Code is based on EcoHomes and will be mandatory for new homes from April 2008

The final version for the Code for Sustainable Homes was outlined by communities minister Ruth Kelly this morning.

The Code will replace EcoHomes for new homes in England from 1 April 2007 and it will be mandatory for all new homes from April 2008.

The Code will have six levels of performance and the most sustainable homes will be given a six-star rating.

Under the Code compliance will be reviewed at the design stage and final certification will be carried out upon completion of construction. New sustainable points will be awarded for lifetime homes, security and zero carbon technologies while EcoHomes transport credits have been removed.

The Code is part of a government strategy to deliver more sustainable homes. It includes a framework for tightening building regulations up to 2016 when the government will require that all new homes be zero carbon. The gradual improvement in building regulations was a key aim of Building's recent Reform the Regs campaign.

The government’s strategy is contained in a consultation paper called Building a Green Future: Towards Zero Carbon Development and includes details of a draft Planning Policy Statement on climate change.

Ruth Kelly said: “This consultation paper sets out the need for action across all areas of housing from existing stock to new build. The Code outlines environmental standards for new homes and I encourage housebuilders to go further and faster in designing environmentally-friendly housing for the communities of the future.”

The government’s definition of a zero carbon home is one with 'zero net emissions of Carbon Dioxide from all energy use in the home.'

EcoHomes will continue to be used to assess refurbished and existing homes in England and new homes in Scotland and Wales where the Code does not apply.