Glossary

Biomass

A collective term for all plant and animal material. Includes burning or digesting forms of biomass to produce energy. Examples include wood, straw and energy crops such as willow and poplar grown on short rotation.

Breeam assessment

Measures the environmental performance of the development of a site including the impact of site constraints i.e. contamination, ecology, transport arrangements etc. these issues can affect the BREEAM assessment we can attain irrespective of how sustainable the building is.

Carbon footprint

A calculation giving the gross carbon consumption to operate a building. Includes all aspects of operating the building including such items as transportation of staff.

Carbon neutral

The means by which carbon emissions can be offset to a similar quantum by external investment e.g planting trees

Ecohomes

Is the domestic version of BREEAM, and provides an environmental rating.

Embodied energy

The total life cycle energy used in the collection, manufacture, transportation, assembly, recycling and disposal of a given material or product.

Energy performance certificates

Will assess the energy performance of a building at completion and in use. Guidelines issued in March 2007

*Introduction for commercial buildings on 6th April 2008*

* Dates for England & Wales – Scotland different dates

Grey water

Water that has already been used in washbasins, showers, baths and the like, and can be filtered and disinfected before being used again in toilet flushing and other non potable activities such as gardening.

Passive solar design

The technology of heating and cooling a building naturally without the use of mechanical equipment.

Photovoltaic (pv)

The process of converting solar energy into electricity.

Rainwater harvesting

Energy generated from sources that do not require the use of exhaustible materials ie fossil fuels. Most planning authorities now look for 10% from a renewable source i.e. Wind turbines, Geo Thermals, Biomass, Photo-Voltaic cells etc

Renewable energy

Energy generated from sources that do not require the use of exhaustible materials ie fossil fuels. Most planning authorities now look for 10% from a renewable source i.e. Wind turbines, Geo Thermals, Biomass, Photo-Voltaic cells etc

Solar water heating

A system for heating water using energy from the sun.

SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems)

A method dealing with surface water drainage which dependant upon existing site conditions can control surface water run off rate, maintain or improve water quantity, provide an amenity for the local community, provide additional habitat for wildlife and provide ground water recharge

Sustainability

Encompasses environmental, economic and social issues for a development, including SUDS, Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Ecology etc

Trigeneration

Also known as combined heat, cooling and power (CHCP or CCHP). The production of useful power, heat, cooling from an energy plant. Where cooling is required CHP plant can be used to produce cooling.

Zero carbon

A measurement on an annual basis which determines the nett carbon emission from a building.