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Green construction - Sustainable development terms
Category: Earth and Environment > Sustainable development
Date & country: 10/11/2007, UK
Words: 350

Industrial Revolution
Occurred in the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries in Europe and North America when new machinery and the use of fossil fuels to generate energy led to the start of modern industry.

The air that leaks in around doors, windows, and electrical outlets, etc. which can be a major source of heat loss

Infiltration basin
A dry basin designed to promote infiltration of surface water to the ground.

Infiltration potential
The rate at which water flows through a soil (mm/h).

Infiltration trench
A trench, usually filled with stone, designed to promote infiltration of surface water to the ground.

Integrated Resource Planning (IRP)
IRP develops the concepts of least cost planning to more readily take into account environmental resources, which are not always considered in least cost planning. IRP tends to focus more heavily on total kWh supplied rather than peak kW demand.

Intelligent buildings
Buildings designs featuring extensive use of sensors, microprocessor controls, and automated systems and able to detect, diagnose, and control the response to varying environmental conditions or operational requirements. Also called smart buildings.

Shallow infiltration to the soil, from where it may infiltrate vertically to an aquifer, move horizontally to a watercourse or be stored and subsequently evaporated.

ISO 9000
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies. ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are families of standards and guidelines relating to management systems. ISO 9000 is associated with quality management. ISO 14000 is associated with environmental management.

Joule (or J)
The physical measurement for work. One joule equals the work needed to lift one kilogramme ten centimetres off the ground; it can also be used to measure heat energy. One kilocalorie, an older energy unit, equals 4.1868 kilojoules.

A pond designed for the settlement of suspended solids.

Laminated veneer lumber (LVL)
Beams made from thin layers of wood, similar to thick pieces of plywood.

Essentially a cavity in the ground in to which refuse is disposed of. Once full this is covered over and landscaped so as to appear as part of the surrounding area.

Latent heat
The heat required to change the phase (e.g. a liquid to a gas) of a material without altering its temperature

Latent load
Cooling load resulting from thermal energy released when moisture in the air goes from a vapor to a liquid state. In hot humid climates, cooling equipment must have sufficient capacity to handle this load if occupants are to be comfortable.

A liquid (usually rainwater) that picks up contaminants from deposited waste in a landfill site as it passes through the waste.

Lean Construction
Lean changes the way work is done throughout the delivery process. Lean Construction extends from the objectives of a lean production system, maximise value and minimise waste, to specific techniques and applies them in a new project delivery process.

Least Cost Planning (LCP)
Calculation of the comparative costs and benefits of investment in developing capital assets; be it in generation, supply or transmission against the investment in measures to reduce demand. Consideration can include non-market costs and benefits. The aim is to identify the cheapest form of investment.

Straw and clay mixture, moistened and pressed between forms, which hardens into a strong material. Typically used for making walls; an old and durable technique. (German for light loam).

Life cycle assessment (LCA)
A process to evaluate all costs of a product or process through its entire existence, including extracting and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, use, maintenance, recycling, reuse, and disposal.

Life cycle cost analysis (LCCA)
The total cost of a product of material including the initial cost and the long term maintenance costs. This approach can often be used to justify more expensive and energy efficient systems which save money over the life of the product.

Light shelf
A means of deflecting incoming daylight deeper into an internal space. Light shelves are horizontal projections with reflective surfaces, placed either outside, half outside/half inside or fully inside a window, deflecting indirect light deep into an interior space, at the same time reducing solar heat gain and glare.

Light to solar gain ratio (LSG)
A measure of the ability of a glazing to provide light without excessive solar heat gain. It is the ratio between the visible transmittance of a glazing and its solar heat gain coefficient.

Local Agenda 21
Action plans which are developed at local authority level to promote and put sustainable development into practice

Locally sourced materials
Materials obtained from a defined radius around a project site, helping to support the local economy and reducing transportation costs and energy.

Low density
Feature, or structures, spaced out over a wide area.

Low density housing
Population accommodated in more spaciously set out housing, possibly with green space surrounding the buildings.

Low tech (Low technology)
Mechanisms not usually requiring electronic input or much capital.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
See - Polyethylene

Low-E glazing
Glazing with a thin metallic coating applied to glass or plastic, reducing heat loss and solar heat gain through glazing. Glazing that has special coatings to permit most of the sun`s light radiation to enter the building, but prevents heat radiation from passing through.

Maximum sustainable yield
The maximum amount of a renewable resource that can be harvested over an indefinite period without causing its stock to be depleted.

Methane (CH4)
A colourless, odourless gas formed when organic matter anaerobically decomposes. Methane is about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Major sources include fermentation in ruminant animals, decay of organic material and landfill.

The small scale climate of a site, affected by site geography, site topography, vegetation, and proximity to bodies of water, etc., which may very slightly from the prevalent regional climatic conditions.

Small scale example of reality

The generation of zero or low-carbon heat and power by individuals, small businesses and communities to meet their own needs; technologies include small scale wind turbines, water turbines, ground source heat pumps, solar collectors, solar electricity and Micro Combined Heat and Power installations

Mixed use development
A development in one or several buildings that combines several revenue producing uses that are integrated into a comprehensive plan, such as a project with a elements of housing, retail, and office space.

The situation wherein one company has the market power to control the price or availability of a good or service. If this is unregulated, the company is likely to produce fewer goods or to sell goods more expensively than would be the case in a competitive environment. In practice, a monopoly may refer to an industry where one company has power to control the sector regardless of other companies or it may refer to a sector where only one company exists.

A market where a single consumer of a service or good has sufficient market power to dictate the price of that good or service. One example of such a situation can occur in the electricity sector if the sector has only one main buyer of electricity.

Natural Capital
The renewable and non-renewable resources that enter the production process and satisfy consumption needs, as well as environmental assets that have amenity and productive use, and natural features, such as the ozone layer that are essential for supporting life.

Natural cooling
The use of passive methods; ground cooling, night time radiation loss, cross ventilation and evaporative cooling, to reduce internal temperatures or improve thermal comfort.

Natural Monopoly
A monopoly where the market can be served most cheaply by a single firm, rather than by a number of competitors. The most notable examples with regard to electricity are transmission and distribution networks.

Natural resource
Naturally occurring substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified form. A commodity is generally considered a natural resource when the primary activities associated with it are extraction and purification, as opposed to creation.

Natural ventilation
Natural air flow through fixed ventilators, doors or operable windows and louvres, due to differences in thermal and pressure gradients.

Negative correlation
Describing a pattern: when two sets of statistics are compared, as one statistic or parameter increases, the other decreases.

Negative impact of cities
Cities can offer great advantages in for example employment and opportunities, but their very size and functions can produce effects not desired. Pollution, overcrowding, and anti-social behaviour are a few of their negative effects.

Net metering
See - Distributed generation

New urbanism
A city planning movement that focuses on revitalising the inner city and reforming the suburbs within an integrated regional structure. New Urbanists strive for a built environment that must be diverse in use and population, must be scaled for pedestrian use without entirely eliminating automobile access, and must have a well defined public realm supported by vernacular architecture.

Night-time ventilation
Passive building strategy of flushing building structures with cool, night-time air to minimise the next day`s cooling load: works best in conjunction with massive building envelopes.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
Gases consisting of one molecule of nitrogen and varying numbers of oxygen molecules. Nitrogen oxides are produced in the emissions of vehicle exhausts and from power stations. In the atmosphere, nitrogen oxides can contribute to the formation of photochemical ozone (smog), can impair visibility, and have health consequences; they are thus considered pollutants.

Non-renewable resource
A resource that is not replaced or only replaced very slowly by natural processes.

Non-use value
The value to humans derived purely from the fact that an environmental or cultural asset exists, even if they never intend to use it or see it in person. It is can be further sub-divided into existence value and bequest value.

Materials may give off gases, some of which are toxic. Implicated in a variety of ailments, some people are more sensitive than others to these gases.

Off-grid electricity
Electricity produced by small generating units that are not connected to high-voltage transmission lines.

A way of compensating for the emissions produced with an equivalent carbon dioxide saving, by buying carbon offset credits from emission reduction projects; such projects will prevent or have already prevented the emission, or removed an equivalent amount, of carbon dioxide elsewhere in the World.

OHSAS 18001
An International Occupational Health and Safety Management system specification. It is a recognised standard against which operations can be assessed and certified.

Open system
Where there are inputs and outputs from a system, for example ecosystems, humans and cities.

Option value
The benefits accruing to individuals not from the actual use of an environmental asset, but from the option to use it in the future.

Oriented strand board (OSB)
Wood panels made from wood fibers and chips that are mixed with resin and raked to orient them in the long direction of the panel to maximize strength. OSB can replace plywood, thus saving timber. A concern, similar to many manufactured products, is outgassing from the resin binder. OSB is also known as flakeboard.

The point where human consumption and waste production exceed nature`s capacity to create new resources and absorb waste.

Ozone (O3)
An important greenhouse gas found in both the stratosphere and the troposphere (lowest region of the atmosphere). In the stratosphere, ozone provides a protective layer shielding the earth from ultraviolet radiation and subsequent harmful health effects on humans and the environment. In the troposphere, oxygen molecules in ozone combine with other chemicals and gases (oxidisation) to cause smog. A chemically unstable and highly reactive gas.

Ozone Depletion
Nitrogen oxides, chlorine oxides, hydrogen oxides, and bromine oxides destroy the ozone layer. Chlorine and bromine reactions are the most detrimental, which include chlorofluorocarbon reactions.

Ozone layer
The region of the stratosphere (lying approximately 15-40 km above the Earth's surface) that contains the bulk of the world's atmospheric ozone.

A thin coat of mortar or plastic applied to masonry work to seal the surface.

Participatory budgeting
Budgeting which involves communities and citizens in meetings with local councillors to discuss priorities and enter them in the local budget.

Particle board
Sawdust and resin compressed into sheets that can substitute for plywood in many situations.

Tiny pieces of solid or liquid matter, such as soot, dust, fumes, or mist.

Passive building design
Building configurations which take advantage of a natural, renewable resource (like sunlight, cooling breezes, etc.) Passive design strategies typically do not involve any moving part or mechanical processes.

Passive cooling
Using passive building strategies to relieve the cooling load of a building by capitalising on such things as predictable summer breezes or by shading windows from direct summer sunlight.

Passive solar heating
Using the sun`s energy (in the form of heat) to diminish a building`s heating load, usually through the use of large window areas which permit light penetration upon some massive material to utilise the material`s thermal storage capacity.

Passive system
A system of heating and cooling buildings by natural energy sources without electrical or mechanical assistance.

Payback period
The period it takes for the stream of net cash flows to equal the initial investment. For renewable energy systems, it can also be used to refer to the period of time over which energy cost savings derived from accessing renewable energy, offset the up-front capital costs of the system. See – Life cycle cost analysis

Performance Based Regulation (PBR)
Regulatory approaches rely on the application of financial incentives and disincentives related to specific outputs to induce desired behaviours on the part of regulated companies. PBR links company outputs to revenue and can be applied to achieve benefits such as increased innovation, increased standards for quality of supply, reduced losses and a range of other things which are perhaps otherwise not addressed by regulatory approaches such as rate-of-return.

Expanded volcanic glass, very light in weight and useful as insulation although it is not as effective as some materials. Can be added to plaster and is fire resistant.

A unique approach to the practice of sustainable farming, ranching, gardening and living, by designing constructed ecosystems that serve the needs of human populations without degrading the natural environment. Permaculture sites integrate plants, animals, landscapes, structures, and humans into symbiotic systems while requiring a minimum of materials, energy, and labour to maintain.

A measure of the ease with which a fluid can flow through a porous medium. It depends on the physical properties of the medium, for example grain size, porosity and pore shape.

Permeable surface
A surface formed of material that is itself impervious to water but, by virtue of voids formed through the surface, allows infiltration of water to the sub-base through the pattern of voids, eg concrete block paving.

Persistant organic pollutant
A complex organic chemical which resists decomposition in the environment and can migrate over great distances, which bioaccumulates and biomagnifies, and which is suspected of being toxic to humans or other organisms exposed to even low concentrations if such exposure occurs over a long period of time. Examples include certain pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, and toxaphene), industrial chemicals (PCBs and hexachlorobenzene), and unwanted by-products of combustion and industrial processes (dioxins and furans).

Pervious surface
A surface that allows inflow of rainwater into the underlying construction or soil.

Hydrocarbons used to make resins and glues. Very toxic and may outgas

Generally, is the synthesis of sugar from light, carbon dioxide and water, with oxygen as a waste product.

Generally speaking, a device incorporating a semiconductor that generates electricity when exposed to sunlight (or any other form of white light). The technology may be further sub-divided into crystalline, multi-crystalline, thin-film and concentrator variants.

Polluter pays principle
The principle that polluter should bear the expenses of carrying out pollution prevention and control measures decided by public authorities, to ensure that the environment is in an acceptable state (i.e. costs of these measures should be reflected in the cost of goods and services which cause pollution).

The presence of a substance in the environment that because of its chemical composition or quantity prevents the functioning of natural processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects.

A semi-transparent plastic used in sheets as vapor barriers or for packaging and containers; made in high density (HDPE) and low density (LDPE) varieties. Low in toxicity, it produces low risk vapours when burned.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Polyester resin used in the manufacture of polyester fibers and sheet plastics such as recyclable soft drink bottles.

Porous surface
A surface that infiltrates water to the sub-base across the entire surface of the material forming the surface, for example grass and gravel surfaces, porous concrete and porous asphalt.

Portland cement
A type of cement made by burning limestone and clay; a basic ingredient in concrete.

Positive correlation
Describing a pattern: when two sets of statistics are compared, as one statistic or parameter increases, so does the other.

Post occupancy evaluation (POE)
A systematic way of comparing actual building performance with stated performance criteria usually undertaken by organisational or facility managers. A POE is usually undertaken after the building has been occupied for at least one year and seeks to measure and evaluate user satisfaction and whether the building suits its intended use, technical performance and value for money.

Post-consumer recycled content
(%) Composed of such material as paper or glass that has been recycled after being used, which means it is kept out of landfill.

Potable water
Water that is satisfactory for drinking, culinary and domestic purposes and that meets the requirements of relevant health authority legislation.

A section of a swale designed to detain runoff.

A type of silicon/alumina material that occurs naturally and is produced as a by product of coal combustion. When powdered and moistened it will react with calcium hydroxide and water; its most useable form is fly ash.

Pre-consumer recycled content
(%) Refers to leftover materials from the manufacturing process. Using or selling this scrap doesn't divert material from the landfill; it is not truly recycled because it has never been used.

A framework for the presentation of environmental information in terms of indicators of the pressures that human activities exert on the environment, of the state of the environment, and of society's responses.

Qualitative data
Characteristics that are difficult to gather statistical data about; includes perceptions and intangible aspects of a community such as community spirit.

Quality of life
A broad concept including the quality of health, housing, educational attainment, employment and public services, etc., which may be measured to help inform social policy.

SBF 120
Paris Stock Exchange Index, created in 1993, listing the 120 largest French companies by market capitalisation.

Section 102 or 104
Section within the Water Industry Act 1991 permitting the adoption of a sewer, lateral drain or sewage disposal works by the sewerage undertaker. Sometimes referred to as S102 or S104.

Section 38
An agreement entered into pursuant to Section 38 Highways Act 1980 whereby a way that has been constructed or that is to be constructed becomes a highway maintainable at the public expense. A publicly maintainable highway may include provision for drainage of the highway. (Drainage of highways is defined in Section 100 (9) of the Highways Act 1980).