Planning, building and the environment

Content under review

Following the change of government we are reviewing all content on this website.

Code for Sustainable Homes

Code for sustainable homes logo

The Code is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. The Code aims to reduce our carbon emissions and create homes that are more sustainable.

The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against nine categories of sustainable design, rating the 'whole home' as a complete package. The Code uses a one to six star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home. 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).

If you attended the Local Authority workshops on the Code the presentations are now available on the BRE website (see 'On Other Sites' links, right).

Sustainability certificate and the Code

The Government has announced the suspension of Home Information Packs with immediate effect from 21 May 2010.(see link under 'On this site', top right)

The requirement for sellers to give a sustainability certificate (either a Code for Sustainable Homes certificate or a nil-rated certificate) to buyers of newly constructed homes has also been suspended.

The Code for Sustainable Homes is still operational and remains the Government's national sustainability standard for new homes.


The Code supports the government target that all new homes will be zero carbon from 2016 and the step changes in Building Regulations Part L leading to this. As part of the recent consultation excercise, we are now evaluating responses to the Sustainable New Homes: The Road to Zero Carbon: Consultation on the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Energy Efficiency standard for Zero Carbon Homes   which was seeking views on changes to the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2010, to align with changes to Part L of the Building Regulations and the proposed approach to adopting the 2016 definition of zero carbon.


The Department has published two case studies which show the different ways of achieving various levels of the Code and also highlights potential pit-falls for developers (see 'Related publications' links, below).

The Department has also funded the production of The Sponge Buyer's Guide To A Greener Home, which gives buyers of new homes the confidence and the knowledge to buy a greener, more sustainable, home (see 'On Other Sites' links, right).

Guidance on how to comply with the Code

  • The Code for Sustainable Homes: Setting the Sustainability Standards for New Homes , which sets out the assessment process and the performance standards required for the Code.
  • The Code for Sustainable Homes: Technical guide , which sets out the requirements for the Code, and the process by which a Code assessment is reached. The latest version is the 'May 2009 Version 2' guide which comes into effect on 22 June 2009. For homes registered on or after this date, the May 2009 Version 2 will apply. The October 2008 version (which is available in the achived section) will only apply to homes registered before this date.
  • The Code for Sustainable Homes: Summary of Changes to the Technical Guidance May 2009 Version 2 , records the changes between the October 2008 version of the Code for Sustainable Homes Technical Guide and the May 2009 version.
  • CLG and BRE Global Ltd have produced twoTechnical Guidance Notes that provide further clarification of the interpretation of the Technical Guide requirements for Surface Water Run-off,  and addresses some of the complexity of the evidence requirements which are required within the current Technical Guides issued to date (see 'On Other Sites' links, right).  

Cost analysis

In November 2007 we published an Impact Assessment which was part of the Housing and Regeneration Bill Impact Assessment paper, that analysed the costs and benefits of introducing mandatory ratings against the Code which included updated modelling data on the costs of building Code homes.  Further details of the cost modelling undertaken can be found in the report Cost Analysis of The Code for Sustainable Homes: Final report. An updated cost analysis, based upon 2009 research, can be found in the report Code for Sustainable Homes: A Cost Review.

Statistics on the Code for Sustainable Homes

The statistics published on 20 May 2010 in the House Building: March Quarter 2010, England  publication (see 'Related publications' links, below) show how many homes have been certified to the standards set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes and at which level. Certificates can be issued at design stage (early in construction) and at post construction stage (after the home is built).

In the short-term interests of expanding the scope of official statistics, their timeliness, and their accessibility, the Department will include these within the quarterly House Building publication for the first quarter of 2010. Thereafter, it is proposed that statistics on the Code for Sustainable Homes be subsequently released as a standalone publication. The date of release will be pre-announced in the usual way on CLG's website, and on the release calendar attached to the Publication Hub (see link under 'On other site', top right).


On 13 December 2006, the Code for Sustainable Homes - a new national standard for sustainable design and construction of new homes - was launched. Since April 2007 the developer of any new home in England can choose to be assessed against the Code.

In this section

Related publications

You may also be interested in …

On this site

My favourites