Communities Minister Ruth Kelly has revealed details of the latest 'Carbon Challenge', which will be run by English Partnerships.
This will call on housebuiders and their architects to comply with standards of design, construction, energy and water use and waste disposal, which can be used as a benchmark for mainstream development.
It is yet another bid by the government to encourage housebuilders to respond to the its increasingly vocal sustainability agenda.
Kelly said: 'We must cut carbon emissions to tackle climate change - and housing has a major role to play.
'Building the new homes we need across the country is a prime opportunity to harness new technology and drive up environmental standards.
'We need to design communities, not just houses. While there are lots of carbon-saving measures that can be used in individual homes, designing a whole community gives developers scope to make use of schemes like district heating and combined heat and power plants,' Kelly added.
For more information, visit www.communities.gov.uk.