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Green Glossary – Understanding Common Terminology

Acidification - Acidification is the process whereby air pollution mainly ammonia, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides is converted into acid substances. This acid rain is best known for the damage it causes to forests and lakes.

American Tree Farm System – The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) is a program of the American Forest Foundation,  committed to sustaining forests, watershed and healthy habitats through the power of private stewardship.  Their mission is  to promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry.

Carbon Footprint - A Carbon Footprint is made up of the sum of two parts, the direct / primary footprint and the indirect / secondary footprint. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and plane).  The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use - those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown.

Cradle to Cradle – It’s the idea that at the end of life, any product can be turned into something else to close the cycle so that ultimately there is no waste.

Eco-friendly - Environmentally friendly, eco-friendly, and nature friendly are synonyms used to refer to goods and services considered to inflict minimal harm on the environment. There is no international standard for this concept yet.

Energy Star Rating - One of the main goals of the ENERGY STAR program is to develop performance-based specifications that determine the most efficient products in a particular category. Products that meet these specifications earn the ENERGY STAR label. To develop ENERGY STAR product specifications, EPA and DOE use a systematic process that relies on rigorous market, engineering, and pollution savings analyses as well as input from industry stakeholders. This process ensures that the ENERGY STAR: identifies products where large gains in energy efficiency and pollution reduction can be cost-effectively realized and can play an influential role to expand the market for these products.

Floor Score Program – developed in conjunction with the Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), is a certification system that specifically for hard surface flooring and flooring adhesives that meet California’s VOC requirements. Floor Score certification requires independent testing and verification by SCS.

FSC Certified (wood) - Products bearing the FSC logo, which guarantees that the wood from a certified well-managed forest, are available across the world from a variety of mills, manufacturers, and distributors.

Global Warming - Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation.

Green Guard- The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is an industry-independent, non-profit organization that oversees the GREENGUARD Certification Program.  As an ANSI Authorized Standards Developer, GEI establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings. GEI’s mission is to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air.

Green Home – a green home uses less energy, water and natural resources; create less waste; and is healthier for the people living inside.

Green Label and Green Label Plus Program – The Carpet and Rug Institute offers certification through the Green Label and Green Label Plus Program of carpeting products (e.g. carpet, adhesives and cushions) that are low emitting. A carpet manufacturer may use the Green Label seal if the product is independently tested and the test results do not exceed the CRI’s emission criteria.

Greenhouse gases - are components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect the Earth would be uninhabitable; in its absence, the mean temperature of the earth would be about −19 °C (−2 °F, 254 K) rather than the present mean temperature of about 15 °C (59 °F, 288 K). Greenhouse gases include, in order of relative abundance: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and CFCs.

Greenwashing -– it is a term that is used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

LEED – LEED for homes is a green home rating system for assuring that homes are designed and built to be energy and resource efficient and healthy for occupants.

NSF-140 – was created by the Carpet and Rug Institure (CRI) with the assistance of NSF International. The purpose is to provide a method of identifying carpeting that offers environmental, economic, and social benefits and reduce adverse impacts over its entire commercial life cycle.

National Green Building Standard- this standard will provide criteria for assessing the environmental impact of the design, construction and renovation of residential buildings. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) the standard will reflect regional characteristics where possible.

Post Consumer Waste - Post-consumer waste is a waste type produced by the end consumer of a material stream; that is, where the waste-producing use did not involve the production of another product. Quite commonly, it is simply the garbage that individuals routinely discard, either in a waste receptacle or a dump, or by littering, incinerating, pouring down the drain, or washing into the gutter. Post-consumer waste is distinguished from pre-consumer waste, which is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc.), back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is commonly used in manufacturing industries, and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.

REGREEN – is a set of guidelines and educational resources for sustainable  residential improvement products under development from American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the USGBC.

Recycled content – Products that say they contain recycled content cannot necessarily be recycled.

Renewable Resource - A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption by humans or other users. Resources such as solar radiation, tides, and winds are perpetual resources that are in no danger of being used in excess of their long-term availability.

Scientific Certification Systems - SCS is a leading third-party provider of certification, auditing and testing services, and standards, founded in 1984. Their goal is to recognize the highest levels of performance in food safety and quality, environmental protection and social responsibility in the private and public sectors, and to stimulate continuous improvement in sustainable development.

Shades of green – often used to refer to the various levels of achievement in adopting resource efficiency in a home.  Homes with one or two green measures are called “light green” while homes with several green measures are called “deep green”.

SMART Standard – was developed by the institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS). MTS represents a coalition of manufacturers, environmental groups, and state and local government leaders. The SMART Standard works by identifying flooring materials and products that achieve a variety of specified performance based sustainability criteria.

Sustainable design - Sustainable design (also referred to as "green design", "eco-design", or "design for environment") is the art of designing physical objects and the built environment to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. It ranges from the microcosm of designing small objects for everyday use, through to the macrocosm of designing buildings, cities, and the earth's physical surface. It is a growing trend within the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, engineering, graphic design, industrial design, interior design and fashion design. The needed aim of sustainable design is to produce places, products and services in a way that reduces use of non-renewable resources, minimizes environmental impact, and relates people with the natural environment.

Sustainable development - is that which meets all the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. -The U.N. Brundtland Commission – 1987 (// )

Sustainable Forestry Initiative - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) program is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business decisions can co-exist. SFI program participants practice sustainable forestry on all the lands they manage. They also influence millions of additional acres through the training of loggers and foresters in best management practices and landowner outreach programs.