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Our homes account for around 27% of carbon emissions in the UK, which contribute to climate change. The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced in 2007. Since May 2008 it has been compulsory for all new homes to have a Code for Sustainable Homes rating, even if this rating is zero.All new social housing require a minimum of Code Level 3.


There are nine categories in the code covering energy, water, the materials used in the home through to health and wellbeing and pollution with points assigned to each category.The nine categories are:

  1. energy and CO2 emissions
  2. pollution
  3. water
  4. health and wellbeing
  5. materials
  6. management
  7. surface water run-off
  8. ecology
  9. waste.
The code uses a one to six star rating system to show the overall sustainability performance of a new home. A home assessed as six stars will have the highest sustainability rating and no stars the lowest. For example a three star home will be 25% more efficient than a one star home.


In 2006 the Government announced a 10-year timetable towards a target that all new homes from 2016 must be built to zero carbon standards, to be achieved through a step by step tightening of the building regulations.To reach zero carbon, which will be Code Level 6, the house will have to produce no carbon emissions from its heating system as well as producing surplus renewable energy to cover the carbon emission from appliances and lighting.

In Sheffield all new social housing must be built to a minimum of Code Level 4. Also all housing built on Housing Market Renewal (HMR) sites must reach a minimum of Code Level 4 and in some cases Code Level 5.