National Housing Federation's Building Greener Homes report shows private homebuilders how to get to level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and beyond

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has launched a collection of 40 environmental design and construction case studies from its member housing associations. The technology explored by the projects ranges from the tried and tested (low energy lighting) to the experimental (Sunergy integrated roofing system.)

Building Greener Homes has been published as part of the NHF’s attempt to get government to level the playing field between housing associations and private homebuilders.

Any dwelling built with government assistance must reach Level 3 of the Code For Sustainable Homes (CSH) by April this year. However, compliance is voluntary for privately built housing until 2010. Approximately one in new dwellings is built by a housing association. The NHF wants to see Level three of the CSH included in the building regulations.

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: “300 to 350,000 new homes will be built by private industry between this year and 2010. If they are not built to stricter environmental standards that’s 40, 60, 80, years of carbon problems In the lifecycle of the building.

“If the same standards and timetable were applied across the board, supply chains would cheapen overnight delivering more homes for the Government’s money. It would reduce the environmental impact of new homes, slash household fuel bills and bring down construction costs to boot.”

Roger Madelin, joint chief executive of the private Argent Group, which is aiming to build 2,000 homes for its King’s Cross development to level four of the CSH, said Government's lack of action ‘beggared belief.’

92% of social housing built since 2003 meets very good or excellent on the BREEAM Eco-homes rating. Only 2% of homes built by the private sector meet similar standards, Orr said.

The Government is to supply £8.4 billion to build 157,000 new social housing units over the next three years. Homebuilders must find the remaining £12 billion from existing resources or private lenders.

The Government will require all homes to be "Zero Carbon" by 2016.