy and CO2 Emissions
• Water
• Materials
• Surface Water Run-off
• Waste
• Pollution
• Heath and Well-being
• Management
• Ecology.
Each category includes a number of environmental issues, see table 1.1.
Each issue is a source of environmental impact which can be assessed against a performance target and awarded one or more credits. Performance targets are more demanding than the minimum standard needed to satisfy Building Regulations or other legislation. They represent good or best practice, are technically feasible, and can be delivered by the building industry.
In addition to meeting mandatory standards, achievement of the requirements in each design category scores a number of percentage points. This establishes the Code level or rating for the dwelling. The Code certificate illustrates the rating achieved with a row of stars. A blue star is awarded for each level achieved. Where an assessment has taken place and no rating is achieved, the certificate states that zero stars have been awarded.

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