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

A system that alters its own characteristics to achieve or regain equilibrium.

The removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by photosynthesis, or technological measures through storage in a carbon sink. Storage may involve containing the gas physically without changing its chemical form or, more commonly, fixing the gas within a different material.

Sewers for Adoption
A guide agreed between sewerage undertakers and developers (through the House Builders Federation) specifying the standards to which private sewers need to be constructed to facilitate adoption.

Shading Coefficient (SC)
The ratio of solar heat gain passing through a glazing system to the solar heat gain that occurs under the same conditions if the window was made of clear, unshaded double strength glass. The lower the SC number, the better the solar control efficiency of the glazing system.

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)
The occurrence of health problems to occupants of a building related to the construction and mechanical systems of the building. This sickness is characterised by; dizziness, headaches, irritated eyes, nausea, throat irritation and coughing. These reactions typically cease when the person leaves the building for a prolonged period.

Site and regional controls
Manage runoff drained from several sub-catchments. The controls deal with runoff on a catchment scale rather than at source.

A subsurface structure into which surface water is conveyed to allow infiltration into the ground.

Soil Index Value (SOIL
Is obtained from the WRAP soil classification, used in the Wallingford Procedure to calculate the treatment volume.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
The fraction of total solar energy that enters a space through a window. The total solar gain through a windows equals the SHGC multiplied by the incident solar radiation. The Shading Coefficient (SC) is referenced frequently and equals the SHGC for a windows divided by 0.87 (assuming normal incidence).

Solar panel-collector
Device which uses the sun`s energy to perform some kind of mechanical advantage which would normally be supplied by a non-renewable energy source. Photovoltaic panels (PV`s) and solar hot water panels, which pre-heat water before sending it into a hot water heater are two examples.

Liquids, usually petroleum based that can dissolve solids and keep them in solution; may contribute to pollution through evaporation.

Source control
The control of runoff or pollution at or near its source.

Used as a preferred term to refer to developing or poor non-industrialised countries. North refers to developed, rich industrial countries

The spread of residential areas, shopping centres, and small industries outside of city boundaries.

Stack effect
The draught that is created by warm buoyant air as it rises in a tall confined space such as a chimney, stairwell, atrium or lift shaft.

Standard of living
The measure of consumption and welfare of a country, community or individual, usually shown as GDP per capita

Stay-in-place insulating formwork
Concrete formwork made from expanded or extruded polystyrene which is permanent in the structure of the building. Such formwork serves as an insulator and can reduce the amount of concrete required.

The layer of the earth's atmosphere just above the troposphere, extending from 10 km to about 50 km above the earth.

Strawbale construction
A construction method using baled straw producing either load bearing structure, or as infill to an independent structural system. Straw bales have high insulative properties, are readily available, generally are a waste product from farms and are a renewable material.

A division of a catchment, allowing runoff management as near to the source as is reasonable.

The notion that decision-making should occur at the level at which the people most directly concerned can take responsibility.

In biology a substrate is the surface a plant or animal lives upon

Suburban sprawl
Development at the edge or fringe area of cities, previously often without strict planning permission.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
A colourless, irritating gas that is a primary cause of acid rain; a by product of coal combustion.

Surface water management
The management of runoff in stages as it drains from a site.

Suspended solids
Undissolved particles in a liquid.

Making decisions for the present which do not compromise future decisions.

Sustainability indicators
Ways of measuring how well a community is meeting the needs and expectations of its present and future members.

A way of using resources that does not threaten their long term survival or the survival of the plants, animals and people that depend on them.

Sustainable cities
Settlements that have taken steps to remain healthy over the long term, in relation to their environment, society and economy.

Sustainable Cities Programme
A joint UN-HABITAT/UNEP facility for helping urban environmental planning and management in cities, eg in China, Poland, India.

Sustainable development
Sustainable development, or sustainability, is defined as economic activity that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability is based upon three components: economic growth, social progress and environmental protection. Economic aspects of sustainability include, but are not limited to, financial performance, employee compensation, and community contributions. Social aspects include public policymaking, fair labour standards and equal treatment of women and minorities. Environmental aspects include impacts on the air, water, land, natural resources, and human health.

Sustainable drainage systems (SUDS)
Sustainable drainage systems or sustainable urban drainage systems: a sequence of management practices and control structures designed to drain surface water in a more sustainable fashion than some conventional techniques.

Sustainable Energy
The provision of energy such that it meets the needs of the future without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable Energy has two key components; renewable energy and energy efficiency. See - Sustainable development.

A shallow vegetated channel designed to conduct and retain water, but may also permit infiltration; the vegetation filters particulate matter

Technology foresight
A process for establishing common views on future technology development strategies, typically seeking views from a large number of communities, including civic groups, as well as academic, government and industrial research bodies.

Thermal break
A material of low heat conductance used to reduce the flow of heat. For example, the vinyl separating the interior and exterior frames in some metal windows.

Thermal insulation
The goal of thermal insulation used in building construction is to slow down heat transfer. The same materials are required to keep buildings cooler in hot climates, or warmer in cold climates; methods may be different because of the necessity to manage humidity buildup differently.

Thermal mass
Materials that have a high capacity for absorbing heat, and change temperature slowly. These materials are used to absorb and retain solar energy during the daytime for release at night or during cloudy periods; they include water, rocks, masonry, and earth.

Thermal storage capacity
The capacity for a building material to store heat internally from the sun, generally for later use or release.

When used in reference to a species, an ecosystem, or another natural system, it refers to the level beyond which further deterioration is likely to precipitate a sudden adverse, and possibly irreversible, change.

Timber certification
The process of accreditation of wood products to a designated standard. Timber certification developed internationally through the 1990`s and there are currently a number of certification schemes in use throughout the world.

Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES)
The amount of energy made available at source for transformation and end use. It is regulated for international trade such that imports are included and exports are excluded, it makes allowance for any change in the fuel stock of a country and, by convention, does not include fuel used for international transportation. TPES = Indigenous Production + imports - exports - stock change - international transport

Traffic calming
Using measures to reduce the speed of traffic such as; speed humps, chicanes and home zones.

The evaporation of water from aerial parts of plants especially leaves but also stems, flowers and fruits. Transpiration is a side effect of the plant needing to open its stomata in order to obtain carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis. Transpiration also cools plants and enables mass flow of mineral nutrients from roots to shoots

Triple bottom line
An expanded baseline for measuring performance, adding social and environmental dimensions to the traditional monetary benchmark.

The region of the atmosphere closest to the Earth, extending from the surface up to about 10 km in altitude. Almost all weather takes place in the troposphere.

Urban sprawl
The growth outwards at the edge of a city, typically suburbs in more economically developed cities, or squatter settlements in poorer countries.

Urban village
The concept of a close knit community style development in the middle of a city, where people live, use services and work all in a small area. Helps sustainability because it minimises movements. Examples are BedZed, Silvertown in Docklands, or Chapel in Southampton.

Visible transmittance (Tvis)
The visible transmittance is the fraction of visible light transmitted through a window.