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Policy update - Code for sustainable homes

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The Code for Sustainable Homes sets out a national standard for residential construction

Launched on 13 December 2006, the Code for Sustainable Homes sets out a national standard for residential construction and will replace BREEAM’s EcoHomes rating system. Homes are assessed holistically over nine categories: energy and CO2 usage; water usage; materials; surface-water run-off; waste; pollution; health and well-being; management; and ecology.

The code is based on a six-tiered rating system, with code level 1 the lowest and 6 the highest. Ratings are achieved both through meeting goals within each category, and with specific measurements of carbon emissions and water usage determining ranking (a level 6 implies zero -carbon goals have been met). Buildings are analysed by a code assessor both speculatively before construction and after completion.

In July the government considered making it mandatory to consider all new housing against the ranking system under the Code for Sustainable Homes. As of 16 November these plans are set to go ahead, with implementation beginning in April 2008, though the date has yet to be finalised.

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