The Code for Sustainable Homes is based on a points system which awards a star rating of 1 to 6; the highest being a zero carbon home. Points are awarded depending on what aspects of sustainability, energy efficiency and carbon reductions have been achieved in construction. There are nine key elements which constitute the Code which can be found in this section.
This section has the highest point allocation and concentrates on reducing carbon emissions during construction and when the house is occupied. It also looks at energy efficiency in the fabric of the building and aspects such as lighting, white goods and renewable energy.
Points are allocated where measures are taken to reduce the consumption of potable water either through rainwater or grey water harvesting and energy efficient appliances which use less water.
This section concentrates on where materials are sourced from and their environmental impact over their life cycle. This would include materials for areas such as roofing, windows, timber, finishing products, floors and walls.
To reduce the risk of flooding and overloading of drainage systems the installation of surface water run-off systems and effective water discharge is regarded as a key area to help protect the environment.
Points are allocated for the reduction of waste during construction and throughout the life of the property. Storage for recycling, composting and re-using household waste is a key area along with effective waste removal from site during the building process.
Points are awarded if measures are taken to help reduce the Global Warming Potential and the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere during and after the building of a new home. This area is concerned particularly with acoustic and thermal insulation.
This section deals with quality of life for occupants within the home such as the amount of natural light which enters the property, sound proofing and outdoor spaces. Accessibility is also a consideration to ensure anyone can live in the dwelling or adequately make changes to do so.
Points are awarded when the security of the property is considered and where a home user guide is provided post construction. This section also awards points for considerate construction where nearby dwellings may be affected and the impact on the environment.
Any new building has an effect on the ecological environment. Points are awarded where consideration is given to protection of wildlife and improvement of the ecological value of the site and surrounding area.
This section provides additional guidance which is relevant to the Code for Sustainable Homes and may provide further understanding regarding key aspects within the Code. The information provided here offers definitions and detail about policy, products, certificates and standards.
The Standard Assessment Procedure is a measurement tool which calculates the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from a home. It takes into account all the elements of the build and construction to provide a sustainability rating for the property.
Appendix Q is a new addition to SAP which enables the integration of new technologies to the calculation tool in order provide a sustainability rating. Products such has heat recovery systems and mechanical extract ventilation have been included.
Home Information Packs are designed to provide potential owners with a guide to how energy efficient their new home will be. It also includes likely running costs, property information questionnaire and sustainability information.
The European Labelling Scheme is designed to provide consumers with a guide to how energy efficient white goods are, such as fridges, washing machines and ovens. It is now mandatory for every manufacturer to have their products rated.
The SEDBUCK scheme provides an energy efficiency rating for boilers in the UK. Any new installation must meet an A or B rating according to building regulations. The scheme also provides consumers with an effective guide as to the energy consumption of a boiler.
Window energy ratings were established in 2004 and range from A to G. Currently building regulations state that minimum window standards for new buildings should meet a rating of D or above.
Sustainable drainage systems have become a key element to the building of new homes and also help reduce mains water systems from overloading. One of the main benefits is the protection of the home from the risk of flooding.
This is a calculation which is a comparison between Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gases and how during construction they might negatively affect the process of global warming. Certain products with a rating of GWP 5 or less will conform to the Code for Sustainable Homes requirements.
This is a voluntary environmental assessment method which is used as a standard for sustainable design and construction. The assessment can be used for new buildings, extensions or refurbishments and also forms the basis for the Code for Sustainable Homes.
In order for architects, developers and specifiers to find information on sustainable products this guide was published by BRE (British Research Establishment). It offers information and ratings on the environmental impacts of materials and components used in construction.