||Products that are manufactured and
tested without use of or harm to animals.
||Refers to the gaseous components
at and above the world's surface including the important
gases oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane
||Decomposition of a product by the
action of microbes such as bacteria and fungi to its
basic elements or compounds to a point where it can
be considered 'food' for another living organism. Most
manufactured products biodegrade slowly, if at all,
and emit toxic substances throughout the decomposition
||The complex interdependence between
all plant and animal life.
||Chemicals, airborne asbestos, fiberglass,
some electromagnetic fields and tobacco that are currently
under study for their role as definite or potential
agents in causing cancer.
||Materials that are independently
certified as originating from sustainably managed resources
from recycled materials or conforming to a national
or international eco-label.
||A family of chemicals known to contribute
to global climate change and the depletion of the atmospheric
ozone layer. CFCs are used in air conditioners, refrigerators,
foam insulation, styrofoam plastics, aerosol containers,
and as cleaners in the manufacturing of electronic circuitry.
||A method of harvesting timber by
cutting every tree over a large area of a forest. There
are many damaging effects from this practice including,
erosion of the nutrient rich topsoil, destruction of
habitat, loss of wildlife and important microorganisms.
||The process of introducing waste
streams back into the manufacturing process in a continuous
cycle without loss of waste from that cycle.
||A product that can be decomposed
by microbes such as bacteria and fungi to release nutrients
and organic matter back into the earth.
||A written statement defining a company's
position on the environment with an ongoing audit of
progress over time. Existence of a corporate environmental
policy usually indicates inclusion of environmental
management systems and/or the use of basic eco-design
strategies in everyday business.
||A term was coined by William McDonough
to describe the practice of developing products whereby
all components of the product are completely biodegradable,
becoming food for other organisms. The cradle-to-grave
approach to product manufacturing looks only at the
lifecycle of a product until the end of its useful life
without taking responsibility for its decomposition.
A marketing claim used along with "not tested
on animals" or "no animal testing"
to suggest that no animals have suffered in the process
of bringing a product to market. Green Building Pages
specifically defines this term to mean that no tests
or processes required for the manufacture or marketing
of a particular product, its inputs or byproducts,
involve animals (live or dead), or animal by-products
for which the animal is killed.
||A design strategy which brings natural
sunlight into an interior space without contributing
to glare and excessive heat gain but able to supplement
or even eliminate the need for electric lighting.
||Refers to the recycling of a product
to create a new material that has properties inferior
to those of the original virgin materials. For example,
the use of some plastic products into car wheel stops.
||Tough, strong materials that do not
break or wear and survive the life of the product or
||The total energy input required to
extract, process, fabricate, assemble, transport and
install a product or material. Also considered in the
embodied energy of a product is the use of fossil fuels
and emissions of pollutants during this entire cycle.
It is measured in Mj per kg or Gj per tonne.
||Products designed to prevent loss
to use energy efficiently.
||The application of green engineering
techniques to manufacturing to encourage greater efficiency
and reduction of emissions and waste.
||The potential negative effects on
the planet resulting from inefficient use of energy
and natural resources, the increasing use of toxic chemicals
in manufacturing processes, and the escalation of unsafe
disposition of waste.
||A design process in which the focus
is on assessing and integrating all the individual components
of the design for their environmental impacts, individually
and as a whole.
||There are many criteria that make
a product 'green,' including recycled content, manufacturing
practices, amounts and range of toxic emissions, energy
used in extraction, manufacturing and transportation,
water use, and social practices of the manufacturing
company. The consumer must choose what 'shade of green'
||Any man-made gaseous emission that
contributes to the rise in the average temperature of
the earth, a phenomenon known as global warming, by
trapping the heat of the sun near the surface rather
than allowing it to dissipate into space. The key green
house gases include carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil-fuel
burning activities; methane from landfill sites, agriculture
and coal production; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons
(HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used in refrigerants
and aerosols; nitrous oxide from nylon and nitric acid
production, fossil-fuel burning and agriculture; and
sulfur hexafluoride from the chemical industry.
||An organization that has set some
standards and offers a certification for the 'greenness'
of a product. As with all third-party evaluators, a
consumer should become aware of the criteria needed
for a product to achieve the approval of the Green Seal
||The wastewater from personal or general
domestic washing activities.
||Materials that, when discarded, pose
a significant immediate and/or long-term danger to all
life. The EPA mandates these materials to be properly
disposed. There are over 250,000 hazardous waste sites
in the U.S alone.
||These are substances mined from the
earth for use in many products, including plastics,
paints, metals, etc, including mercury, lead, cadmium,
nickel, chromium, zinc. Many of these substances have
been included on the lists as hazardous to human health.
||An international standard for environmental
management schemes maintained by the International Standards
Organization (ISO) in Geneva, Switzerland. New standards
are emerging for lifecycle assessment (ISO 24040) and
eco-labeling and environmental labels (draft ISO 14021).
analysis or Lifecycle assessment (LCS)
||The process of analyzing the environmental
impact of a product from the cradle to the grave in
four major phases: production, transport/distribution/packaging,
usage, and disposal or end of life/design for disassembly/design
||A method of determining the impact
of a product on the environment by assessing all the
raw materials used, energy used and waste produced.
It is currently a cumbersome and difficult protocol
but promises information for future environmentally
conscious product manufacturing.
|Locally sourced materials
||Those products extracted, mined,
etc. in close proximity to the point of manufacturing
Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
||The information on an MSDS, by law,
must be available to the public and identify all materials
considered hazardous or posing significant exposure
risk. They must also include information on handling
precautions and what to do in case of exposure. These
have their limitations. For example, formaldehyde is
not considered a material needing to be identified in
the MSDS even though it is considered a hazardous material
to human and animal health.
||Products that encourage the use of
natural day light rather than consuming electricity.
||Those resources in finite supply
that cannot be regenerated or renewed by synthesizing
the energy from the sun. Such resources include fossil
fuels, nuclear power, metals and plastics. They are
considered serious air, water and land polluters. Improving
the rate of recycling will extend the longevity of these
||Not likely to cause loss of life
or ill health and /or degradation of living eco-systems.
||The term for emissions of volatile
compounds to the air from synthetic or natural polymers.
Emissions usually derive from additives, elastomers,
fillers and residual chemicals from the manufacturing
process rather than from the long, molecular-chain polymers.
||Products that have been produced
or manufactured without the use of pesticides, hormones,
or synthetic fertilizers.
||The ozone layer of the earth's atmosphere
is a protective shield against the harmful ultraviolet
rays from our sun. Scientists believe a reaction with
chlorine molecules released into the atmosphere over
many years has resulted in a thinning of the ozone layer,
which increases the risk of skin cancer and other damage
||Waste that is collected and sorted
after the product has been used by the consumer.
|Pre-consumer or post-industrial
||Waste generated at the manufacturing
plant or production facility before the product reaches
||Materials saved from demolition for
reuse in the built environment.
|Reuse of materials
||Reusing materials without changing
their original state.
||Materials that have been processed
(such as cleaned, graded, shredded, blended), then remanufactured.
See pre-consumer recycled content vs. post-consumer
recycled content above.
||Materials that include some recycled
and some virgin content.
||A material that can be extracted
from resources that absorb energy from the sun to synthesize
or create matter. These resources include primary producers,
such as plants and bacteria, and secondary resources,
such as fish and mammals. Renewable resources are those
sources of energy that are not depleted when they are
used, such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric
||A product that can be reused at the
end of its initial lifespan for an identical, similar
or new use.
||This term was coined when researchers
became aware that the indoor air quality was the source
of illness and chronic health problems in the users
of the building.
||Products that produce light or heat
by absorbing the energy of the sun. This source of energy
does not cause pollution, or contribute to the damaging
effects of global warming.
||This is the solid (not gaseous or
liquid) waste that is taken out of the useful materials
cycle by being sent to a landfill or burned.
||This is one of the guiding principles
of sustainable design in that it calls for the reuse
and recycling of materials in an effort to decrease
the amount of virgin raw material needed for manufacturing.
||The process of specifying that the
goods/materials of suppliers meet minimum environmental
||An adjective applied to diverse subjects
including populations, cities, development, business,
communities and habitats. It means that the subject
can persist to meet the needs now as well as a long
time into the future.
development / manufacturing
||Refers to the process that accounts
for all consequences to the environment, now and in
||Products that have been determined
to be a hazard to life, which makes them unsafe to use
as well as dispose of. Toxic products need to be phased
out of use through the redesign of the many building
materials currently using them.
|Toxic Release Inventory
||The federally identified list of
over 230 toxic chemicals identified to cause serious
health and environmental hazards and recommended for
discontinued industrial use.
||The energy expended to transport
or distribute a product from the manufacturer to the
wholesaler or retailer.
||A product that regains usefulness
by replacing old components/elements with new.
Organic Compounds (VOCs)
||Natural and synthetic organic chemicals
that can easily move between the solid/liquid and gaseous
phase. VOCs evaporate at room temperature and are common
in many building products, including, paints, ink, dyes,
household cleaners, wood paneling, cosmetics, glues,
sealants, caulking, adhesives. Formaldehyde is one of
the more common VOCs used in building materials. Others
include toluene, xylene, benzene, acetone, etc. The
awareness of the dangers of VOCs in building materials
has caused a number of new materials produced without
the use of the chemicals that emit VOCs.
||Water that must be purified from
chemical contamination before being reintroduced into
the environment for use.
||Products that reduce water usage,
and/or facilitate water collection.