Eco-Friendly Terms

Glossary of Eco-friendly Terms – Environmental, Green

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Air pollution – contaminants or substances in the air that interfere with human health or produce other harmful environmental effects.

Alternative energy – usually environmentally friendly, this is energy from uncommon sources such as wind power or solar energy, not fossil fuels.

Alternative fuels – similar to above. Not petrol or diesel but different transportation fuels like natural gas, methanol, bio fuels and electricity.

Antimicrobial Preservative– A natural or synthetically derived chemical additive incorporated into or onto product surfaces to prevent microbial growth, odors and stains.

B

Bio-based Product – A product (other than food or feed) that is produced from renewable agricultural (plant, animal and marine) or forestry materials.

Biodegradable – something when left alone break down and be absorbed into the eco-system.

Biological Contaminants – Agents derived from living organisms (e.g., viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mammal and bird antigens) that can be inhaled and can exacerbate many types of health effects including allergic reactions, respiratory disorders, hypersensitivity diseases and infectious diseases. Also referred to as “microbiologicals” or “microbials.”

Biomass – Wood – based materials, agricultural crops, landfill gas, animal and other organic waste. When used as an energy source, biomass is considered to be a source of enewable energy.

Bio-Fuel Also known as BioFuel, is a fuel produced from dry organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants. Examples of Bio-Fuel include alcohol (from fermented sugar), black liquor from the paper manufacturing process, wood, and soybean oil.

Biomimicry – The study of nature and imitation of nature’s forms. The process of learning from and then emulating life’s genius.

Blackwater – the wastewater generated by toilets.

Building Related Illness (BRI) – Diagnosable illness with symptoms that can be identified and with a cause that can be directly attributed to airborne building pollutants (e.g. Legionnaire’s Disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis).

C

Carbon dioxide – CO2 is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. However the amount of it increases when we burn fossil fuels, leading to global warming.

Carbon footprint – a measure of the your impact on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

Carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless and highly toxic gas commonly created during combustion.

Carbon neutral – a company, person or action either not producing any carbon emissions or if it does have been offset elsewhere.

Carbon offsetting – see offsetting.

Carbon rationing – limiting the amount of carbon you use each year. Carbon rationing action groups (crags) help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Carbon sink – carbon dioxide is naturally absorbed by things such as oceans, forests and peat bogs. These are called carbon sinks.

Cap and Trade – An environmental policy tool that delivers results with a mandatory cap on emissions while providing sources flexibility in how they comply. Successful cap and trade programs reward innovation, efficiency, and early action and provide strict environmental accountability without inhibiting economic growth.

Carbon tax – a charge on fossil fuels based on their carbon content.

CFL Fluorescent light bulbs that fit into a standard light bulb socket and use a fraction of the energy of their incandescent counterparts.

Chlorofluorocarbons – CFCs are man-made chemical compounds containing carbon, chlorine, fluorine and sometimes hydrogen. Often used in older fridges and air conditions, the chlorine in CFCs damage the ozone layer.

Climate change – a change in temperature and weather patterns due to human activity like burning fossil fuels.

Composting – a process whereby organic wastes, including food and paper, decompose naturally, resulting in a produce rich in minerals and ideal for gardening and farming as a soil conditioner, mulch, resurfacing material, or landfill cover.

Conservation – preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources.

Cradle-to-Cradle – A term used to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new or similar product at the end of its intended life.

Cradle-to-Grave – A term used to describe a material or product that is disposed (landfill, incineration, etc) of at the end of its intended life.

D

Design for the Environment (DfE) – A concept or philosophy applied to the design process that advocates the reduction of environmental and human health impacts through materials selection and design strategies.

Downcycling – The process of recycling in such a way that new products are of lesser economic value. An example would be turning nylon face fiber into park benches.

E

Earth Day – A day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. It is on 22 April . It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year. The first Earth Day was in 1970. Earth Day is spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Eco-assessment – An evaluation of your home or workplace with the aim of cutting your energy and water usage.

Eco-bag – A ethically, organically made bag to use instead of plastic carrier bags.

Eco-bus – A bus which uses a combination of diesel and electric power.

Ecotourism Also known as eco-tourism or ecological tourism , it is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strive to be low impact and (often) small scale. It purports to educate the traveler; provide funds for conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Eco tourism is held as important by those who participate in it so that future generations may experience aspects of the environment relatively untouched by human intervention

Ecological Footprint – The resulting impacts on the environment based on the choices we make (i.e., raw materials selection, energy selection, transportation, etc).

Ecosystem – The interaction of organisms from the natural community with one another and their environment to sustain one another.

Ecube – A wax cube which mimics food in a fridge to save it energy.

Embodied Energy – Is a combination of the energy required for the process to make a product and the molecular energy inherent in the product’s material content.

Emission – The release of any gas, particle or vapor into the environment.

Emissions cap – A limit placed on companies regarding the amount of greenhouse gases it can emit.

Energy Star – An international standard for energy efficient consumer products. It was first created as a United States government program by the Clinton Administration in 1992, but Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union have also adopted the program. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo, such as computer products and peripherals, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards.

Energy Efficient Products and systems that use less energy to perform as well or better than standard products. While energy-efficient products sometimes have higher up-front costs, they tend to cost less over their lifetime when the cost of energy consumed is factored in.

EnviroCitizenCitizens of planet Earth who believe they have both a collective and an individual responsibility to leave our planet a better place, progressively, for each generation to follow.

Environmental Cost – The monetary impact from the negative environmental effects resulting from the choices we make.

Environmentally friendly – Also eco-friendly, nature-friendly, and green are synonyms used to refer to goods and services considered to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.

Environmental Movement Systems (EMS) – Series of activities to monitor and manage the environmental impacts of manufacturing activities. (Example: ISO 14001)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – An independent executive agency of the federal government, established in 1970, responsible for the formulation and enforcement of regulations governing the release of pollutants, to protect public health and the environment .

Environmentally Friendly – A generic statement often used to designate a product or process that has a reduced ecological footprint when compared to other products/processes.

Environmentally preferable – products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on the environment.

Energy efficiency – Ways and technology that can reduce the amount of electricity or fuel used to do the same work. Such as keeping a house warm using less energy.

Energy saving grant – Money awarded to you to help improve the efficiency of your home and use less energy.

Energy saving lightbulbs – Lightbulbs which use far less energy than conventional bulbs.

F

Flex-Fuel – A varied mixture of fuels, typically gasoline and ethanol. Vehicles with multiple fuel systems – such as might run on hydrogen cells and gasoline, for instance – are called bi-fuel or dual fuel vehicles. To be technical, all automobiles are flex fuel vehicles if they can take a mix of gas and ethanol without modification, and most cars on the road today can. However, a true flex fuel vehicle can go from one hundred percent gasoline to one hundred percent ethanol and back.

Fluorocarbon – Nonflammable, heat-stable hydrocarbon liquid or gas, in which some or all hydrogen atoms have been replaced by fluorine atoms. As with CFC’s, fluorocarbons, traditionally used as propellants (spray cans), are classified as ozone-depleting substances.

Fly Ash – Fine, noncombustible particulate primarily resulting from the combustion of coal in furnaces and kilns. Often used as a filler material in concrete to displace virgin raw materials.

Fossil Fuels – (Mainly coal, oil, and natural gas) are decayed fossils. The combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.

Fuel cell – A technology that uses an electrochemical process to convert energy into electrical power. Often powered by natural gas, fuel cell power is cleaner than grid-connected power sources. In addition, hot water is produced as a by-product.

Fuel Efficiency – A form of thermal efficiency, meaning the efficiency of a process that converts chemical potential energy contained in a carrier fuel into kinetic energy or work. Overall fuel efficiency may vary per device, which in turn may vary per application, and this spectrum of variance is often illustrated as a continuous energy profile. Non-transportation applications, such as industry, benefit from increased fuel efficiency, especially fossil fuel power plants or industries dealing with combustion, such as ammonia production during the Haber process.

Fungi – Typically filamentous, eukaryotic, nonchlorophyllic microorganisms. Fungi grow on dead or dying organic matter and may also grow on some building materials where excess moisture is present. Fungi can cause pungent odors, unsightly stains, and premature biodeterioration of interior furnishings.

G

Geothermal energy – Heat that comes from the earth.

Glass recycling – Glass bottles and jars can be recycled endlessly. That means that unlike some other recycled products, a recycled bottle can be recycled into another glass bottle. And another, and so on forever.

Global warming – An increase in the average temperature of the earth, attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.

Global Warming Potential (GWP) – This is the impact of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to the ‘greenhouse effect.’ Elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and increased climate variability. Also referred to as Climate Change.

Gravity-Film Heat Exchanger (GFX) – A technology that uses the heat from hot water going down drains to preheat water in a hot water tank.

Graywater – Wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation, and constructed wetlands.

Greywater – Wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation, and constructed wetlands.

GreenThe adjective used to describe people, behaviors, products, policies, standards, processes, places, movements or ideas that promote, protect, restore or minimize damage to the environment.

Green Design – A design, usually architectural, conforming to environmentally sound principles of building, material and energy use. A green building, for example, might make use of solar panels, skylights, and recycled building materials.

Green Jobs – Also known as a Green-Collar Job is, according to the United Nations Environment Program, “work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute(s) substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.

Green fatigue – Becoming tired with some of the constant messages of corporate green credentials and tales of impending global doom.

Green Tag – A green tag, or Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), represents the environmental attributes created when electricity is generated using renewable resources instead of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. RECs can be sold separately from their associated electricity and enable customers to ‘green’ the electricity they consume from their retail power supplier(s).

Green Washing – The practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment.

Green wedding – Holding your wedding with the least environmental impact possible

Greenhouse Effect – Greenhouse gases trap heat inside the atmosphere, warming the Earth’s surface

Green Technology Initiative – A consortium of companies pioneering green computing with the aim of helping to educate and inspire British businesses to become more energy efficient and environmentally responsible with their IT infrastructure.

Green wedding – Holding your wedding with the least environmental impact possible

Greenhouse effect – Explains global warming. It’s the process that raises the temperature of air in the lower atmosphere due to heat trapped by greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone.

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) – Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect. These include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), etc.

Greywater – Waste water that does not contain sewage or fecal contamination (such as from the shower) and can be reused for irrigation after filtration.

Ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) – Often mistakenly called geothermal heat pumps, should not to be confused with geothermal energy systems (see above). A GSHP circulates liquid through an underground loop, bringing warmer or cooler temperatures to a building depending on the season. Because it uses the constant temperature (45-50 degrees Fahrenheit) of the earth at 5-6 feet below ground, heating and cooling costs are reduced. A GSHP uses electricity for the pump, but the system is 300-400% efficient, and the payback period is generally 3-5 years. These can be installed anywhere

H

Heat is land effect – Occurs when warmer temperatures are experienced in urban landscapes compared to adjacent rural areas as a result of solar energy retention on constructed surfaces. Principal surfaces that contribute to the heat island effect include streets, sidewalks, parking lots and buildings. Trees, green roofs (see above), reflective coloring, vegetated landscaping, and bodies of water mitigate the heat island effect.

Hybrid – Also known as Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (HEVs), combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxiliary power for electronic devices and power tools.

Hybrid Vehicles – Use a gasoline engine to power an electric generator.  The generator, together with storage batteries, powers electric motors that drive the vehicle’s wheels. Hybrid vehicles use less gasoline and produce less pollution compared to conventional vehicles of similar size.

Hydroelectric energy – Electric energy produced by moving water.

Hydrofluorocarbons – Used as solvents and cleaners in the semiconductor industry, among others; experts say that they possess global warming potentials that are thousands of times greater than CO2.

I

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) – Acceptable IAQ is air in which there are no known contaminants at harmful concentrations as determined by cognizant authoritiesand with which a substantial majority (80 percent or more) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction.

Industrial Ecology – An approach to the design of industrial products and processes that evaluates such activities through the dual perspectives of product competitiveness and environmental interactions.

IPCC – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a UN-commissioned international working group formed in 1988. It assesses climate change and its human causes.

J

K

Kilowatt-hours (kWH) – used to measure electricity and natural gas usage.

L

Landfill – Area where waste is dumped and eventually covered with dirt and topsoil.

Lead – Harmful to the environment used in a lot of paints. It’s also toxic to humans.

LED / LED Lighting LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs last more than 15 times longer, use less energy and are better for the environment.

LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – A series of building rating products developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide a standard for what constitutes a “green building” or “high performance” building.

The various LEED products are used as design guidelines and third-party certification
tools, aiming to improve occupant well-being, environmental performance and economic returns of buildings used to establish and innovative practices, standards and technologies.

The collection of LEED products includes LEED New Construction (NC) for newly constructed buildings, LEED Commercial Interiors (CI) for tenant build-outs, LEED Existing Buildings (EB) for existing building operations and for re-certification of already certified buildings, and LEED Core and Shell (CS). An effort is also underway to develop LEED for Homes.

LEED NC – LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations is designed to guide and distinguish high-performance commercial and institutional projects.

LEED EB – LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance provides a benchmark for building owners and operators to measure operations, improvements and maintenance.

LEED CI – LEED for Commercial Interiors is a benchmark for the tenant improvement market that gives the power to make sustainable choices to tenants and designers.

LEED CS – LEED for Core & Shell aids designers, builders, developers and new building owners in implementing sustainable design for new core and shell construction.

LEED for Homes Promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes.

LEED for Schools Recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of
K-12 schools and addresses the specific needs of school spaces.

LEED for Retail – Recognizes the unique nature of retail design and construction projects and addresses the specific needs of retail spaces.

LEED for Healthcare – Promotes sustainable planning, design and construction for high-performance healthcare facilities.

LEED for Neighborhood DevelopmentIntegrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national program for neighborhood design.

Locally Sourced The philosophy of buying food, and/or items, that were produced in, or near, the region of the consumer. By doing this, one can theoretically reduce emissions and waste by eliminating unnecessary transport of goods.

Life cycle assessment – Methodology developed to assess a product’s full environmentalcosts, from raw material to final disposal.

Light pollution – Environmental pollution consisting of the excess of harmful or annoying light.

Low-emission vehicles – Cars etc which emit little pollution compared to conventional engines.

M

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) – A compilation of information required under the OSHA hazard communication standard, including a listing of hazardous chemicals, health and physical hazards, exposure limits and handling precautions.

Microturbines are small rotary engines (usually fueled by natural gas) that provide on-site electricity generation.

N

Non-renewable resources – Resources that are in limited supply, such as oil, coal, and natural gas. Also see renewable resources.

Non–Toxic – Products that are not composed of poisonous or toxic materials that harm the environment or human health.

O

Offsetting – The process of reducing carbon emissions by ‘offsetting’ it. An example is by taking a flight and in compensation paying a company to plant trees to equal the carbon use out

On-site wastewater treatment – Uses localized treatment systems to transport, store, treat and dispose of wastewater volumes generated on the project site.

Open-grid paving systems Are a form of pervious paving that allow space for vegetation; the vegetations’ evapotranspiration reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement.

Oil – Fossil fuel used to produce petrol etc and other materials such as plastics.

Organic – While it technically refers to molecules made up of two or more atoms of carbon, it’s generally now used as a term for the growth of vegetables etc without the use or artificial pesticides and fertilizer.

Ozone layer – In the upper atmosphere about 15 miles above sea level it forms a protective layer which shields the earth from excessive ultraviolet radiation and occurs naturally.

P

Particulate – Fine solid particles of dust, spore, pollen, dander, skin flakes, mite allergens, cell debris, mold, mildew, mineral fibers or solids escaping from combustion processes that are small enough to become suspended in the air, and in some cases, small enough to be inhaled.

Perceived Obsolesence – The art of making products that go out of fashion or “date”, so you buy more slightly different ones, for example the fashion industry. Also see Planned obsolescence.

Photovoltaic panels – Solar panelsthat convert sunlight into electricity. Power is produced when sunlight strikes the semiconductor material and creates an electrical current.

Planned obsolescence – The art of making a product break/fail after a certain amount of time. Not so soon that you will blame the manufacturer, but soon enough for you to buy another one and make more profit for them. Also see Perceived obsolescence.

Plastic – Man-made durable and flexible synthetic-based product. Composed mainly of petroleum.

Plastic bags – Not very good for the environment.

Plastic recycling – There are seven different categories of plastics that can be recycled.

Pre-consumer Recycled Content – Material that has been recovered from the manufacturing waste stream before it has served its intended purpose.

Post consumer waste – Waste collected after the consumer has used and disposed of it.

Q

R

RecapturedA recycling method that can greatly reduce your water bill and your community’s need for expensive giant waste treatment plants. There are basically two types of grey water recapture. “In the Home” grey water is water from your sink, shower, and laundry that has been filtered and reused. “Outside the Home” is run-off water from your gutters/ground that has been saved and used.

Recyclable – A designation for products or materials that are capable of being recovered from, or otherwise diverted from waste streams for recycling.

Rechargeable Battery – Also known as a storage battery, it is a group of one or more secondary cells . Rechargeable batteries use electrochemical reactions that are electrically reversible. Rechargeable batteries come in many different sizes and use different combinations of chemicals. Commonly used secondary cell (“rechargeable battery”) chemistries are lead acid, nickel cadmium (NiCd), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion (Li-ion), and lithium ion polymer (Li-ion polymer).

Rechargeable batteries can offer economic and environmental benefits compared to disposable batteries. Some rechargeable battery types are available in the same sizes as disposable types. While the rechargeable cells have a higher initial cost, rechargeable batteries can be recharged many times. Proper selection of a rechargeable battery system can reduce toxic materials sent to landfills compared to an equivalent series of disposable batteries. For example, battery manufacturers of NiMH rechargeable batteries claim a service life of 100-1000 charge cycles for their batteries.

Reclaimed Products that are comprised of materials that have been extracted from the garbage or waste.

Recycled Content – Refers to the percentage of the total weight of recycled materials in a product.

Recycle symbol – The chasing arrow symbol used to show that a product or package can be recycled. The three arrows on the symbol represent different components of the recycling process. The top arrow represents the collection of recyclable materials. The second arrow (bottom right) represents the recyclables being processed into recycled products and the third arrow on the bottom left represents when the consumer actually buys a product with recycled content.

Recycling – The process of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing old material into usable raw materials.

Reduce – Not using or buying products in the forst place so less waste, less recycling and less reusing.

RenewableA natural resource if it is replaced by natural processes at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption by humans. Solar radiation, tides, winds and hydroelectricity are perpetual resources that are in no danger of a lack of long-term availability.

Renewable Energy Credits/Certificates – (RECs), are tradable commodities representing renewable energy. RECs are purchased in addition to grid electricity to offset non-renewable energy used with renewable sources. RECs fund renewable energy sources and contribute renewable energy to the national grid, thereby reducing fossil fuel based energy production. Rocs purchased to achieve LEED points must be certified Green-e (a third-party certifier) or meet equivalent standards. Green power is another term often used for Rocs.

Renewable energy – Alternative energy sources such as wind power or solar energy that can keep producing energy indefinitely without being used up.

Renewable resources – Like renewable energy, resources such as wind, sunlight and trees that regenerate.

Repurposing – Allows a flooring product to be cleaned or refurbished and then reused in its current form, thereby extending its useful life. Interface currently repurposes carpet by offering it to nonprofit organizations.

Reuse – before throwing away or recycling, a product that can be reused until its time to recycle.

S

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) – A term used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and/or comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a particular building, but where no specific illness or cause can be identified. Symptoms typically appear upon entering the building and disappear upon leaving the building in affected occupants. These buildings are also often defined as “problem buildings.”

Solar Energy – Energy from the sun.

Solar Heating – Heat from the sun is absorbed by collectors and transferred by pumps or fans to a storage unit for later use or to the house interior directly. Controls regulating the operation are needed. Or the heat can be transferred to water pumps for hot water.

Solar inverter – Also known as a PV inverter, it is a type of electrical inverter that is made to change the direct current (DC) electricity from a photovoltaic array into alternating current (AC) for use with home appliances and possibly a utility grid.

Solar inverters may be classified into three broad types:

  • Stand-alone inverters, used in isolated systems where the inverter draws its DC energy from batteries charged by photovoltaic arrays and/or other sources, such as wind turbines, hydro turbines, or engine generators. Many stand-alone inverters also incorporate integral battery chargers to replenish the battery from an AC source, when available. Normally these do not interface in any way with the utility grid, and as such, are not required to have anti-islanding protection.
  • Grid tie inverters, which match phase with a utility-supplied sine wave. Grid-tie inverters are designed to shut down automatically upon loss of utility supply, for safety reasons. They do not provide backup power during utility outages.
  • Battery backup inverters. These are special inverters which are designed to draw energy from a battery, manage the battery charge via an onboard charger, and export excess energy to the utility grid. These inverters are capable of supplying AC energy to selected loads during a utility outage, and are required to have anti-islanding protection

Solar inverters use special procedures to deal with the PV array, including maximum power point tracking and anti-islanding protection .

Solar Panel Also known as a photovoltaic module, it is a packaged interconnected assembly of photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells. The photovoltaic module, known more commonly as the solar panel , is then used as a component in a larger photovoltaic system to offer electricity for commercial and residential applications. Because a single photovoltaic module can only produce a limited amount of power, many installations contain several modules or panels and this is known as a photovoltaic array. A photovoltaic installation typically includes an array of photovoltaic modules or panels, an inverter, batteries and interconnection wiring.

Sulfur Dioxide – SO2 is a heavy, smelly gas which can be condensed into a clear liquid. It’s used to make sulfuric acid, bleaching agents, preservatives and refrigerants and a major source of air pollution.

Sustainable – Capable of being maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage

T

Thermal Energy – A type of energy that is generated and measured by heat of any kind. It is caused by the increased activity or velocity of molecules in a substance, which in turn causes the temperature to rise accordingly. There are many natural sources of thermal energy on Earth, making it an important component of alternative energy.

U

Upcycling – The process of recycling in such a way those new products are of higher economic value.

V

Vermicomposting – The process whereby worms feed on slowly decomposing materials (e.g., vegetable scraps) in a controlled environment to produce nutrient-rich soil.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Compounds that evaporate from many housekeeping, maintenance and building products made with organicchemicals. These compounds may be released from the products both in use, and in storage. In sufficient quantities, VOCs can cause irritation and some are carcinogenic and are suspected of causing or exacerbating acute and chronic diseases. The health effects of VOCs at levels found typically in commercial indoor environments are still not completely known and continue to be a point for further study.

W

Waste-to-EnergyBurning of waste to generate steam, heat or electricity.

Water ConservationRefers to reducing the usage of water and recycling of waste water for different purposes like cleaning, manufacturing, agriculture etc.

Waterless urinals – use no water, but instead replaces the water flush with a specially designed trap that contains a layer of buoyant liquid that floats above the urine layer, blocking sewer gas and urine odors from the room.

WEEE – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, your broken or not wanted electronic gadgets like mobile phones or computers.

Wind Power – Energy derived from the wind.

Wind Turbine – A rotating machine that converts the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used directly by machinery, such as pumping water, cutting lumber or grinding stones, the machine is called a windmill. If the mechanical energy is instead converted to electricity, the machine is called a wind generator , wind turbine, wind power unit (WPU) , wind energy converter (WEC) , or aero generator .

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