The University of Reading has won funding to study the impact of the Code for Sustainable Homes on innovation and profitability in the housing sector.

The CfSH sets out a range of standards for new house building, including energy, carbon dioxide emissions, water, materials, surface water run-off, waste, pollution, health and well-being, management and ecology. The Code has an overarching target that all new homes will be zero carbon or attain CfSH Level 6 compliance by 2016. Housebuilders claim that a Level 6 compliant three bedroom house will push up the construction cost by an extra £30,000.

Professor Martin Sexton of the School of Construction Management and Engineering at the University of Reading says that compliance with the code will make some potential developments unviable.

He said: “While the CfSH as a statement of outcomes is desirable and must be pursued in one form or another, if the UK is to achieve its legally binding CO2 targets, its current impact appears to be creating a negative cycle of stimulus and response in the housebuilding market”.

Sexton added: “The research will advise on how the CfSH could be radically improved to better create the enabling conditions for house builders to enhance the environmental performance of homes whilst understanding and accommodating the need for the sector to generate sustainable profit streams”.