This glossary of terms has been provided with a brief description, for the most part in non-technical terms in an effort to remove some of the mystery surrounding green products. While the explanations may not be totally correct in their literal interpretations it is hoped that the plain language approach will provide a better understanding of the terminology frequently used in the field of green enviromental products.

Term Definition
Adapted Plants Plants that grow well in a given habitat with minimal maintenance, fertilizer, or water
Agrifiber Products Products made from agricultural fiber. Examples are wheatboard, particleboard, strawboard.
Aldebo Energy reflected by a surface
American National
Standards Institute
A source for national, regional, and international standards
AmericanSociety of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
International organization with a mission of advancing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education
Baseline Building Performance The annual energy cost for a building intended as a baseline for rating. Currently for LEED, it is ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA standard 90.1-2007
Biodiversity The varience of life in all forms,levels, and combinations
Biomass Plant materials that can be converted to energy
Blackwater Water from toilets and urinals, sometimes water from kitchen sinks ,showers, and bathtubs, depending on local code. Basically, water which must be treated to be reused.
Brownfield A real property that has been, or is believed to be poluted by a hazardous substance.
British Thermal Unit
The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of liquid water from 60 degrees fahrenheit to 61 degrees fahrenheit
Hydrocarbons that are used in refrigerants and cause depletion of the ozone.
Compact Fluorescent Lamp/Light Bulb
A type of fluorescent lamp designed to replace incandescent lamps
Combined Heat and Power
Generation of both electrical and thermal power/energy from a single source.
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
UK-based institution for building services including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
Cool Roof Rating Council
An independent, non-profit organization that maintains a third-party rating system for radiative properties of roof surfacing materials.
The process of assuring that all systems and components of a building or industrial plant are designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained according to the operational requirements
Daylighting Controlled admission of natural light.
Emissivity The ratio of radiation emitted by a surface to the radiation emitted by a black body at the same temperature.
Electronic Product Environmental Assesment Tool
A system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes
FloorScore® Certifies hard surface flooring and flooring adhesive products for compliance with rigorous indoor air quality emissions requirements
Forest Stewardship Council®
An independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests
Full Time Equivelent
Is a measure of the total hours of occupation of an area divided by 8.
Geothermal Energy The electricity generated by harnessing hot water form within the earth.
Green House Gases
Gases which absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths that are negative to the earth’s climate.
Graywater Untreated household waste water which has not come in contact with toilet waste.
Green Seal An independent, non-profit organization that uses science-based standards and the power of the marketplace to create a more sustainable world
Green Label Plus® Certifies a carpet has been tested and certified by an independent laboratory and has met stringent criteria for low emissions
GreenGuard® Certifying body that established performance based standards to define goods with low chemical and particle emissions for use indoors, primarily building materials, interior furnishings, furniture, cleaning and maintenance products, electronic equipment, and personal care products
Greenwashing A term used to describe the practice of spinning products to appear ecologically conscience.
Hydropower Electricity produced from the gravitational flow of water.
Illuminating Engineering Society of North America
An orgnaization with a mission to improve the lighted environment by bringing together those with lighting knowledge and by translating that knowledge into actions that benefit the public.
Impervious Surface: A surface which is considered ledd that 50 percent pervious. It will promote runoff of water instead on infiltration.
International Plumbing Code
Provides comprehensive minimum regulations for plumbing facilities in terms of both performance and prescriptive objectives, and provides for the acceptance of new and innovative products, materials and systems.
Life Cycle Assessment
Is the investigation and evaluation of the environmental impacts of a given product or service caused or necessitated by its existence
Life Cycle Costing
An accounting methodology used to evaluate the economic performance of a product or system over it’s useful life.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
A Green Building Rating System design by the U.S. Green Building Council to create a standard of green building
Low Impact Development
Land planning and engineering design approach to manage storm water.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value
An efficiency rating for air filters.
Material Safety Data Sheets
Detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
A permit program that controls water pollution.
Postconsumer Recycled Content The percentage of material in a product that has been recycled from consumer waste.
Process Water Is water used for industrial processes and building systems.
Photovoltiac Energy
The field of technology of using solar cells to produce energy.
Renewable Energy
Certificates sold/traded/bartered that the owner can claim to have purchased renewable energy
Recycled Content The proportion, by mass, of preconsumer and postconsumer recycled material in a product.
Sick Building Syndrome
A combination of ailments (a syndrome) associated with an individual’s place of work (office building) or residence.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficent
A term used for windows for measuring the amount of radiation at the outer layer face of a window in relation to the amount that passes the inner most layer face  
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Contractors Association
An international trade association representing 4500 contributing contractor firms, that promotes quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning.
Solar Reflectance Index
A measure of the fractional energy reflected by a surface.
Technical Advisory Group
Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) are charged with providing a consistent source of technical advice to LEED committees and working groups with respect to credit and prerequisite improvement and supporting tool development.
Terrawatt One Trillion Watts 
Total Suspended Solids
Particles that are too small to be removed from stormwater. Must be removed by filtration.
Uniform Plumbing Code
Model code developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) to govern the installation and inspection of plumbing systems as a means of promoting the public’s health, safety and welfare.
Vehicle Miles Traveled
The total number of miles driven by all vehicles within a given time period and geographic area
Volatile Organic Compound
Organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere.

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