3R’s: In the world of green, this standard for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

BIODEGRADABLE:A material that breaks down with the assistance of microorganisms

BIODIVERSITY:The scope of different living things within an area – the plants, animals,
fungi and microorganisms and the ecosystems they are part of.

BLACKWATER:Water effluent containing fecal matter and urine – i.e. sewage

CARBON FOOTPRINT:the amount of carbon dioxide emissions created by a person or industry

CFL:Compact Fluorescent Lamp – an energy saving light bulb rapidly replacing
traditional incandescent bulbs.

CLIMATE CHANGE:Most commonly means a rapid variation in the Earth’s global climate due to anthropogenic
(human) activity induced global warming

CO2:chemical shorthand for carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas that is contributing greatly
to global warming

COMPOSTABLE:A material that breaks down to become what is effectively dirt. It contains no toxins
and can support plant live

CONSERVATION: Minimizing the use of a natural resource,
(e.g., water); conservation is an aspect of sustainable resource management.

DEGRADABLE:A material that breaks down through chemical reactions rather than through
the activity of microorganisms

ECO-SAVY:Someone who is environmentally aware

ECOSYSTEM:The physical and biological elements of an area co-existing to form a self
supporting environment.

: Energy required to extract, manufacture,
transport, and assemble materials and components.

ENGINEERED LUMBER: Recycled or reconstituted wood materials,
may employ laminated wood chips or strands and/or finger joints.

FLAT PACK:An increasingly popular way of producing goods that the end user assembles.
The unfinished product takes up far less space, so more can be shipped – saving
fuel and emissions.

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: Energy from rock and/or water that is heated
by contact with molten rock deep in the earth’s core (i.e., magma).
The heat can be extracted and used for space heating or to
generate electricity.

GLOBAL WARMING:the increase in the average temperature of our planet’s air and ocean temperature
largely due to human influences

GRAY WATER: Wastewater captured from washbasins, bathtubs,
showers, and clothes washers; can be recycled to flush
toilets or for irrigation.

GREEN:anything considered environmentally friendly

HARVESTED RAINWATER: Rainwater captured and used for indoor
needs and/or irrigation.

HYDROCHLOROFLUOROCARBON (HCFC): Chemical compound used in aerosol cans.

: In-floor heating system; hot water is pumped through
a thermal mass floor that absorbs the heat and evenly radiates it
over an extended period of time.

HYDROPOWER: Production of electricity by harnessing the power of
flowing water, usually through the use of a waterwheel.

: Assessment of the indoor air to determine
levels of molds, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals produced by
off-gassing of products used in the building or carried into the building by the HVAC system.

IPCC:Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. An international organization
established to investigate climate change, its potential impacts and options for reducing risk.

LANDFILL:An area where household trash or industrial waste is buried in the ground

LED:Light Emitting Diode – becoming more common as a replacement for traditional
incandescent lighting

: Toxic affect of materials used in the built
environment, ranges from being an irritant to causing severe
health problems; such toxins can be delivered through contact,
ingestion, or inhalation.

: Use of daylight and often direct sunlight in a built environment.

PASSIVE SOLAR: Technology of heating and cooling a building naturally,
through the use of energy efficient materials and proper site placement
of the structure.

: Solar panels used to harness the sun’s energy and convert it
to electricity that can be stored in batteries and/or used to power electrical systems.

RADIANT HEAT: Flexible tubing is installed under flooring, behind walls,
or above the ceiling to circulate warm water used as a heat source.

RECYCLING: Disassembly of product components so that they can be the raw
material for future manufacturing processes.

REPURPOSE:To take what may be otherwise a waste item and use it for another
purpose – e.g a coffee jar becomes a jar for keeping nails

SALVAGED MATERIALS: Reusable materials from carefully demolished and
deconstructed buildings.

: Silicon solar panels that produce electricity
that can be immediately used, stored in batteries, or sold back to the utility grid.

SOLAR WATER HEATING: Solar collectors used to convert the sun’s energy into heat
for hot water, space heating, or industrial processes. Collectors use
light-absorbing plates made of a dark-colored material
(e.g., metal, rubber, or plastic) covered with glass. The plates transfer
heat to water circulating above or below the plates; heated water can be used
immediately or stored for later use.

THERMAL MASS: Heat holding capacity of a material; heat is collected and
stored (often using masonry or water), then slowly released.

TOTAL LIFE-CYCLE COSTING: Life-cycle analysis that includes social costs
and benefits, the ecological impact of the materials, and the recyclability
of its components.

TOXIC OFF-GASSING: Harmful vapors produced at room temperature by the
drying/curing of building materials (e.g. formaldehyde found in manufactured
wood products and carpets; phenol found in fiberglass insulation; volatile
organic compounds (VOC) found in paints, adhesives, plastics and synthetics).

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND (VOC): Highly evaporative, carbon-based chemical
substance, that produces noxious fumes; found in many paints, caulks, stains, and adhesives.

WASTE STREAM:Waste coming from different sectors – e.g municipal, commercial, industrial.

WIND POWER: Energy generated through the use of a turbine that collects wind energy
and converts it to electricity.

XERISCAPE: Low-maintenance landscaping that conserves water and protects the
environment by using soil analysis, mulch, and appropriate plant selection.