Changing the way new homes are built
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings requires a new, more sustainable approach to building homes. While improvements have been made over the years through the introduction of measures such as cavity wall insulation and increased thickness of insulation in lofts, more fundamental changes need to be made to produce a step-change in the energy efficiency and sustainability of new buildings.
It’s estimated that improving the energy efficiency of Europe’s buildings would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 460 million tonnes a year (more than Europe’s total Kyoto commitment). It would also save the EU countries’ 270 billion in energy costs and reduce energy consumption by the equivalent of 3.3m barrels of oil a day. But we can go much further if we take a holistic view to the sustainable development of new housing.
The Code for Sustainable Homes was developed in conjunction with the Government and the building industry. Introduced in 2007, it’s designed to help drive a step-change in sustainable home building practice. It provides a standard for the key elements of design and construction which affect the sustainability of a new home. Although the Code is voluntary it is hoped it will become the de facto national standard for sustainable homes, used by architects and builders as a guide to development, and by home-buyers to assist in their choice of home.
The Code measures the sustainability of a home against the following categories:
- Health and well-being
- Surface water run-off
Homes are given a star rating from 1 to 6, where 6 is the most sustainable; sometimes referred to as a ‘zero-carbon home’.