Air Polution - Air tainted with contaminants or substances that impede human health or are otherwise environmentally harmful.
Alternative Energy - A non-fossil fuel source of energy, often from the sun, wind or water.
Alternative Fuels - Vehicular fuel that is not gas or diesel, often electricity or bio-fuel.
ASHRAE - American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers
Biodegradable - Able to independently break down and return to the ecosystem.
Brownfield - Commercial or industrial site that has been abandoned, and has perceived or actual environmental contamination.
BTU - British Thermal Unit. A measure of energy, usually heat energy, that is consumed.
Building Envelope - The outside of a building, from top to bottom, including the building elements such as windows, and the building materials, such as insulation.
Carbon Dioxide - A naturally occuring gas. Burning of fossil fuels increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Carbon Footprint - A calculation of the amount of greenhouse gases produced as a result of commercial, industrial, and/or individual activities. Quantified in units of carbon dioxide, this is a measurement of impact on the environment.
Carbon Monoxide - A naturally occuring, highly toxic, gas commonly created during combustion.
Carbon Neutral - Something or someone that either does not produce any carbon emissions, or has offset those emissions elsewhere.
Carbon Offset - A system intended to equalize carbon production around the globe by trading greenhouse gas emissions for environmentally friendly actions.
Carbon Tax - A tax on fossil fuels based on their carbon content.
Cellulose Insulation - Insulation made of waste paper, often recycled paper, and a fire retardant. Good thermal properties, and environmentally sound.
CERCLA - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund), which deals with waste and contamination on abandoned or historical sites.
Certified lumber - Lumber that has been certified by an independent authority, such as Forest Stewardship Council, as sustainable.
Charrette - A meeting of contractors, community, designers, and technical experts. Held early in the development process of a project, and shown to increase the probablity of the project's implementation.
Climate Change - The adverse effect of greenhouse gasses on weather patterns and ecosystems.
Compact Flourescent Lamp (CFL) - Flourescent bulbs that can be used in place of incandescent bulbs, and use significantly less electricity than incandescents.
Composite wood - Plywood, MDF, OSB or other product made from wood or plant material and bonded by a synthetic resin or binder.
Composting - A process of decomposition of organic waste, producing a rich, reusable subatance. Compost is most often used in gardening and farming.
Conservation - The action of preserving and/or renewing resources.
CRAGs - Carbon Rationing Action Groups
Daylighting - Designing a building to take advantage of natural sunlight.
Eco-friendly - Having little (or no) impact on the surroundings.
Energy Efficiency - A ratio of energy input to energy consumption.
Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) - A mortgage that allows the borrower to increase the mortgage amount as offset by the increased energy savings of a certified, energy efficient home.
Energy Improvement Mortgage - A mortgage used for borrowing to install energy efficient improvements to existing homes.
Fenestration - Windows and doors.
FGBC - Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC). Florida green certifying agency.
Forest Stewardship Council (FST) - Certifies wood harvested from forest that meet standards for environmentally responsible management.
Fossil Fuel - A fuel derived from fossilised plants or animals. Often coal, oil and natural gas.
Geothermal Energy - A form of energy that comes from the earth.
Green Fatigue - Disinterest in green as a result of information overload.
Green Guides - Guidelines published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) providing standards for advertising claims that a product is green.
Green Lable - The Carpet and Rug Institute certification for carpet that specifies allowable release of VOCs.
Green Power - Electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
Green Roof - Living plants that comprise the top layer of a roof. Under the plants are growing medium, a waterproof membrane and a drainage system. Therre roofs, particularly in an urban environment, can provide habitat for wildlife, reducae stormwater runoff, and modulate the temperatures in and around the building.
Green Seal - A certification for construction products, attesting the products were manufactured with and can be used with, minimal impact on the environment.
Greenfield - An undeveloped piece of land.
Greenhouse Effect - An explaination of global warming, through raising the temperature of the air in the lower atmosphere due to heat trapped by greenhouse gasses.
Greenhouse gases - Emitted gases that are trapped in the atmosphere and may contribute to atmospheric warming. Some of these gases are carbon dioxide, chloroflourocarbons and ozone.
Greenwashing - Exaggerating or falsely promoting a product or service as green.
Grey Water - Water from laundry, bathing and similar activities that can be reused for non potable uses.
Grid - A network consisting of transmitters and distribution facitilites that provides electricity to consumers. May be large or small, and may be public or private.
Halogen - A more energy efficient type of lamp.
Heat Island Effect - In increase in outdoor temperature as a result of replacing of natural land cover with solid surface such as paving, building, roads and parking lots. This is usually an urban phenomenon.
HERS - Home Energy Rating System (HERS). A rating system that quantifies a home's energy usage. Includes plans, site visits and site testing.
High Heeled Truss - A truss build to allow space for insulation over the top of the walls near the eaves.
Hydroelectric Energy - Electric energy produced by moving water.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) - A measurement of clean and healthy air within a building.
Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) - Forms, made of expanded polystyrene, that are left in place after the concrete foundation of a building is poured. This insulates the concrete, and increases the thermal performance.
Kilowatt (kW) - A measure of electric energy.
LED - Light-emitting Diode Lamp (LED). Light caused by electrons flowing through a lamp and releasing energy in the form of light. Very energy efficient.
LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). A national green certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
Low-e Glass - Windows or glass panes that have an invisible film of metalic or oxide coating. Useful for preventing the loss of heat from a building. (Low-emissivity)
MDF - Medium Density Fiberboard that often contains urea formaldehyde.
Methane - A greenhouse gas often associated with livestock production.
National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) - Sets national standards for windows and doors.
Net metering - Gaining credit from a utility for excess electricity produced by a consumer. The excess is most often gained through solar and/or wind power.
Net-Zero - Self sustaining and requiring no outside energy source.
Nitrogen Runoff - Released nitrogen, mainly from livestock and fertilizers, into water sources.
Nitrous Oxide - A greenhouse gas. Also called laughing gas.
Open Grid Pavement - Often, a pavement that is more than 50% vegetation.
Orientation - The direction a building faces.
OSB - Oriented Strand Board. A wood product, high in strength, often using waste wood in its creation. Some is high in offgassing, so check resin for Low VOCs.
Ozone - A Greenhouse Gas. Can be protective (Stratosphere), or harmful (lower atmosphere).
Passive Solar - Collecting, storing and using heat without the help of mechanical aids.
Photovoltaic Cell - Often called solar cells, this is a device that converts sunlight directly into electricity.
R-Value - A unit of thermal resistance. This is a measurement of the effectiveness of a material in preventing the flow of heat through it. The higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating properties.
Recycling - One of the three basics tenents of living Green. Includes collecting, separating and processing materials and then reusing them instead of disposing of them in solid or liquid waste collection.
Reduce - One of the three basic tenants of living Green. Constraint in using or buying in order to produce less waste.
Regeneration - Reclaiming lands that have become usuable. Quite often refers to Urban and Industrial land.
Renewable Energy Sources - Sources of energy that are replenished naturally within a short time. Included, but not limited to, wind power, water (hydroelectric) power and geothermal energy.
Return on Investment (ROI) - Ratio of the amount gained or lost realtive to the amount invested. This is an economic indicator, and reveals the effectiveness of an investment.
Reuse - One of the three tenants of living Green. Finding another use for a product, before recycling.
Shading coefficient - A ratio defining solar heat gain, relative to a glazing system and a single pane of clear glass.
Sick Building Syndrome - From EPA amd OSHA: "situations in which building occupants experience acute health and/or comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a particular building, but where no specific illness or cause can be identified.
Solar collector - A means to absorb heat from the sun, usually by heating water for home heating or domestic hot water.
Solar Energy - Energy produced from sunlight.
Sustainability - "Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." from the 1987 United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission)
Thermal Mass - A material used to store heat, commonly including concrete, brick and tile
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - Organic compounds that often cause poor indoor air quality and can be hazardous to one's health. They are found in solvents and paints, as well as in building materials and furniture.