Collection or recovery of construction materials from an existing building or construction site. Materials are diverted from the waste stream and intended for reuse in construction.
Sand barrier termite control
Use of sand of a specific type around and at penetrations of a building foundation as a means to prevent entry by termites. Termites cannot pass through this type of sand because their tunnels cave in.
Sick Building Syndrome: this sickness is characterized by the symptoms that people have in an unhealthy building with poor indoor air quality — dizziness, headaches, irritated eyes, nausea, throat irritation and coughing— these reactions typically cease when the person leaves the building.
Shading coefficient: the ratio of solar heat gain through a given window glazing or screen material to that through 1/8 inch clear double strength glass. Expressed as a number between 0 and 1. This term is being replaced by solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), a more descriptive term. The lower a window’s or screen’s SC, the less solar heat it transmits, and the greater it’s shading ability.
System Development Charge: an improvement fee collected at the time of increased usage of a capital improvement, at the time of issuance of a development permit or building permit, or at the time of connection to the capital improvement. System development charge does not include fees assessed or collected as part of a local improvement district or a charge in lieu of a local improvement district assessment, or the cost of complying with requirements or conditions imposed by a land use decision.
An adhesive agent used to close or secure something in order to prevent seepage of moisture or air.
A heating system receiving its combustion air through a sealed vent to the exterior. Combustion takes place in a sealed chamber. Combustion products are vented to the building exterior through a separate sealed vent. Since cold outside air is not mixed with the warm indoor air during combustion, efficiency is enhanced. Furnaces with this type of combustion system have an AFUE range of 70-80% (see AFUE).
Seasonal energy efficiency ratio: the total cooling output of an air conditioner during its normal annual usage period for cooling, in Btu/h, divided by the total electric energy input during the same period, in watt-hours. (in other words, the measure of the energy efficiency of the air conditioner). The higher this number the better.
Heat that raises the temperature of a material without changing its phase.
Heating or cooling load required to meet air temperature requirement for comfort.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window or screen, both directly transmitted and absorbed, and subsequently released into the space. (See Shading coefficient). A window with a lower SHGC will reduce cooling costs.
In buildings that house workers, shower facilities are considered a green building feature in that they allow occupants that elect to travel by bicycle and other human powered modes of transportation to exercise this option.
Gases and vapors often adsorb, and particles deposit, on surfaces such as carpet, drywall, etc. These surfaces are known as “sinks”—contaminants can be re-emitted from the sinks at a later time (see Carbon sink).
Structural insulated panel system: a type of building system combining exterior sheathing, structural support, and insulation, and interior sheathing into one modular factory-assembled unit, thus reducing the number of vertical joints, interior voids, and assembly time.
A durable natural fiber used as a floor covering, derived from leaves of the sisal plant.
The thorough environmental analysis conducted as a stage in planning to assess a variety of measures from soils, topography, hydrology, environmental amenities such as wetlands, wind direction, solar orientation, animal and plant habitat, connections to community, etc. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can facilitate this task.
This housing uses conventional, or advanced-framing, methods, built entirely on-site. Many pre-fabricated components are incorporated like pre-hung doors and trusses. Also known as stick-built housing.
Site development costs
All costs needed to prepare the land for building construction, such as the demolition of existing structures, site preparation, off-site improvements, and on-site improvements.
The vitreous mass left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore. Used as a concrete additive.
The sediment extracted from wastewater.
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association: an international association of union contractors with standards and manuals addressing all facets of the sheet metal industry, from duct construction and installation to air pollution control, from energy recovery to roofing.
An urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in the center of a city to avoid urban sprawl; and advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use, including mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.
Consists of programmable electronic controls and sensors that can regulate heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, appliance and equipment operation in an energy conserving and climatically responsive manner.
Also referred to as an infiltration trench, this is a shallow lined trenches backfilled with sand and coarse stone. After flowing through a concrete collection box that removes debris, stormwater runoff flows through the soakage trench, is filtered by the backfill and soaks slowly into the underlying soil.
Access to the sun’s rays by, for instance, restricting the location of shade trees or laying out the building so as to maximize the usefulness of solar energy.
Device which uses the sun’s energy to perform some kind of mechanical advantage which would normally be supplied by a non-renewable energy source. Photovoltaic panels (PV’s) which convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity, and solar hot water panels, which heat pre-heat water before sending it into a hot water heater are two examples.
Energy received from the sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength region from 0.3 to 2.7 microns. This includes all visible light as well as some ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
Radiant energy received from the sun, from both direct exposure and diffuse or reflected sunlight.
A measure of a material’s ability to reflect solar radiation. Values are from 0 to 1. A high value correlates to more reflected solar radiation and less absorption; hence the material stays cooler (as in a roof). Light-colored materials have a higher solar reflectance.:
A unit of perceived loudness. Loudness is a subjective measure of the sound pressure. A low-sone exhaust fan is quieter than regular exhaust fans, for instance.
Elimination of waste at the beginning of a process. Sometimes called “precycling”. The design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials to reduce the amount or toxicity of waste in an effort to reduce pollution and conserve resources (i.e., reusing items, minimizing the use of products containing hazardous compounds, extending the useful life of a product and reducing unneeded packaging). Practices that reduce the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise being released into the environment. Such practices also reduce the risk to public health and the environment associated with such releases. Term includes equipment or technology modifications, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training or inventory control.
A single kind of recyclable C&D waste material that has been separated from other C&D waste materials at the site of remodeling, repair, construction, demolition, or land clearing before it is transported to a receiving facility. Source separating C&D materials maximizes recycling rates.
A single-family dwelling constructed in anticipation of finding a buyer.
Detailed instructions provided in conjunction with plans and blueprints for construction. Includes information necessary to build a building which cannot be included easily in drawings. Specifications may stipulate the type of materials to be used, special construction techniques, dimensions, and colors. Also known as specs.
Coated or tinted glazing with optical properties that are transparent to some wavelengths of energy and reflective to others.
Split system heat pump
Also referred to as a mini-split system. These ductless heat pumps make good retrofit add-ons to houses with "non-ducted" heating systems, such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters (wood, kerosene, propane). They can also be a good choice for room additions, where extending or installing distribution ductwork is not feasible. The main advantages of mini splits are their small size and flexibility for zoning or heating and cooling individual rooms. Many models can have as many as four indoor air handling units (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit.
The spread of residential areas, shopping centers, and small industries outside of city boundaries.
Spray-in foam insulation
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is applied through small holes in walls, or in open cavities, expands and stays in place. It is appropriate for varying sizes of projects with moderate moisture issues. It has no indoor air quality effects and some spray foams can be soy-based. Most spray-foams are primarily made from petrochemicals.
The phenomenon in a building or building component caused by wind pressure and temperature differentials which results in air being drawn through some components of a building and out others creating a continuous pattern of air flow.
The sequencing and physical positioning of building materials on a construction site. Sustainable building pays particular attention to staging in order to minimize the impact to the construction site and protect materials from damage.
Those people who are or will be affected by a real estate development, either financially (i.e., investors and lenders) or physically (i.e., occupants and users, local community, local government, and other institutions).
Sound Transmission Class: a single-number rating designed to provide a comparison between the noise losses of different structures for building-design purposes. The STC is calculated from the noise reduction at the 16 one-third octave bands between 125 and 4,000 Hertz. In the US, it is widely used to rate interior partitions, ceilings/floors, doors, windows and exterior wall configurations.
Responsible caretaking; based on the premise that we do not own resources but only manage them, and are responsible to future generations for their condition. Decisions are made regarding the care of our environment with the goal of passing healthy ecosystems on to future generations.
Strategies for managing stormwater runoff from hard surfaces to reduce erosion, waterway pollution and often harvest the water for reuse. Various methods can be used such as vegetated swales, rain barrels, cisterns and retention ponds (see Rainwater harvesting).
Alternative building method using bales of straw for wall systems. The method uses an agricultural waste product in place of diminishing dimensional lumber, and achieves high insulation values. It is a building method most appropriate for regions with relatively little precipitation.
In mortgage calculations, the percentage that lenders will “stretch” a mortgage (i.e. from 28% of the homebuyer’s salary to 30%) for homes that meet energy-efficiency ratings or other standards, realizing that other expenses such as operating or transportation costs will be lower.
Vertical wall framing members. Typically made of wood or metal.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
A colorless, irritating gas that is a primary cause of acid rain. It is a byproduct of coal combustion.
A design strategy working with the building’s orientation on the site. The long side of the building faces south. The area of the window glazing on the south side is generally limited to 7% of the total floor area.
The program funds and carries out EPA solid waste emergency and long-term removal and remedial activities. These activities include establishing the National Priorities List, investigating sites for inclusion on the list, determining their priority, and conducting and/or supervising cleanup and other remedial actions.
A design strategy where a building can maintain a comfortable interior temperature without passive solar design techniques or large amounts of thermal mass, and with very small amounts of backup heat. These buildings typically include very thick insulation (typically R40 walls and R60 roof), an airtight envelope, a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to provide fresh air, no conventional heating (maybe a small back-up heater), and no large windows.
Double or triple-glazed window sandwiches which contain a center sheet of coated mylar “low-emissivity” film and are filled with argon or krypton gas. This construction and the coating on the film allows short-wave radiation (visible light) to pass through, but reflects long-wavelength radiation (infrared or heat) so heat cannot pass through. R-values of 4.5 or more are achieved.
Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (as defined by the Brundtland Commission, 1987).
Materials that are acquired in an environmentally sound manner emphasizing efficient and appropriate use of natural resources.
A depression in the soil to channel water (see Bioswale).
Rather than studying something by breaking it into its constituent parts, systems thinking looks at how the thing interacts with other constituents within a larger framework. Particularly useful in the study of complex problems, or situations involving the considerable interdependence of elements.