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Everything You Need to Know about the UK’s Code for Sustainable Homes

Launched way back in 2006, the UK’s Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) is a huge step in the right direction for the construction industry. Similar to LEED in the US, it is an environmental protocol that aims to change the way houses and other properties are built. It was introduced with the view that making ‘environmentally friendly’, sustainable buildings now, will help tackle the issues with the environment that we are currently experiencing.

In the official CSH documentation the following benefits are highlighted:

1.  Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions- Cutting greenhouse gasses is now the cornerstone of almost every ‘green’ project, so it’s not surprise to see this at the top of the list.

2.  Better Preparation for the Future –On top of trying to stop damage to the environment CSH also aims to prepare residents and builders for the changes that will have to be made as a result of the damage that we have already done.

3.  Less Damage to the Environment Overall – Ensuring houses are sustainable and environmentally friendly in the future, through the use of better materials and creating a better attitude.

As well as the environmental benefits there are also a number of benefits for the people involved with building and selling the properties. The main advantage is that commitment to the CSH shows a dedication to quality and a genuine concern for the environment. This makes is easier to sell the properties in an age where consumers are very aware of environmental issues.

What’s more the ever increasing population means that we need to change the way we are building houses as the existing model simply isn’t sustainable.

So, what exactly does the Code for Sustainable Homes Cover?

It is essentially a multi-characteristic assessment that covers nine different elements of sustainability in new build properties. Credits are awarded for each element and assessed projects are rated Level 1-6. Level 1 represents the absolute minimum (above the legal mandatory requirements) and Level 6 represents an outstanding degree of sustainability.

The nine elements are;

Energy/CO2, Water, Materials, Surface water run-off, Waste, Pollution, Health and well-being, Management and Ecology.

The Code for Sustainable Homes covers almost every area that matters when it comes to sustainability. Although it is not a legal requirement for every home to get assessed all new properties must be assessed and even if they are not they have to provide a certificate with a zero rating on it.

What Next for the SCH?

It’s clear that the UK government are taking this seriously and it’s great to see that it is slowly being phased in to construction law. There has been widespread support for the CSH from its early days right up until now and it has had very few critics. It’s fair to assume that in the near future all new homes will have to meet a certain level of sustainability and the CSH will most likely be the framework for such a law. Many think that it will eventually be fully incorporated into the mandatory Part L building regulations.