“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”  ~Native American Proverb

The internet is an excellent resource for Green Building education for the public and professionals alike!  With the websites listed below, along with the glossary of common Green terms, please take a moment to learn a little bit more about Green Building and how you can make a difference in improving your daily life and the environment around you... 

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." 
~Elwyn Brooks White, 1977


Green Glossary ~

Active Solar Heating: Heat from the sun is absorbed by collectors and mechanically transferred by pumps or fans for storage for the purpose of heating, cooling, or making electricity.

Black Water: Water containing human waste from toilets and urinals.  Black water contains pathogens that must be neutralized before the water can be safely reused.  Typically black water, after neutralization, is used for non-potable uses such as flushing or irrigation.

Built Environment: Refers to human-built structures such as single-family homes.

Carbon Footprint: Is the measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

Composting: A process whereby organic wastes - food, paper, yard wastes - decompose naturally, resulting in a produce rich in materials and ideal for gardening and farming as a soil conditioner, mulch, resurfacing material, or landfill cover.

Daylight Harvesting:Digital photo sensors detect daylight levels and automatically adjust the output level of electric lighting to creat a balance.

Domestic Hardwood: Deciduous trees that grow in the US; this is the only type of wood in the US where on a general scale, the growth of new trees easily exceeds the removal rate.

Embodied Energy: The total of the energy necessary - from the raw material extraction, to transport, manufacturing, assembly, installation, as well as the capital and other costs of a specific material - to produce a service or product.  Included are the product's disassembly, deconstruction, and/or decomposition.

Fossil Fuels: Carbon-rich deposits in the earth, such as petroleum (oil), coal, or natural gas, derived from the remains of ancient plants and animals and used for fuel.

Global Warming: An increase in the global mean temperature of the Earth that is a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases that are trapped within the Earth's atmosphere.  Global warming is believed to have adverse consequences such as climate change and a rise in sea levels.  The scientific community is in general agreement that the Earth's surface has warmed by about 1-degree Fahrenheit in the past 140 years.

Gray Water: Waste water from sinks, showers, kitchens, washers, etc, which after purification is used for non-potable uses such as flushing and irrigation.  Rain water from gutters can be used for this.

Green Building: A building that minimizes impact on the environment through resource (energy, water) conservation and contributes to the health of its occupants, without compromising the aesthetic design.

Indoor Air Quality: The content of interior air that could affect health and comfort of building occupants.  Good indoor air quality inside a building results from: streaming an appropriate amount of outside air into the building and regulating proper filtration, air, distribution, and removal of indoor pollutants.

Low-E Windows:"Low-E" (Low Emissive) windows reflect heat, not light, and therefore keep spaces warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Radiant Heating:An efficient heating system that warms cold objects which then radiate heat into the surroundign space evenly.

Renewable Energy: Energy resources such as wind power, solar energy, hydroelectric power, Biomass, geothermal energy, ocean thermal energy, and wave power that replenish themselves within a short period of time.

Smart House:Consists of programmable electronic controls and sensors that can regulate heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, appliance and equiptment operation in an energy conserving and climatically-responsive manner.

Sustainability: Meeting the needs of the present without depleting resources or harming natural cycles for future generations.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC):Organic compounds that evaporate at room temperatures and are often hazardous to human health, causing poor indoor air quality.  Many VOCs found around the house, such as paint strippers and wood preservatives, contribute to sick building syndrome because of their high vapor pressure.  VOCs are often used in paint, carpet backing, plastics, and cosmetics.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found concentrations of VOCs in indoor air to be 2-5 times greater that in outdoor air.  During certain activities, indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air.



"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given.  But up to now, he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer.  Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wildlife's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier everyday." ~ Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, 1897