Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Green buzz words: what do they mean, really?

1. solar thermal energy (ste):
Solar "power" usually means converting the sun's rays (photons) to electricity. Sometimes called solar heating, STE, can be used to heat your home, water and even pool. It is a smart and passive way to take advantage of the sun’s energy by, capturing and storing heat to use during cooler periods.,

2. solar photovoltaic (pv):
From large rooftop panels to small disks on landscape lighting, PV cells convert sunlight into electric energy. Photons from sunlight knock electrons into a higher state of energy, creating electricity. Growing government support is making solar PV more cost-effective than ever.

3. geo-thermal:
(AKA) geoexchange systems or heat pumps, take advantage of the nearly constant temperature a few feet below the Earth to influence the temperature of your home. Spaces can be heated or cooled by burying tubes of refrigerant below the ground and forcing the transfer of heat (or cold) from them. Harnessing heat from geysers and other geothermal features also works, but only if you live near them.

4. leed certification:
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a rating and certification system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide consistent standards for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings.,,,

5. green points program:
This is an impressive example of a municipality pushing for change. Through this program the City of Boulder requires building permit seekers to use sustainable remodeling and building methods and technologies that conserve energy, water and other natural resources. Check for similar programs in your city or town.

6. zero-waste:
It means just that, no-waste from the products you buy and use. Products and packaging are being developed with reuse, recycling and composting in mind. When using or buying products, think about the entire lifecycle.

7. low/no voc:
VOC stands for “volatile organic compounds” which are a variety of chemicals that may cause short-and/or long-term adverse health effects, from temporary eye irritation to organ damage. Seek Low or No-VOC paints, finishes and materials when possible.

8. off-gassing:
Does that unmistakable "new house” or “new car” smell make you feel woozy? That's because many building materials, flooring, plastics, furnishings, paints, and clothing finishes offgas (or outgas) potentially hazardous chemicals, including VOCs. Offgassing abates as time goes on. Minimize your exposure by purchasing products marked no-VOC or low-VOC, and by airing out newly painted or carpeted rooms for a few days before settling in.

9. fsc certified:
Wood products that have been certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), come from forests that are sustainably managed – taking into account environmental impacts, economic and social concerns. Look for this certification when seeking wood products.

10. carbon footprint:
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). We do have control over this. 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. Take a carbon footprint assessment at

We help you create spaces that connect you to your joy. Our interior design services give your family beautiful eco-sensible spaces while minimizing the frustration of a typical home remodel. Unlike other interior designers, Invironments oversees the entire project for you - from concept to couches, hiring and managing the architect, contractor, painter and more.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Green ethics will continually become a greater and greater part of all our lives whether in the medium of construction or anything else. It’s great to see it embraced is such a positive manner. Please see for additional building materials. I hope this helps.