The Code for Sustainable Homes, or CSH, is a rating system which assesses the drawings and specifications of a property before construction and allocates points based on the The Government has introduced this rating system as means to reduce the environmental impact of our homes, and increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of both new and existing properties.
Working in collaboration with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) the Government have introduced the Code for Sustainable Homes, based on the EcoHomes system, to set the standard for sustainability and to be used as a basis for future developments to building regulations.
The following nine elements are assessed within the Code for Sustainable Homes rating system, which fall under two categories; mandatory and other.
Energy and CO2 Emissions –
Energy and CO2 emissions fall in the mandatory category, as they are important factors in increasing the sustainability of a building and reducing its environmental impact. This element uses the SAP – Standard Assessment Procedure to calculate a rating, assessing whether the energy consumption and resulting CO2 emissions meet the minimum requirements set to keep both at a minimum, and what systems have been put in place to regulate this.
The water element also falls in the mandatory category along with energy and CO2 emissions. This element is assessed based on the quantity of water consumption of the property, and whether building products have been installed to keep water consumption to a minimum.
The water consumption needs to be limited to 105 litres per person per day, and by installing a greywater recycling system it is not difficult to keep water consumption to a minimum. Other building products that can be used to reduce consumption include low-flush mechanisms and water saving tap flow limiters.
Surface Run-Off –
An important element contributing to sustainability is surface run-off, which can be harnessed to generate electricity or be reused in the property. By controlling surface run-off, the risk of flooding due to urbanisation is decreased, therefore reducing environmental impact as well as meeting the requirements for water consumption. By using a rainwater harvesting system, the requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes can be met.
There are no minimum requirements to be met for this element; however the assessment is made on the environmental impact of the building materials to be used in the construction of the building.
The waste element also has no minimum requirements set to meet the code for sustainable homes. However, this element will be assessed in terms of the waste products generated in the construction of the building and the methods put in place to encourage recycling.
The pollution element has no minimum requirements to meet to adhere to the code for sustainable homes. The pollution created from the use of the property will be assessed as part of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH).
Health and Well-Being –
Health and well-being has no minimum requirements to be met. The assessment is based on the effects of the property on its occupants, in terms of design and indoor environment.
The management element is a more general assessment of the methods introduced in the plans and specifications of the building to manage the environmental impacts of both the construction of the property and the use of the home. This element also has no minimum requirements set.
The ecology of the building is an important element to be considered when aiming to reduce the environmental impact of a property. This element is assessed based on the impact of the building on local eco-systems, and biodiversity.