Architectural and environmental bodies back government plan to strengthen Code for Sustainable Homes.

The government's decision to toughen up a new environmental standard for homes has been welcomed by the World Wildlife Fund and the RIBA.

The government announced last week that the Code for Sustainable Homes would be strengthened to increase energy and water efficiency in publicly funded homes.

A draft of the code was strongly criticised by the WWF last December, which resigned from the code steering group. It said that the draft fell short of previous government commitments to improving the sustainable peformance of new homes.

Paul King, campaign director of WWF's One Million Sustainable Homes, said: "We denounced the poor draft code when it was published but we are very pleased that the government has listened and responded in the way it has with a commitment to introduce a mandatory code applicable for all homes."

The government announced that minimum standards for water and energy would be set at every level of the code. It said that the lowest levels of the code would be higher than mandatory Building Regulations and that the use of sustainable microtechnologies would gain extra points in the code.

Jack Pringle, RIBA president, said: "The government has clearly listened to what the RIBA had to say about the Code for Sustainable Homes. While a number of issues still need to be addressed, I am glad the government is prepared to engage with the industry on this important project."

The code will only apply to homes using grants from English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation but last week the government said that it would be looking at ways of increasing uptake of the code.