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e-Journal

 

Green Buildings: Conserving the Human Habitat
(Released October 2006)

 
  by Ethan Goffman  

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Key Citations

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Glossary

Editor
 
Glossary

Biomass: Organic matter, such as wood, crops, or vegetation, that may be converted to an energy source.

Brownfield: Vacant, abandoned, or underutilized commercial and industrial properties, where real or perceived environmental contamination is an obstacle to redevelopment or utilization. Often the site of old industrial complexes and chemical pollution. See CSA's Brownfields: The Financial, Legislative and Social Aspects of the Redevelopment of Contaminated Commercial and Industrial Properties, http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/brown/overview.php .

Cradle to cradle: A principle put forth by architect William McDonough whereby materials in a building are immediately reused or recycled when they no longer fulfill their original function. Material thus never ends up as garbage but, as in nature, is endlessly reused.

Daylighting: The use of natural light, usually indirect, through windows, skylights, light shelves, and other techniques that minimize glare and heat. Daylighting tends to improve morale and worker productivity.

Energy Star Program: Introduced in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy efficient products to help reduce greenhouse emissions by identifying energy efficient products. Originally designed for computers and monitors, it has now expanded to include office products, major appliances, lighting, home electronics and more.

Green Roofs: Growing roof systems utilizing a specialized undercarriage for the waterproof membrane and excess water removal. Various types of vegetation are set into a special growing media and help to replace displaced vegetation in the building footprint as well as greatly reducing the heat island effect. Green roofs can create pleasant gardens and help regulate stormwater flow. Source: http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/pl/gbwg/AppendixD-Glossary.pdf

Greywater (or graywater): Wastewater from household baths, washing machines, and other sources (excluding human waste) that is recycled especially for use in gardening or for flushing toilets

LEED Certification: Certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design process, currently the most definitive such process. LEED certification is based on a variety of categories, such as site sustainability, energy, materials, and indoor quality. It divides buildings into four categories:basic certification, silver, gold, and platinum.

Life-Cycle Cost: The cost of a material, including associated waste products, over its entire lifetime, including production, shipping, environmental impact of use, and ultimate removal.

Micro-wind Turbines: Very small wind turbines designed to provide electric power to a home or other local site for a variety of applications Source:Source: http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/M/AE_micro_wind_turbine.html

Photovoltaic Cells: Extremely thin cells, usually made of silicon, that collect solar energy and convert it to direct current electricity

Passive Solar Energy: Situating a building and using natural techniques to provide energy. Key techniques include daylighting, south-facing windows, natural shading and ventilation, and building materials that absorb heat from the sun and slowly release it. Source: http://www.mtpc.org/cleanenergy/energy/glossaryefficiency.htm

Rain Barrels: Barrels positioned at the end of a building's drainage system to capture water for reuse, such as watering gardens.

Rain Gardens: Islands of vegetation (often using plants native to a region) in depressed areas at the edge of impervious surfaces that capture water runoff, particularly after storms, and lessen damage to streams and other waterways.

Sick Buildings: Buildings made with unhealthy materials that lower air quality and appear to cause immediate health problems. The exact source of the illness is hard to quantify in a sick building.

Thermal Mass: Material within a house, such as concrete or brick, that absorbs and holds heat, lessening energy costs.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC): Off gasses from such products as carpet adhesive and paint usually that often cause allergic reactions. Most green buildings employ low-VOC (or no VOC) products.