Glossary

A | B | C | D | F | G | H | J | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | V | W | Z

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ACCA Manual D The Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual D is a guide to designing residential duct systems.

ACCA Manual J The Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual J describes how to calculate the heating and cooling loads of a home or the residential load.

ACCA Manual S The Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA) Manual S provides information on selecting the appropriate heating and cooling equipment of a home based on the calculations derived from the formulas in Manual J.

ambient lighting Ambient lighting uses “warm” lighting sources with a color temperature between 2700-3000K that are more flattering to skin tones and clothing, recommended for living spaces.

annual Annual plants live for only one year at the end of which seeds are produced.

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of a furnace compares its total fuel consumption with the amount of fuel that is actually converted into heat.

ANSI The American National Standards Institute oversees the activities of many industries in the United States to ensure competitiveness in the global marketplace, the health of consumers, and environmental protection.

arbor(s) Arbors or pergolas, as they are commonly known, typically consist of a combination of pillars, cross beams, and lattice work upon which vegetation such as vines can be trained and provide shade. Some varieties are attached to existing structures including houses or decks.

ASHRAE 189.1 Standard 189.1 details a “total building sustainability package” for those who aim to design, build and operate green buildings. The standard looks to set the foundation for green buildings by addressing site sustainability, site location, energy use, recycling, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources.

ASHRAE The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is an international organization whose mission is to advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigerating to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.

asbestos Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally- occurring, fibrous silicate minerals mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength.Asbestos is commonly used as an acoustic insulator, and in thermal insulation, fire proofing and other building materials. Many products in use today contain asbestos.

awning An awning is a constructed frame covered in a material that extends from an existing structure (usually the side of a house) to provide protection from the sun and rain.

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backdrafting Backdrafting refers to the process in which a home becomes depressurized from air escaping to the outside and is replaced with air entering from the exterior that may contain combustion products including carbon monoxide.

baffles Baffles are devices used to control movement of light, fluids, wind, and other forces. biocide Biocides are chemicals used to destroy living organisms. They are typically selective and can be used agriculturally as pesticides or in other industries to control the infestation and growth of unwanted organisms.

Blower Door Test The Blower Door Test measures the leakiness of the house or its air infiltration and helps a homeowner prioritize problem areas. This test uses pressure differences created by air flow via a calibrated fan that mounts on the frame of an existing door and pulls air out of the house, lowering the inside air pressure. As higher pressure outside air travels in through unsealed cracks and openings, tools like a smoke pencil can detect these air leaks as part of a visual inspection process.

borate-treated foam board Borate-treated foam board is an insulation panel that is pest- and fire-resistant. building envelope The building envelope of a structure is descriptive term that separates its interior from the exterior.

brominated Brominated materials are combined with Bromine, a heavy, volatile, corrosive, reddish-brown, nonmetallic liquid element, having a highly irritating vapor. Some of the materials include flame retardants, photographic chemicals, and dyes among others.

building envelope The building envelope of a structure is descriptive term that separates its interior from the exterior.

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carbon dioxide (CO2) Carbon Dioxide is a gas byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels and other forms of combustion.

capillary breaks Capillary breaks, typically made of elastomeric asphalt coating or a polyethylene sheet, are installed between footings and the foundation wall to prevent water absorption.

carbon monoxide (CO) Carbon Monoxide is a toxic gas byproduct of combustion that is both odorless and colorless. Sources of its production include wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves, and furnaces among others.

carbon/specialized media Carbon or specialized media refers to the presence of bacteria that can be applied to a filtration system to remove certain pollutants.

cellulose Cellulose fibers from recycled newsprint can be applied as a form of insulation resistant to flame, mold, and pests; provides thermal and sound insulation, and resists settling.

cellulose fiber Cellulose fibers from recycled newsprint can be applied as a form of insulation that resists flame, mold, and pests, provides thermal and sound insulation, and resists settling.

cement board Cement board is a non-combustible, water-durable, and mold-resistant panel that is typically used under tile and other finishes, for interior and exterior use.

certified sustainable wood Certified sustainable wood meets specific criteria developed by organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council to promote responsible wood harvesting and condemn the exploitation of local peoples.

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) are thermoplastic piping materials used for such applications as water distribution, industrial fluid handling, and fire suppression systems.

chromated copper arsenate (CCA) Chromated Copper Arsenate is a wood preservative used to prevent decay from insects and microbial agents. Its contents include chromium, copper, and arsenic and is limited to restricted use. cladding Wall cladding is a nonstructural material used as the exterior covering for the walls of a building.

closed-cell Closed cell (spray polyurethane foam or SPF) is typically installed at a density between 2.0 to 3.0 lbs. per cubic foot, and is manufactured with non-ozone-depleting blowing agents.

Color Rendering Index (CRI) The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a 1-100 scale that measures how colors appear under different light sources. A light source with a CRI of 80 or higher is considered acceptable for most indoor residential applications.

color temperature Color Temperature defines the color and warmness or coolness of a light source. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) temperature. Contrary to what is expected, higher Kelvin temperatures (3600–5500 K) are considered cool and lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K) are considered warm. ·A color temperature of 2700–3600 K is generally recommended for indoor general and task lighting. ·Task lighting calls for cool light which produces a higher contrast and is better for visual tasks. Warm light is more flattering to skin tones and clothing and is recommended for living spaces.

combustion Combustion is the chemical process of the release of gasses in the process of burning of a fuel.

combustion appliances Combustion appliances burn fuels including stoves, water heaters, and clothes dryers. It is important to make sure that these appliances work correctly and are properly ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, from entering the home.

combustion equipment Combustion equipment refers to appliances that burn fuels including stoves, water heaters, and clothes dryers. It is important to make sure that these appliances work correctly and are properly ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, from entering the home.

commissioning Commissioning ensures that a home’s mechanical systems have met their design intent, operate and interact optimally.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) Compact fluorescent lights are the miniature fluorescent lights that can screw into standard light fixtures that conventionally use incandescent bulbs. CFLs are more energy-efficient and durable than incandescent bulbs.

concrete formwork Concrete formwork is a concrete walling system used for its insulating properties and durability.

cooling load Cooling load refers to the amount of heat that is to be removed from a space by a cooling system.

copper quat Copper quat is a wood treatment containing both copper oxide and quat as didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) to prevent decay and fungi and insects.

creosote Creosote is a wood preservative distilled from coal tar. Typically applied to utility poles and railroad ties, can only be used for commercial purposes.

cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) Cross-linked polyethylene is a plastic often used for water supply piping that is flexible, resistant to scale and chlorine, doesn’t corrode, is faster to install, and has fewer connections and fittings than does metal piping or rigid plastic piping such as PVC, CPVC, and ABS.

crown size The crown size of a tree refers to the diameter of the portion of a tree that has foliage.

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damper(s) Dampers are adjustable plates located in the flue of a fireplace that prevent heat from escaping when it isn’t in use.

deciduous tree(s) Deciduous trees are species that shed their leaves for part of the year.

diffuser Diffusers are circular, square or rectangular air distribution outlets which are usually located in the ceiling. They are comprised of deflecting blades which discharge supply air in various directions. Diffusers are designed to mix the conditioned air entering the space with the air already contained in the space.

disposable respirators Disposable respirators or filtering facepieces can be made of cloth or paper and are designed to clean the air as you breathe it to prevent you from inhaling irritating substances. double-hung window(s) Double-hung windows have two vertically sliding sashes, each closing a different part of the window.

double-pane window(s) Double-Pane Windows consist of two pieces of glass separated by an air space. The air space allows for less heat transfer between the interior and the exterior of the home reducing heating and cooling loads.

drain pan Drain pans provide a basin to catch any fluids leaking from a piece of equipment such as a clothes washer.

dripline The dripline of a tree refers to the area of ground located directly under the circumference of its outermost branches. This area indicates where the tree should be watered as opposed to the base of its trunk where it can develop root rot.

Duct Blaster Test A Duct Blaster Test utilizes a fan and a pressure gauge to measure the amount of air escaping from the ductwork of a home by pressurizing the system.

duct cleaning Duct cleaning refers to the cleaning of heating and cooling system components in forced air systems, including the supply and return-air ducts, registers, grilles, diffusers, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils, drain pans, fan motor, fan housing, and the air handling unit.

duct mastic Duct mastic is a sealant used to reduce air leakage in duct systems. Its flexibility enables it to contract and expand.

duct squeezing Duct squeezing refers to the use of under-sized ducts in an HVAC system in tight spaces that accelerates the air flow creating excessive noise and increases the system’s operating costs.

ducting system Ducting systems are networks of ducts or formed sheet metal that direct the flow of air from central HVAC units.

DX unit A “Direct Expansion” HVAC unit commonly used to air condition homes. The unit uses the same coil system to expand the refrigerant and cool the air. A valve is then used to stop the compressed gas prior to reaching the cooling coil and then relieves some of its pressure, allowing it to expand and cool. The cool gas is released into the coil while outside air is run past the coil to cool it down.

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Energy Star® for Homes Typically 20-30% more efficient than standard homes, Energy Star qualified homes must meet certain criterion including energy saving features.

electrochromic Electrochromic windows can convert from being transparent to tinted via an electrical switch, or a sunlight or temperature sensing detector that applies an electrical charge to the window. These window systems can control the amount of light and solar energy that pass through providing control over daylighting, glare, solar heat, and protection from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

endocrine system The endocrine system regulates the release of hormones throughout the body. They control metabolism, growth and development, mood, and tissue function.

energy performance rating Energy performance ratings indicate the potential for heat transfer and sunlight transmittance of windows, doors, and skylights.

Energy Star® Thermal Bypass Checklist (TBC) The Energy Star Thermal Bypass Checklist consists of guidelines for a home inspection that may reveal any opportunities for energy efficiency improvements.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The United States Environmental Protection Agency conducts research, educates, and assesses issues in environmental science to promote human health and a healthy environment.

erosion Erosion is the process by which soil and rock are worn away through water, wind, ice and wave transport.

evergreen trees Evergreen trees retain their needles or leaves through the winter and into the next growing season.

extensive Extensive green roofs are 6 inches or shallower and are frequently designed to satisfy specific engineering and performance goals.

externally bonded fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) Thin laminates externally bonded to structural members using epoxy adhesive. The FRP significantly increases a members' load carrying capacity.

extruded polystyrene (XPS) Extruded polystyrene is a plastic foam insulating material that is resistant to moisture, rot, mold, and corrosion.

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fiber cement Fiber cement siding is composed of sand, cement, and cellulose that make it more durable than wood, termite- and water- resistant, and non-combustible.

fiber cement siding Fiber cement siding is composed of sand, cement, and cellulose that make it more durable than wood, termite- and water-resistant, and non-combustible.

fire retardants Fire retardants are chemicals used to prevent or resist the spread of fire. flame retardants Flame retardants are non-combustible materials that resist the spread of fire.

flame spread rating Flame spread ratings (FSRs) are used to evaluate “the surface burning characteristics of building materials including ignition temperature, smoke toxicity, and flame-spread.” Building materials are compared to the FSR scale where inorganic reinforced cement board is 0 and red oak is 100. flashing Any piece of material, usually metal or plastic, installed to prevent water from penetrating the structure.

fluid-applied roofing Used on new and existing low slope and flat commercial roofs in order to prevent rain water from entering a structure and provide an effective energy saving reflective surface. The viscous fluid is applied by a sprayer, roller or brush which creates a membrane that has no seams and therefore no permeability.

fly ash Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-fired electric power generation that can be combined with cement in concrete to improve its strength.

foot candles A non SI unit off illuminance emitted from a light. The unit is defined as the amount of light the inside surface of a 1’ radius sphere would receive if there were a uniform point source of one candela placed in the exact center of the sphere.

form-release agents Form release agents assist in the removal of molds by producing a film that separates them from concrete.

formaldehyde Formaldehyde is a chemical compound used in products including paper towels, photographic film, glues, and inks among others. It is important to avoid products containing formaldehyde whenever possible as they off-gas potentially hazardous pollutants.

formaldehyde-free Formaldehyde-free products don’t contain any formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical that off-gasses creating air pollution and should be avoided whenever possible.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-Certified Wood The Forest Stewardship Council certifies wood that complies with its standards, disapproving of illegally harvested wood, wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights, in forests in which High Conservation Values (areas particularly worthy of protection) are threatened through management activities, from conversion of natural forests, and from areas where genetically modified trees are planted.

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gasket Gaskets are rings typically made of rubber or metal to create a liquid-tight seal between two joints.

geofabric Geofabric or landscape fabric is a synthetic material used to control erosion and prevent weed growth.

glazing Window glazings are compounds applied to glass to reduce the amount of heat transfer between the interior and the exterior of a building and/or the ultra-violet (UV) light passing that passes through it.

green roof Green roofs are contained vegetative roof coverings that provide a variety of economic, ecological, and aesthetic benefits including reducing the heating/cooling loads of the building, reducing runoff, and producing oxygen among others.

green treated “Green treated” wood refers to wood treated by chromated copper arsenate (CCA) to resist fungal decay and pests. CCA treated wood use is limited primarily to poles, pilings, and bridge timbers.

grille Grilles are vent covers that are normally used on air return ducts. Grilles do not have a pre-attached damper. Louver assemblies can be used with grilles so that the grilles can be used on forced air ducts and still provide airflow control.

gypsum Gypsum is a mineral found in sedimentary rock formations in a crystalline form known as calcium sulfate dihydrate. It is typically used in wall board to create of a non-combustible core.

gypsum board Gypsum board or drywall is used in various paneling applications that consist of a paper-faced non-combustible gypsum core.

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hardwiring Hardwiring refers to the use of cables or electric wire to connect electronic components.

H-axis machines Horizontal-axis (H-axis) or front loading washing machines use less water by dipping clothes into the water at the bottom of their basins as they rotate.

heat exchanger(s) Commonly used in space heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, and other applications, heat exchangers are devices built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another.

heat island effect The heat island effect occurs in densely urbanized areas where impermeable roof and pavement temperatures increase during the summer, elevating the air temperature. This in turn generates a greater demand in energy consumption for cooling systems which concentrates air pollutants and creates smog. Runoff from these heated surfaces reaches waterways where it can increase the water temperature and negatively affect ecosystems.

heating/cooling loads Heating and cooling loads refer to how much warm or cool air must be produced in order to maintain a building’s temperature.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning systems process and supply air through ductwork helping to regulate humidity and temperature in buildings to provide safe, healthy, and comfortable conditions.

Heat-Recovery Ventilator (HRV) Heat-recovery ventilators are air circulation systems that minimize the amount of heat that gets lost as air is transferred between the interior and exterior of a home, saving energy.

heating and cooling coils The heating and cooling coils of an appliance or piece of machinery converts electricity into heat energy.

heating load Heating load refers to the amount of heat it takes to maintain the temperature of an indoor space. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning systems process and supply air through ductwork helping to regulate humidity and temperature in buildings to provide safe, healthy, and comfortable conditions.

heavy metals Heavy metals including copper, selenium, and zinc are elements found in the earth’s crust that can’t be degraded or destroyed. Some in small doses are vital to bodily functions while high concentrations can be lethal.

HEPA filtered air scrubbers High efficiency particulate air or HEPA air filters are a type of high-efficiency air filter that remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles down to a size of 0.3 micrometers (μm) in diameter.

HEPA vacuum High efficiency particulate air or HEPA filters are a type of high-efficiency air filter that remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (μm) in diameter. HEPA filter used in vacuum cleaners trap the fine particles (such as pollen and dust mite feces) which trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic used to make milk bottles, packaging containers, toys and other products because of its resistance to most chemicals, high impact tensile strength, and insolubility in organic solvents.

high-recycled content Products of high-recycled content are made mostly with materials that have already been used.

Home Energy Analysis A Home Energy Analysis considers possible measures that can be taken to improve a home’s energy efficiency based on certain criteria.

Home Performance Audit Home Performance Audits are conducted to assess the energy efficiency of a home and evaluate possible energy saving measures.

home-run piping system Home-run or manifold plumbing systems utilize both PEX piping and a manifold. The system is characterized by direct lines from the manifold to any fixtures thus reducing the amount of water needed and provides hot water faster.

house wrap House wrap, typically made of polyethylene, is a breathable material used to prevent moisture and wind from entering the home.

HUD The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a cabinet-level department that was created in 1965 to increase home ownership, support community development, and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.

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IICRC S500 Guidelines The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration is an independent, non-profit certification body that sets and promotes standards for the inspection, cleaning and restoration service industry. These guidelines provide specific practical standards for water damage restoration. impervious surface Impervious surfaces such as concrete and conventional asphalt do not allow water penetration.

indigenous Indigenous peoples are descendents of the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region.

infiltration Infiltration is the process by which water seeps through the ground where it may reach a water body or an aquifer.

infrared imaging Infrared imaging detects thermal variations and may be used in conducting energy efficiency analyses.

infrared camera technology Infrared camera technology is used to detect thermal variations and may be used in conducting energy efficiency analyses.

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) Insulated concrete forms typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS), are used to mold concrete. They remain in place permanently serving as a thermal barrier.

insulated pre-cast concrete wall systems Insulated pre-cast concrete wall systems consist of concrete panels that are cured off site. The installation of these panels to construct a foundation or a wall is much faster than the curing time of a formed concrete wall.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Integrated pest management is an effective and environmentally sensitive form of pest management that utilizes monitoring, prevention, and control techniques.

intensive Intensive green roofs may become quite deep and merge into more familiar on-structure plaza landscapes with promenades, lawn, large perennial plants, and trees.

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jute Jute is a glossy plant fiber used to make sacks, rope, twine, and other materials.

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Kelvin (K) Kelvin is a universally accepted base unit used to measure temperature. One degree in Celsius is equivalent to one degree in Kelvin. Water freezes at zero degrees Celsius, which is approximately 273.16 Kelvin.

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Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Light Emitting Diodes are electronic light sources that use less energy than incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps.

latent cooling load The latent cooling load of an HVAC system is the amount of heat energy produced by moisture from indoor and outdoor sources that needs to be removed from a home in order to maintain a constant temperature.

light tube Light tubes are a tube or pipe for the transport of light to another location, minimizing the loss of light and are general used in daylighting applications. Also referred to as sun pipes, sun scopes, solar light pipes, or daylight pipes.

load calculations Load calculations are formulas used to derive the heating, cooling, or electrical loads of a system.

long-wave radiation Long-wave radiation is emitted from both the earth and the atmosphere influencing temperature.

loose-fill insulation Loose-fill insulation made of fiber, foam, or other recycled waste materials is able to be blown in places where the installation of other types of insulation is difficult.

louver(s) Louvers are vertical slats on a window, blind, or shutter that are angled in such away to allow in light and air while providing a shield from rain, direct sunlight, and noise.

low-E Low-E or Low-Emissivity glazings are metal or metal oxide coatings applied to windows to reduce heat flow.

low-VOC These products contain smaller amounts than standard materials of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can off-gas chemicals and cause air pollution.

low-VOC duct mastic Duct mastic is a sealant used to reduce air leakage in duct systems. Its flexibility enables it to contract and expand. Using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) products reduces the off-gassing of harmful chemicals promoting a healthy indoor environment.

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Modified Energy Factor (MEF) is a combination of Energy Factor and Remaining Moisture Content (RMC). MEF measures energy consumption of the total laundry cycle (washing and drying). It indicates how many cubic feet of laundry can be washed and dried with one kWh of electricity; the higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

moisture meter Moisture meters are devices used to measure the amount of water in a given substance that help determine if it is ready to use.

mold amplification sites Mold amplification sites are locations where mold has built up over time. Typical sites of indoor mold buildup are damp cellulosic materials (e.g. wallboard paper, wallpaper, carpet backing, damp papers); debris in ventilation ducts, in carpets, or in mattresses or upholstered furniture; poorly maintained humidifiers; insulation on which organic film has accumulated; constantly humid painted, caulked or plastic surfaces (e.g., windowsills, shower stalls, cold air return vents); and potted plant soils.

mortar Mortar is a sandy material that combines with cement and water to bond tile, stone, brick, or concrete blocks.

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National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) was formed in 1989 as a non-profit association of companies engaged in the cleaning of HVAC systems. Its mission was to promote source removal as the only acceptable method of cleaning and to establish industry standards for the association.

National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization that administers the only uniform, independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, doors, skylights, and attachment products.

native plants/species/trees Native plants are species of plants or trees that occur in the region in which they evolved.

natural ventilation Natural ventilation systems utilize pressure differences caused by wind or the buoyancy effect (created by differences in temperature or humidity) to circulate fresh air through buildings.

non-CFC sealant Non-CFC sealants don’t contain the ozone depleting chemicals chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

non-combustible Non-combustible materials are incapable of burning.

non-porous Non-porous materials lack any spaces where gasses or liquids can pass through.off-gassing Off-gassing is a release of chemical materials due to evaporation and may release potentially hazardous gases.

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old growth timber Old growth timber comes from old growth forests where trees must compete for sunlight, growing slower, developing more dense rings increasing the strength of the wood.

open-cell Open cell, low-density polyurethane foam (typically 0.5 lbs. per cubic foot) is produced with a water or carbon dioxide blowing agent.

optimal load calculations The optimal load of an HVAC system can be calculated to determine the amount of energy required for it to operate most efficiently.

Oriented Strand Board (OSB) Oriented Strand Board is similar to plywood and consists of cross-layered rectangular wood strands fixed together with waterproof heat-cured adhesives.

over-sizing Over-sized ducting of HVAC systems may lead reduced indoor air quality and an imbalance of air flow distribution.

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Pascal The Pascal is the standard unit of the measure of pressure equal to one Newton/square meter.

passive heating Passive solar heating systems transfer sunlight into heat energy that can be used to warm building interiors.

passive solar Passive solar home design considers the materials and arrangements of windows, walls, andfloors to utilize solar energy for heating in the winter and reduce solar heat gain in the summer.

passive solar design Passive solar home design considers the materials and arrangements of windows, walls, and floors to utilize solar energy for heating in the winter and reduce solar heat gain in the summer.

passive solar heating Passive solar heating incorporates design and specific materials to heat a building directly using energy from the sun rather than a mechanical HVAC system.

permeability The permeability of a substance is a measure of how well liquids can pass through it.

petroleum-based Petroleum-based products are made from the raw natural resource petroleum, such as oil and natural gas.

phantom load The phantom load refers to the electricity being used by an appliance when it is turned off but still plugged into an outlet.

phenol formaldehyde Phenol Formaldehyde (PF) is commonly used in polymer resins as a safer alternative in pressed-wood materials off-gassing less formaldehyde than products that use Urea Formaldehyde (UF).

photovoltaic (PV) power Photovoltaic power refers to the conversion of light into an electric current through a device such as a solar panel.

planting bed Planting beds are areas designated in a landscape for planting.

plasticizers Plasticizers are additives that increase a materials workability, flexibility, or pliability.

plenum(s) Plenums are boxes made of sheet metal that connect to the outlet of an air handler or furnace to which other ductwork can attach.

plumbing chase A hollow wall area accommodating piping used for drain waste or vent in plumbing systems.

polyisocyanurate Polyisocyanurate is a plastic consisting of closed-cell foam that contains a low-conductivity gas (usually hydrofluorocarbons or HCFC) in its cells. It has a high thermal resistance and is used as insulation that is available as a liquid, sprayed foam, or foam board.

polystyrene Polystyrene is a plastic foam that comes in extruded or expanded forms that are used in various building applications for their insulating properties.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic commonly used as piping that is capable of off-gassing harmful chemicals.

porous Porous materials have spaces through which gases and/or liquids can pass.

portland cement Portland Cement consists of hydraulic calcium silicates that when combined with water harden to become water- resistant. It is one of the most widely used cements by concrete producers and are available in various levels of strength and durability.

post-consumer recycled content Post-consumer recycled products consist of materials that were previously used by consumers. power-vented combustion Power-vented combustion appliances have fans that draw combusted air outside.

pre-consumer recycled content Pre-consumer recycled materials consist of industry scraps.

pressure treated Pressure treated wood undergoes a process in which a chemical preservative (usually chromate copper arsenate (CCA) or less toxic amine copper quat (ACQ)) is applied under high pressure and is intended primarily for exterior use.

programmable thermostat Programmable thermostats are devices used to control a home’s heating/cooling system that can be set to turn off when no one is home and then back on when the home will be occupied to reduce the cooling load.

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radiant barrier Radiant barriers are installed in homes to reduce summer heat gain and winter heat loss, and hence to reduce home heating and cooling energy usage. All radiant barriers have at least one reflective (or low emissivity) surface, usually a sheet or coating of aluminum.

radon Radon is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) radioactive gas produced from the decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water.

rainscreen Rainscreens are used to reduce the exposure of exterior walls to precipitation, preventing moisture intrusion and the decay of materials. Every rainscreen consists of vented or porous cladding, an air cavity, a drainage layer on support wall, and a rigid, water- resistant, airtight support wall.

rain gardens Rainwater gardens are constructed landscape systems that utilize native plants to collect runoff.

reclaimed materials Reclaimed materials are salvaged architectural components that save money, are better for the environment and are aesthetically pleasing.

reclaimed wood Reclaimed wood is salvaged lumber that can save money, is better for the environment, and is aesthetically pleasing.

recycled content Products with recycled content are made from materials that have already been used in another product.

reflective roof Reflective roofs made of metal or that have reflective coatings reduce the cooling load of a building by decreasing the amount of heat that is absorbed through the roof.

refrigerant A refrigerant is a compound used in a heat cycle that undergoes a phase change from a gas to a liquid and back for use in refrigerators/freezers, air conditioners, and other appliances.

registers Registers are vent covers that are typically used on forced air ducts. They have a pre-attached damper or set of louvers to help control airflow.

return air duct Return ducts prevent the pressurization of closed rooms from supply air by allowing air to flow black to the central return grille.

return grille Return grilles are grates used to cover the ends of return ducts.

return register Registers are vent covers that are typically used on forced air ducts. They have a pre-attached damper or set of louvers to help control airflow.

reverse osmosis Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that forces a liquid through a membrane allowing only the pure solvent to pass.

rigid glass fiber insulation Rigid glass fiber insulation are sheets or molded-pipe coverings made of plastic foams or fibrous materials that provides thermal and acoustic insulation.

rigid insulation Rigid glass fiber insulation are sheets made of plastic foams or fibrous materials that provides thermal and acoustic insulation.

rigid insulation board Rigid glass fiber insulation boards are sheets made of plastic foams or fibrous materials that provide thermal and acoustic insulation.

rim joist Rim joists are the boards that cap the ends of the floor system.

roof garden Roof gardens are landscape systems constructed on a building’s roof to reduce runoff, decrease heat island effect, remove air pollutants, and add aesthetic value among other purposes.

runoff Runoff is water that doesn’t infiltrate the ground but instead flows above ground or through storm drains to a water body.

roof monitor Structures built to let in light and also provide two key functions when it comes to daylighting: provide uniform lighting and eliminate glare.

R-Value The R-value of a material indicates its resistance to heat transfer. A high R-value is better than a low R-value. sash Window sashes consist of the moving section(s) of a window.

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sealed combustion Sealed combustion appliances only use air from the outside and directly vent the combustion air back outdoors.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) The seasonal energy efficiency ratio measures the efficiency of a central cooling system over an entire season comparing the number of BTU’s produced to watt-hours consumed.

sensible cooling load The sensible cooling load of a home refers to heat gain from the collective impact of conduction, convection, the exterior, people, and appliances.

sheathing Sheathing refers to a building material that is used to cover exterior wall framing or roof trusses.

shortwave solar radiation Shortwave solar radiation is direct energy from the sun.

single-package models Single-package model HVAC systems have all of their components, including evaporators, cooling coils, compressors, and condensers, contained within one unit.

single-pane window Single-paned windows have only one piece of glass separating the interior and exterior of a home. Double-pane windows are considered to be much more energy-efficient.

single throw shut-off valve Single throw shut-off valves can prevent flooding by turning off the supply of water should a clothes washer hose malfunction.

sisal Sisal is a plant that produces stiff fibers for applications such as rug or twine making.

six-sided containment Six-Sided Containment refers to the insulating of all six sides of frame wall cavities in unconditioned, concealed spaces.

smog Smog is a combination of fog and smoke from combustion characterized by poor visibility and adverse health affects. smoke pencil Smoke pencils detect air pressure differences between two spaces by emitting smoke that leaks through any cracks or openings.

soffit vent(s) Soffit vents are applied to the underside of a construction element and are perforated for intake ventilation.

soil gases Soil gases include radon and other gases that come from a ground source. Some of these gases such as radon are toxic and may require that a system be installed to prevent them from entering the home.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient is the fraction of incidental solar radiation admitted through a window.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) SREC stands for Solar Renewable Energy Certificate and is a tradable certificate that represents all the clean energy benefits of electricity generated from a solar electric system. Each time a solar electric system generates 1000 kWh (1 MWh) of electricity, an SREC is issued which can then be sold or traded separately from the power.

solar tube(s) Solar tubes consist of a clear dome that collects sunlight into a highly polished and reflective tube that reflects the light down to a diffuser on the ceiling. They are sufficient enough to light a small room, hallway, or staircase.

solar water heating Solar water heaters or domestic hot water systems utilize storage tanks and solar collectors to provide hot water for a home saving both energy and money.

solvent A solvent is a liquid substance capable of dissolving other substances. sones Sones are a measure of loudness.

split systems Split HVAC systems have their components including evaporators, cooling coils, compressors, and condensers located inside and outside of a building.

spray polyurethane Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a plastic insulation that expands and hardens after being installed as a liquid.

sprayed foam insulation Spray foam is a plastic insulation that expands and hardens after being installed as a liquid.

stormwater recharge Stormwater recharge is the active restoration of groundwater resources by way of stormwater drainage systems.

storm door Storm doors consisting of a combination of glass and screens can be used to increase the energy efficiency of an exterior doorway.

storm window Storm windows are pieces of glass or plastic mounted to the interior or exterior of an existing window that serve to reduce the amount of airflow in and out of a home, reducing heating and cooling loads.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) Structural Insulated Panels are made from a thick layer of foam (polystyrene or polyurethane) sandwiched between two layers of Oriented Strand Board (OSB), plywood or fiber-cement.

supply duct(s) Supply ducts made of formed sheet metal deliver air to interior spaces from an HVAC system.

supply register Registers are vent covers that are typically used on forced air ducts. They have a pre-attached damper or set of louvers to help control airflow.

sustainably harvested wood Sustainably harvested wood considers the social, economic, and ecological factors associated with logging to ensure long-term productivity while satisfying the desires of people.

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task lighting Task lighting, often described as “cool” lighting, produces higher contrasts that are better for seeing. Task lighting sources emit temperatures between 3600-5500K.

terpenes Terpenes are found in nature usually as the essential oils of certain plants that are used in fragrances, food additives, and other products.

thermal bridgingThermal bridging occurs when high thermal conductivity materials such as steel and concrete create pathways that bypass thermal insulation resulting in heat loss.

Thermal Bypass Checklist (TBC) The Thermal Bypass Checklist is a comprehensive list of building details where thermal bypass, or the movement of heat around or through insulation, frequently occurs due to missing air barriers or gaps between the air barrier and insulation.

Thermal Bypass Inspection The Energy Star® Thermal Bypass Checklist is a comprehensive visual inspection of building details where thermal bypass, or the movement of heat around or through insulation, frequently occurs due to missing air barriers or gaps between the air barriers and the insulation.

thermal paints Thermal paints are finishes with insulating properties that prevent heat transfer.

thermal scan A thermal scan of a home using infrared or heat sensing imaging detect where insulating improvements can be made.

thermographic (infrared) imaging Thermographic imaging is used to detect thermal variations and may be used in conducting energy efficiency analyses.

topsoil Topsoil is the outermost layer of soil primarily composed of organic matter. transom Transoms are the windows above doors that serve to allow in sunlight and release warm air.

tree well Tree wells are the holes where trees are planted.

trellise(s) Trellises are structures that usually consist of latticework to support vegetation including vines and other creeping plants.

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U-Value The U-value or U-factor of a window assembly indicates its rate of heat loss. The lower the U-value the better.

U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes (LEED-H) certification LEED for Homes is a rating system that encourages the building of green homes that use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, are healthier and more comfortable.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation Ultra-violet Light (UV) is defined as electromagnetic radiation in the spectral region between 180 and 400 nanometers. Prolonged exposure to UV light can result in sunburns, skin cancer, and the fading of certain materials.

ultraviolet treatment Ultraviolet water treatment systems utilize a mercury lamp that exposes water to UV rays to through a chamber that kills any bacteria. The system doesn’t add any taste or odor to the water and should only be used with clear water.

unconditioned spaces Unconditioned or unfinished spaces including attics and crawlspaces can provide a variety of energy saving opportunities.

urea-formaldehyde-free Urea-formaldehyde-free products lack any urea formaldehyde content known to off-gas harmful pollutants.

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vapor barrier Vapor barriers are materials that reduce the rate at which water vapor can move through a material. vegetative swale Vegetative infiltration swales are planted areas intended to catch runoff where it can be filtered and enter the ground.

vermiculite insulation Vermiculite-insulation is a naturally occurring mineral, favored for its absorbent, lightweight, fire-resistant, odorless characteristics. Pre-1990 vermiculite insulation products are likely to contain some traces of asbestos associated with the mine where the vermiculite was collected.

virgin materials Virgin material is made exclusively with raw materials and contains no recycled content.

vitrified clay Vitrified clay pipe (VCP) is a sustainable sewer piping material.

Volatile Organic Compound(s) (VOC) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are off gassed from certain solid or liquid products that when exposed to them may cause negative health effects.

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warm-edge spacer Warm-edge spacers are used to separate panes of glass in insulated windows and conduct less heat than standard aluminum spacers.

Water Factor (WF) Water factor is the number of gallons needed for each cubic foot of laundry. A lower number indicates lower consumption and more efficient use of water.

water heater blanket Water heater blankets are used to insulate water heaters with R-values less than 24.

Water Sense® labeled Water Sense labeled equipment meets specific water efficiency and performance criteria established by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.

water table The water table refers to the upper surface of ground water.

weatherization Weatherization involves procedures that protect a building from the elements.

weatherstrip Weatherstripping is the sealing of cracks or holes around windows, doors and other openings exposed to the exterior of a building with caulk, foam, rubber strips, or other materials that can be used to reduce airflow between the interior and the exterior.

wet footing Wet footings occur when there is groundwater in the footing trench.

whole house fan Whole house fans located on attic floors ventilate warm air from interior spaces to the outside while depressurizing the home to draw in cool air from open windows.

wicking Wicking is a term used to describe moisture that moves from the foundation up into walls by capillary action.

wind baffle Wind baffles are structures used to control the movement of wind.

windbreak Windbreaks are barriers typically consisting of trees, shrubs, crops, fences, and other materials to direct wind flow.

wiring conduits Wiring conduits are pipes or liners used as raceways to carry and protect conductors.

wiring raceways Wiring raceways are surface-mounted on interior walls to house wiring to maintain the integrity of a continuous wall system.

woven socks Woven socks filled with wood chips can be placed strategically at a site to control soil erosion and runoff.

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zero-VOC Zero-VOC products don’t contain any volatile organic compounds that create air pollution by off-gassing chemicals zero- or low-VOC Zero-VOC products contain no volatile organic compounds and thus do not negatively impact air quality from off- gassing chemicals.

zone controller A zone controller connects multiple thermostats to a single HVAC system.

zoning HVAC zoning strategically divides a building into zones where each has its own thermostat for independent temperature control.