GLOSSARY OF ECOLOGICAL DESIGN TERMS
"In its broadest scope, sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem, or any such on-going system to continue functioning into the indefinite future without being forced into decline through the exhaustion or overloading of key resources on which that system depends."
Grass Pervious Paving Block are concrete paving blocks with openings for planting of grass that allow rainwater to penetrate and low site runoff. See for more info here.
Green Wall is a wall partially or completely covered with vegetation that includes a growing medium, such as soil. Most green walls also feature an integrated water delivery system. Green walls are also known as living walls or vertical gardens. Such walls may be indoors or outside, freestanding or attached to an existing wall, and come in a great variety of sizes.
Holistic Design is a comprehensive and highly-integrated approach toward the making of places. It recognizes that the built environment has a powerful and pervasive influence upon us, and effects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually in uncounted ways.
Hydronic Heating is a radiant heat system that distributes hot water through pipes, either to radiators or through a thermal mass floor. The floor absorbs heat and evenly radiates it to the living space.
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are a leave-in-place system built from insulating materials. They can be used for basements or above-grade walls. For more information visit Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs).
LED is short for Light-Emitting Diode. It is a two-lead semiconductor light source. It is a pn-junction diode, which emits light when activated. When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence, and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.
Passive House - "Passivhaus" in German - refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.
Rain Water Garden is a planted depression or a hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater. The purpose of a rain garden is to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water.
SEER is the efficiency of air conditioners, which is often rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute in its 2008 standard AHRI 210/240, Performance Rating of Unitary Air-Conditioning and Air-Source Heat Pump Equipment. The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. The higher the unit's SEER rating the more energy efficient it is.
Smart Growth covers a range of development and conservation strategies that help protect our health and natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, and more socially diverse. In single family housing design, Smart Growth relates to the site planning of the house to the neighborhood, its streetscape, and the transition of design of spaces between public and private spaces, or public outdoor space to private indoor space.
Straw-Bale Construction uses an annually renewable agricultural waste product to build thick, super-insulated walls. Bales can be taken directly from a baling machine or can be re-compressed for higher density. For more information visit Straw Bale.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are made from solid foam insulation sandwiched between two sheets of oriented strand board. SIPs are used for roof, wall, and floor structure, use less wood, and have high insulation value. For more information visit Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).
T5 is a low energy fluorescent tube lighting type. See Lighting Research Center for more info.
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