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Lessons from the field – CSH in action #2

by Mel Starrs on February 22, 2012

in Code for Sustainable Homes

The second in my short series of guest posts on CSH Lessons learned continues (the first post is here). The author is the same as the previous post:

Here is another situation that also occurred on a recent project being assessed for the Code for Sustainable Homes, which is another example of how easy it can be to get things wrong.

Can you spot what might be wrong with the picture?

No, it’s not just that someone had stuck on the energy efficiency label upside down!

This version of the Code for Sustainable Homes being used required A+ rated washing machines to achieve the credits, however this one was C rated (as shown by the label).

In general, on this project, white goods like these washing machines were not being bought until much later in the programme. However for two show flats, they had been bought in early on.

Perhaps because generally this equipment was not being bought until later lulled some people into a false sense of security – i.e. “we don’t need to worry about it now”.

So what happened?

The specification correctly called for A+ rated machines, but the contractor’s package manager wasn’t aware of the specific Code requirements and wasn’t familiar with or hadn’t read the specification. He had been provided with a complete price list of all washing machines from a suitable manufacturer.

As there was some time pressure to get the show flats finished, the contractor’s package manager just selected the cheapest machine (which was not the correct specification) and ordered two in. It was only discovered once it was on site and in the process of being installed.

Had they been left in place it would have cost 2.56% of the final assessment score at the post construction stage.

Fortunately as they were removable items and could be easily replaced. However, the retaining bolts had been removed for installation so they could no longer be returned to the supplier, and had to be sold as “second hand”.

So, although from a points perspective no damage was done, it did cost the project around £1000 by making an avoidable mistake through a simple lack of awareness.

Both posts have demonstrated that attention to detail is crucial in achieving CSH certification.

  • Alan

    Mel – to people like me not fully immersed in BRE mentality I do wonder what on earth the model of washing machine fitted has got to do with sustainable building. Clearly it has to do with appliance energy standards – which ought to be mandating minimum efficiency for everything on the market.
    If the rating of the washing machine is scoring on a points system then presumably it is tradable against things like wall insulation, which will last for the life of the building, whereas a washing machine like that probably past economic repair in five years time. 

  • Anonymous


    You make a good point and it is something I’m not convinced of the value in – 2.56% out of a target of say 68% for CSH4* seems unreasonably high for an item which can be taken in and out of the dwelling – as I’ve said many times before, CSH is not perfect. I’m quite looking forward to the major review in Spring – let’s see if we can iron out these anomalies then.

    As for trading against insulation – as ENE1 is a non-tradable credit, you’ll be glad to hear you CAN’T trade a wasjhing machine for insulation (but you can trade for say composting or Green Guide ratings)