Since its introduction in 2007 the Code of Sustainable Homes (CSH) has helped to guide the construction of over 100,000 new sustainable dwellings. Many view this achievement as a key milestone in the drive for sustainable housing in the UK, whilst others see a duplication with legislation soon to be introduced, not least the Building Regulations that will improve energy conservation and use in the near future.
In this light it seems the perfect time for a Government standards review, which is now underway. This review will affect the current regulatory system for housing, and provides the opportunity to reflect for a moment upon the effectiveness of CSH and what (if any) role it should play in future.
BRE Global’s view is that the UK housing sector will continue to need the framework, benchmarks and guidance that CSH provides, and there is some evidence here from West London to support this view that suggests councils may wish to retain CSH to help drive energy costs down. The Government is of course also listening to industry concerns over duplication with new legislation, which is also a relevant concern if it were to impede economic growth.
However, CSH is a voluntary government standard for assessing the sustainability of new housing, and most would agree that it has bought benefits to the housing market. In addition, councils use it widely as a benchmark of sustainability with a key role in achieving the target of 100% zero carbon homes by 2016. At a time when the average domestic energy bill has more than doubled since the introduction of CSH, it can demonstrate an even stronger cost benefit for occupants, but will that be enough to warrant it being kept?
We look forward to learning what the Government decide once they have finished their deliberations in the not too distant future.
If you would like to discuss the likely implications of CSH in relation to any of your schemes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 0203 544 3994.