Opportunity | BioSmart®
A GLOSSARY OF
GREEN LIVING TERMS
Carbon Diet - A carbon diet refers to reducing the
impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas
(principally CO2) production.
Carbon Footprint - A carbon footprint is a measure of
the impact that human activities have on the environment in
terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured
in units of carbon dioxide gases produced by the burning of
fossil fuels for our everyday living.
Carbon Intensity - The ratio of Carbon Dioxide to
energy: a measure of the “greenness” of different fuels.
Chief Green Officer - A Chief Green Officer (CGO), or
Chief Environmental Commitment Officer (CECO), is a
corporate officer responsible for implementing and managing
the corporation’s commitment to reducing its carbon
footprint and protecting the environment.
Dual-flush toilet - A type of water-conserving toilet
that is relatively common in the commercial sphere but is
only now becoming available for the home. After each use you
have a choice of low flush (using as little as 0.8 gallon)
or a more powerful flush (about 1.8 gallons).
Earthcheck - An adaptable environmental benchmarking
tool that measures an organizations environmental output.
This is done across a variety of areas, including energy
consumption, waste production and resource conservation for
the core areas of an organizations operation
to TopEcological Footprint - a measure of human demand on
the Earth’s ecosystems. It compares human demand with planet
Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate it. It represents
the amount of biologically productive land and sea area
needed to regenerate the resources a human population
consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding
waste, given prevailing technology and resource management
practice. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate
how many planet Earths it would take to support humanity if
everybody lived a given lifestyle.
Ecosharing - is an environmental ethic for people to
live by: that their own impact on the Earth’s biosphere be
limited to no more than their own fair ecoshare.
Energy Neutral Design - an Energy Neutral Design is a
design of any type (Website, Multi-media, Architecture, Art,
Music, Entertainment, etc) that has the environment and low
energy consumption practices in mind during all stages of
planning and production.
Energy Policy - The manner in which a given entity
(often governmental) has decided to address issues of energy
development including energy production, distribution and
consumption. The attributes of energy policy may include
legislation, international treaties, incentives to
investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and
other public policy techniques.
Energy Star (www.energystar.gov)
- An energy-efficiency rating system sponsored by the
Environmental Protection Agency. A high Energy Star rating
means that the product — from small household appliances to
entire homes — is designed to minimize its energy
consumption. The theory being, using as little energy as
possible helps protect the environment, conserves fossil
fuels and saves you money on the electric bill.
Forest Stewardship Council (www.fsc.org)
- A third-party certification for wood, wood products and
forests. The FSC tracks the wood from its forest of origin
all the way through the chain of custody to where the
product is sold. If a product is FSC certified, you can
count on its having been harvested and produced in a
stringently eco-sensitive manner.
to TopFormaldehyde - A toxin found in many adhesives, such
as those in plywood and panel board; it also can be found in
paints, caulks and other building materials. The World
Health Organization recently upgraded it from a possible
carcinogen to a known one. When present in the home, it
tends to “off-gas” and pollute the indoor environment.
Global Warming - The increase in the average measured
temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since
the mid-20th century, and its projected continuation. In
media, it is synonymous with the term “climate change.”
Greenhouse Debt - The measure to which an individual
person, incorporated association, business enterprise,
government instrumentality or geographic community exceeds
its permitted greenhouse footprint and contributes
greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (www.usgbc.org/leed)
- Developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building
Council, the LEED rating is the most widely known and
accepted green certification program.
Life Cycle Analysis - The process of tracing a
product, material or practice from its origin through its
final disposal or reuse, from factory to landfill or
Linoleum - A natural and eco-sensitive alternative to
petrochemical-based vinyl. Linoleum is typically made from
the renewable materials jute (used for backing), linseed
oil, pine resin and sawdust. Eclipsed by vinyl in the 1960s
and ’70s, it’s now experiencing a revival; it comes in both
sheets and tiles, in a wide variety of colors.
Low Carbon Diet - A low carbon diet refers to making
lifestyle choices to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions
resulting from energy use. More specifically, a low
carbon diet refers to making choices about eating that
reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) as a response to
estimates that the U.S. food system is responsible for at
least 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases.
Low-flow faucets and shower heads - Installing
low-flow fixtures is a simple and cheap way to conserve
water. If you’re in love with your current faucets and
shower heads, you can instead choose to amend them by
installing aerators, which slow the flow and disperse water.
These simple steps can reduce water use by about 10%.
to TopOff-gassing - Also known as outgassing, this is the
emission of chemicals from building materials, furniture,
textiles, bedding or other products in the home. Many of
those “new house” smells that we’ve come to enjoy are
actually hazardous to our health — they accumulate in the
bloodstream and have been linked by some scientists to the
increasing rates of asthma and some cancers, particularly in
children. The best way to avoid off-gassing is to look for
natural products that don’t contain toxins such as
Recycled content - Refers to the amount of recycled
(reused) material in a given product. There is
post-industrial recycled content, which refers to the use of
scraps from industrial manufacturing, and post-consumer
content, which is the reuse of products that consumers have
and thrown away
Solar - Simply put, solar processes harness energy
from the sun. The solar panels that most of us associate
with solar energy are called photovoltaic panels; they
transform the sun’s rays into usable electricity. Solar
thermal processes can be used to heat our hot water.
Technological advances in recent years have made both
photovoltaic and solar thermal systems amazingly effective.
And prices are more affordable nowadays, in part because
many utility companies and local governments offer rebate
programs that lower the initial costs of purchase and
Water Footprint - an indicator of water use that
includes both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or
producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or
business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that
is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the
individual or community or produced by the business. Water
use is measured in water volume consumed (evaporated) and/or
polluted per unit of time. A water footprint can be
calculated for any well-defined group of consumers (e.g. an
individual, family, village, city, province, state or
nation) or producers (e.g. a public organization, private
enterprise or economic sector). The water footprint is a
geographically explicit indicator, not only showing volumes
of water use and pollution, but also the locations.
Weighted Average Cost of Carbon - A term used in
finance to measure a firm’s specific cost of carbon. It
expresses how much an organization is expending to either
reduce carbon emissions internally (abatement) or offsetting
externally (carbon offset). As such, the weighted average
cost of carbon is the cost a company incurs to balance its
carbon liability (carbon footprint).
Volatile Organic Compounds - The toxic or noxious
chemicals that are found in or released from paints, stains,
adhesives and sealants. Whenever possible, look for products
labeled as having low, no or