The code for sustainable homes is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. It aims to reduce carbon emissions and promote higher standards of sustainable design above the current minimum standards set out by the building regulations. The code provides nine measures of sustainable design: energy/CO2; water; materials; surface water runoff (flooding and flood prevention); waste; pollution; health and well-being; management; and ecology. It uses a 1 to 6 star system to rate the overall sustainability performance of a new home against these nine categories.
The code is voluntary and should not be confused with zero-carbon policy or the 2016 zero-carbon target. The only circumstances where the code can be enforced are where: local councils require developers to comply with the code by including a requirement in their planning policy; affordable housing is funded by the Homes and Community Agency that requires homes to be built to code level 3; the level 3 energy standard is now incorporated in the building regulations. The code applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Within England it replaces the EcoHomes scheme, developed by the Building Research Establishment.