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AA and AAU - see Assigned Amount and Assigned Amount Units

AB 32 - (Assembly Bill 32), see Global Warming Solutions Act

A/R Projects - see Afforestation and Reforestation Project. 

Abaca - Abaca is a species of banana plant. Abaca's large leaves and stems are harvested for its fiber, and used in making clothing and textile goods. A sustainable alternative to cotton.

Abatement - Reduction in the quantity or intensity of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Accredited Independent Entity (AIE) - An entity accredited by the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee, responsible for the determination of whether a project meets the relevant requirements of Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol and the JI guidelines. Corresponds to DOE in the CDM context. 

Accreditation Panel (CDM AP) - Entity that prepares the decision-making of the CDM Executive Board in accordance with the procedure for accrediting operational entities. Adaptation fund Fund established in January 2002 (COP7, Marrakech) to help developing countries meet the cost of adaptation to climate change. The Fund is financed mainly with a share of proceeds (SOP) from clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities, see Adaptation Levy. At COP-14 in Poznan, the Parties agreed that the GEF (Global Environment Facility) acts as AF Secretariat and the World Bank as ”interim” trustee in charge of CER sales. The Poznan decision gives the Adaptation Fund Board permanent legal basis as an independent legal body, enabling it to enter into contracts and directly take project proposals, without having to go through implementing agencies, and to start disbursing the funds. The decision means that adaptation money can begin to flow at some point in 2009. The current amount of CERs in the AF’s coffers amounts to 4.5 million, i.e. a value of close to €60 million at current market prices. 

Acidic - A pH of 1.0 to 7.0.

Adaptation Levy - Levy to assist least developed countries (LDCs) through the Adaptation Fund to adapt to climate change. The levy, 2% of the certified emission reductions from the project, is imposed on all CDM projects except those implemented in LDCs. 

Additionality Principle - The principle that a project should only be able to earn credits if the GHG emission reductions produced by the project are additional to what would have happened in the absence of the carbon credit component. 

Additionality Tool - Guidelines elaborated by the CDM Executive Board to help assess whether a project is additional or not. 

Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments (AWG or AWG-KP) - Subsidiary body to the Kyoto Protocol, established by the COP-11/CMP-1 in 2005 to determine further commitments for Annex I countries for the period after the first round of Kyoto emission targets expire (2012). The work is required under Article 3.9 of the Kyoto Protocol. Full name is "Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex 1 parties under the Kyoto Protocol". The group includes the Annex I countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. 

Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-term cooperative action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) - Subsidiary body to the UNFCCC, established by the COP-13/CMP-3 in 2007 to produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol after 2012. The group includes all the countries that are members of the Convention. 

Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R) Projects - Afforestation and reforestation (A/R) projects involve the growing of forest on land that has not been forested for a period of at least 50 years (afforestation) or on non-forested land (reforestation) through planting, seeding and/or the promotion of natural seed sources. 

Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) - see Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

Air Pollution - Airborne contaminants or pollutants that adversely affect the environment or human health. A byproduct of the manufacturing process and transportation of goods. Buying eco-friendly products indirectly reduces air pollution.

Alkaline - A pH of 7.0 to 14.0.

Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) - Coalition of some 43 low-lying and small island countries that are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise. AOSIS countries were the first to propose a draft text during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations calling for cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of 20% from 1990 levels by 2005. 

Allocation - The distribution of allowances to participants in an emissions trading scheme or other entities. Allocation can be done for free or by selling the allowances (see auctioning). Principles for free allocation include grandfathering, benchmarking and projections. 

Allowance - Legally defined unit (EUAs, AAUs, RGAs, NZUs and others) that entitles the holder to emit one tonne of CO2e or another quantity of greenhouses gases. Also known as emission allowance or emission permit. See also European Union Allowance (EUA). 

Allium - A bulbous herb which is a member of the lily family (or the genus Allium), including chives, garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots.

Annex B Countries - Annex B countries are the 39 emissions-capped countries listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol. In practice, Annex I of the UNFCCC (see below) and Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol are often used interchangeably. 

Annex Z - Annex Z of Marrakesh Accords (COP7) defines the maximum amount of forest management credits each Annex I country can use to meet its Kyoto commitments. 

Annex I Countries - Include the industrialized OECD countries and countries with economies in transition listed in Annex I of the UNFCCC. Belarus and Turkey are listed in Annex I but not in Annex B; and Croatia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Slovenia are listed in Annex B but not in Annex I. In practice, however, Annex I of the UNFCCC and Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol are often used interchangeably. 

Annex II Countries - Annex II of the UNFCCC includes all original OECD member countries, but not the countries with economies in transition. Annex II countries are required to provide financial resources enabling developing countries to undertake emissions reductions. 

Antique - In furniture and home furnishings, a collectible piece typically should be at least 100 years old to be considered antique. Antiques help foster an appreciation for quality, durability, and longevity in design by presenting an alternative to the mentality of throwaway culture. See also Vintage.

Antimony - A metalloid chemical element (having properties of both a metal and a nonmetal).

Application Virtualization - Application Virtualization refers to the practice of delivering applications to end-users through a network from a central location.

Approved Consolidated Methodology (ACM) - Large-scale methodology to calculate emission reductions for a project, approved for use by the Executive Board of the CDM. Consolidated from a number of approved methodologies (AMs). 

Approved Methodology (AM) - Methodology approved by the CDM Executive Board to calculate emission reductions for a CDM project that is not small-scale and not an A/R project (see below). 

Artesian Well - A man-made spring from which water flows under natural pressure without pumping.

Aquaculture - The practice of farming seafood for human consumption.

Aquifer - An underground geological formation—often consisting of sandstone or limestone that stores and yields water and can be reached by wells for human consumption. Wells are dug to reach water stored in aquifers.

Asia-Pacific Partnership - International non-treaty agreement among Australia, India, Japan, the People's Republic of China, South Korea, and the United States announced 28 July, 2005. The Partnership aims to focus on investment and trade in cleaner energy technologies, goods and services in key market sectors. 

Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32) - see Global Warming Solutions Act

Assigned Amount (AA) and Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) - The assigned amount is the total volume of greenhouse gases that each Annex B country is allowed to emit during the first commitment period (see explanation below) of the Kyoto Protocol. An Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) is a tradable unit of 1 ton CO2e. 

Auctioning - Common term used for the sale of allowances, as opposed to allocating them for free. See also Allocation. 

Automotive Fuel Economy - Fuel economy in cars is important because carbon dioxide emissions are directly related to the amount of fuel burned. "Miles per gallon," or mpg, is the way most Americans measure fuel economy, while other countries may use liters of fuel per 100 km traveled. To measure your fuel economy, fill your tank and reset the odometer. At your next fill-up, divide the miles traveled by the amount of fuel needed to refill the tank.


Bacteria - Single-celled microorganisms.

Bali Action - Plan The document approved by consensus among the 187 countries at the UNFCCC COP in Bali on 15 December 2007. It sets an agenda for negotiators to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help developing countries adapt to environmental changes by speeding up the transfer of technology and financial assistance. The negotiating process is to be concluded by 2009 and is expected to lead to a post-2012 international agreement on climate change. Also known as Bali road map. 

Bamboo - An alternative to wood. Generally, bamboo is more renewable than wood because it is a fast-growing grass/reed. Care should still be taken when shopping for bamboo products because many cheaply made bamboo items are coated with toxic finishes. Look for natural, food-safe coatings for tabletop items, and certified organic bamboo labels.

Banking - The transfer of allowances or credits from one compliance period to the next. Parties to the Kyoto Protocol may bank as many AAUs they wish as long as they follow commitment period reserve rules, CERs corresponding to 2,5% of its target, and ERUs corresponding to 2,5% of its target, to use them in subsequent commitment periods. The EU ETS allows unlimited banking from the second compliance period (2008-12) onwards, but did not permit banking from the first to later periods. Also known as carry-over or hoarding. 

Baseline and Baseline Scenario - The baseline represents forecasted emissions under a business-as-usual (BAU; see explanation below) scenario, often referred to as the 'baseline scenario', i.e. expected emissions if the emission reduction activities were not implemented. 

Benchmarking - An allocation method in which allowances are distributed based on output (e.g. one allowance per MWh generated) or on intensity standards in the industry, based on best-performing companies. 

Benzene - A flammable solvent used to make many products, including detergents, nylon, paint, furniture wax, lacquer, resins, and oil (although its use in many other household products was banned in 1978).

Best Practice - A best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result. A commitment to using the best practices in any field is a commitment to using all the knowledge and technology at one's disposal to ensure success. The term is used frequently in the fields of health care, government administration, the education system, project management, hardware and software product development, and elsewhere.

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR) - BFRs are halogenated flame retardants containing bromine, and are used in products ranging from mattresses and cubicle curtains to pulse oximeters and foam packaging. Concerns relate to potential for BFRs to accumulate in fatty tissue and pose a risk to human health. BFRs are associated with several health effects in animal studies, including neurobehavioral toxicity and thyroid hormone disruption, for example.

Bio-Based Product - A product (other than food or feed) that is produced from renewable, agricultural (plant, animal and marine), or forestry materials.

Biodegradable - A material or substance which will decompose quickly and without harmful effects to the environment, when left exposed to nature.

Biodiesel - Biodiesel is non-petroleum-based diesel fuel derived from vegetable or animal fats. Ethanol is the most common form of biodiesel, based on corn in the US or sugar cane in Brazil, though other forms that utilize pig waste, algae or switchgrass are being developed. 

Biodiversity - Biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals.

Biofungicide - A fungicide derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.

Biomass - Living or recently-dead organic material that can be used as an energy source, excludes organic material that has been transformed by geological processes (such as coal or petroleum).

Biomimicry - A design discipline that studies nature’s elements, processes and designs and uses these ideas to imitate or design new solutions to human problems sustainably.

Bioinsecticide - An insecticide derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals.

Bird-Friendly - The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) encourages the production of shade grown coffee, and the conservation of migratory birds, through its Bird-Friendly® seal of approval

Bisphenol - A (BPA): A chemical building block used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Studies have linked BPA to hormone disruption, increased breast and prostate cancer cell growth, and early onset puberty, and obesity.

Blacksurfing - Blacksurfing is surfing search engine results using an inverted palette, with white text on a black body. Shifting a high traffic website, like Google, from a white background to a black background can save substantial energy. An all-white web page uses about 74 watts to display on a CRT monitor as compared to an all-black page that uses only 59 watts. See Blackle, an energy-saving search engine that uses Google's custom search. The efficacy of this practice is hotly debated, so be sure to consult Mark Ontkush's post on the topic before you suggest using it. 

Blade Server - A blade server is a stripped down server computer with a modular design optimized to minimize the use of physical space and energy. Whereas a standard rack-mount server can function with (at least) a power cord and network cable, blade servers have many components removed to save space, minimize power consumption and other considerations, while still having all the functional components to be considered a computer. A blade enclosure, which can hold multiple blade servers, provides services such as power, cooling, networking, various interconnects and management — though different blade providers have differing principles around what to include in the blade itself (and sometimes in the enclosure altogether). Together, blades and the blade enclosure form the blade system.

Blower Door Test - To determine a building’s air-tightness, an auditor will mount a powerful fan into an exterior doorframe to pull air out of the home. 

Borrowing - A mechanism under a cap and trade system that allows entities to use allowances designated for a future compliance period to meet current compliance period requirements. 

Bisphenol A (BPA) - BPA is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles according to the National Toxicology Program.

Brassicas - Members of the mustard family (of the genus Brassica) including brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and turnips.

BTU (British Thermal Unit) - A unit of energy used universally in the heating and cooling industries. It is defined as the unit of heat required to raise 1 pound of water by 1° F.

Bubble - Entity where two or more emission sources (for example, countries) are treated as if they were a single emission source. The European Union constitutes a bubble under the Kyoto Protocol. 

Bundle - Bundling signifies the bringing together of several CDM project activities, to form a single project to reduce CDM-related transaction costs. 

Building-Related Illness (BRI) - occurs when a building’s occupants exhibit illnesses such as dry, irritated eyes, nose, throat, and skin; fatigue; shortness of breath, coughing, and sneezing; dizziness and nausea; as well as headache and sinus congestion. Also know as: Sick Building Syndrome (SBS); Tight Building Syndrome (TBS); Internal Air Quality (IAQ); Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS).

Business As Usual Scenario (BAU) - A business as usual scenario is a policy neutral reference case of future emissions, i.e. projections of future emission levels in the absence of changes in current policies, economics and technology. 


California Air Resources Board (CARB) - Agency established by California's legislature in 1967 to attain and maintain healthy air quality, conduct research into the causes of and solutions to air pollution, and systematically attack the serious problem caused by motor vehicles. CARB is the chief implementing agency for Assembly Bill 32 (AB32). 

California Climate Action Registry (CCAR) - A non-profit voluntary registry for greenhouse gas emissions in California and the official registry for AB32. The purpose of the Registry is to help companies and organizations with operations in the state to establish GHG emission baselines against which any future GHG emission reduction requirements may be applied. 

Cap and Trade - A design for emissions trading systems under which total emissions are limited or 'capped'. Tradable emission allowances corresponding to the total allowed emission volume are allocated to participants for free or through auctioning. Contrasts with baseline-and-credit approaches where only deviations from a baseline are tradable. Examples are the EU ETS, international emissions trading under the Kyoto Protocol and the proposed emissions trading scheme in Australia (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme). 

CAR - see Corrective Action Request 

Carbon Baseline - An amount of CO2 produced by an entity which serves as a begining point for carbon management.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) - Process consisting of the separation of CO2 from industrial and energy-related sources, transport to a storage location and long-term isolation from the atmosphere. CO2 may be stored under ground in old oil and gas fields, non commercial coal fields and saline aquifers. It may also be injected into the ocean. Also known as carbon capture and geological storage (CCGS). 

Carbon Credit - A Carbon Credit is a generic term meaning that a value has been assigned to a reduction or offset of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon credits and markets are key components of national and international attempts to mitigate the growth in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). One carbon credit is equal to one ton of carbon dioxide, or in some markets, carbon dioxide equivalent gases. Carbon trading is an application of an emissions trading approach. Greenhouse gas emissions are capped and then markets are used to allocate the emissions among the group of regulated sources. The goal is to allow market mechanisms to drive industrial and commercial processes in the direction of low emissions or less carbon intensive approaches than those used when there is no cost to emitting carbon dioxide and other GHGs into the atmosphere. Since GHG mitigation projects generate credits, this approach can be used to finance carbon reduction schemes between trading partners and around the world.

Carbon Credit Note - A fully underwritten obligation (in the form of a note or bond) to deliver a carbon credit (Certified Emission Reduction) to the purchaser at a specified future date. 

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) - The CDP is a popular sustainability reporting standard.  Its governing organisation based in the United Kingdom.  They work with shareholders and corporations to gather, track and disclose the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of major corporations.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) - Measurement unit used to indicate the global warming potential (GWP) of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured. See Global Warming Potential for conversion rates. 

Carbon Emission Factor (CEF) - Amount of CO2 released per unit of energy produced. 

Carbon Footprint - The total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full lifecycle of a product or service, expressed as grams of CO2 equivalents. Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and climate change, so reducing carbon footprints is desirable for a healthier earth.

Carbon Impact - An net amount of CO2 produced by an entity before the application of offsets.

Carbon Leakage - Carbon leakage occurs when production of goods is moved to countries with less strict climate policy (e.g. India and China) than the original country (e.g. EU). 

Carbon Monoxide - A colorless, odorless gas released into the air by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. At high concentrations this gas can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, confusion, and disorientation in healthy people. The symptoms are sometimes confused with the flu or food poisoning.

Carbon Neutral - To be carbon neutral is to balance the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by a particular activity, like flying, driving or operating a data center, with an equal amount of carbon sequestration or carbon offsets from a third party. To be considered carbon neutral, an individual or organization must reduce its carbon footprint to zero. 

Carbon Neutrality - The practice of purchasing and retiring emission credits or allowances corresponding to the amount of GHG emissions from for instance an activity, company or country. 

Carbon Offset - Carbon offsetting is the act of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through emissions trading. For example, a factory or production facility may not be able to reduce its own carbon footprint any further through its own actions, so it may voluntarily purchase credits for another party to offset their actions. The goal of carbon offsets is to attain a carbon neutral overall effect.

Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) - Name of the planned federal emissions trading scheme in Australia. Schedules to start on 1 July 2010. 

Carbon Sequestration - The process by which carbon is captured (in the form of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and incorporated into soil, ocean, and plant matter.

Carbon Sink - Natural or human-made systems that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store them. Forests are the most common form of sink, in addition to soils, peat, permafrost, ocean water and carbonate deposits in the deep ocean. 

Carbon Trading - see Emission Trading. 

Caulking - A sealing compound used to fill seams and patch small air leaks. 

CCS - see Carbon Capture and Storage. 

CDM - see Clean Development Mechanism. 

CDP - see Carbon Disclosure Project

CDM EB - Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board. 

CDM Registry - System of accounts into which the CDM EB issues CERs from registered CDM project activities (CDM Registry). 

CER - see Carbon Emission Factor

Certification - A process by which a GHG reduction project is audited by a government agency or independent authority to determine that it meets established criteria. For instance, the act of approving emission reductions from a carbon project and issue emission reduction credits to the entity that owns the rights to the project credits. 

Certified - Acknowledging that a product is genuine to what it claims, typically having gone through a process similar to obtaining a license.

Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) - CERs are permits generated through the CDM. It can be used to meet an Annex B Party’s emission commitment or as the unit of trade in GHG emissions trading systems. 

Certified Organic - US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling,
and labeling standards for organic agricultural products.

Certified Wood - Under the guidance of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), wood-based materials used in building construction that are supplied from sources that comply with sustainable forestry practices, protecting trees, wildlife habitat, streams and soil.

CERs - see Certified Emission Reductions. 

CGO - A CGO is a Chief Green Officer. A CGO is tasked with all aspects of making an organization greener, including energy-efficient construction, e-cycling and e-waste mitigation, recycling, LEED compliance, OSHA standards and clean production, if applicable. 

Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) - Voluntary cap-and-trade scheme that started trading in 2003. Members make a voluntary commitment to reduce GHG emissions. Among the members are companies from North America, municipalities, US states, universities. The CCX also certifies and trades offset credits under its own standard. 

Chinese Price Floor - The Chinese DNA approves only CDM projects that are contracted above a defined price level. The price level required depends on the project type. 

Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) - A haloalkane compound containing chlorine, primarily used as a refrigerant. When this gaseous compound reaches the stratosphere, UV light liberates the chlorine from the molecule and it is then capable of breaking down up to 100,000 ozone molecules (O3) into O + O2. Freon is a trademarked term referring to CFCs used in refrigeration and cooling systems.

CHP - see Combined Heat and Power

CITL - see Community Independent Transaction Log. 

Clarification Request (CL) - A request made by the DOE to project participants during validation or verification if they have provided insufficient or unclear information. Clarification requests can only be resolved if the project participants modify the project design or provide additional explanations that satisfy the CDM requirements. Until the CLs are resolved, the DOE cannot recommend the project activity for registration or issuance. The DOE must report on any CLs raised in the validation and verification reports. 

Clean Air Act (CAA) - A piece of United States federal legislation first passed in 1963 relating to the reduction of smog and air pollution in general. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 proposed emissions trading, added provisions for addressing acid rain, ozone depletion and toxic air pollution, established a national permits program. The CAA provides grounds for the EPA to regulate GHG emissions. 

Clean Computing - Clean computing is when an organization's manufacture, use and disposal of IT equipment does not produce any harmful waste at any stage. Non-hazardous materials are used in chip construction and packaging. 

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) - The CDM is a mechanism for project-based emission reduction activities in developing countries (non-Annex B countries). Carbon credits (CERs) are generated from projects that lead to certifiable emissions reductions that would otherwise not occur. 

Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board (CDM EB) - Body that registers validated project activities as CDM projects, issues certified emission reductions (CERs) to relevant projects participants, and manages series of technical panels and working groups meetings (see Methodologies Panel). The CDM EB is accountable to the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM EB meets six to seven times a year. 

Cleaning Service Provider - An organization or service within an organization that provides cleaning services to commercial or institutional building owners and operators, including both in-house and external providers.

Clear Skies Act (Clear Skies Initiative) - Establishes in the United States federally enforceable emissions limits (or "caps") for three pollutants - SO2, NOx, and mercury for a period of 2008-2018. Clear Skies' NOx and SO2 requirements affect all fossil fuel-fired electric generators greater than 25 megawatts (MW) that sell electricity. 

Clerestory - A row of windows above eye level, which provide natural light without distracting views or loss of privacy.

Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB Standard) - A certification standard for credits from land-use and forestry carbon mitigation projects. The standard rewards projects that simultaneously address climate change, support local communities and conserve biodiversity. The standard helps mitigating risk for investors and increases funding opportunities for project developers. 

The Climate Registry (TCR) - A collaboration between states and provinces in the United States, Canada, and Mexico aimed at developing and managing a common GHG emissions reporting system. The registry supports various greenhouse gas emission reporting and reduction policies for its member states and reporting entities. TCR hopes to become the national standard under a US federal cap and trade scheme. 

Climate Leaders Calculator - EPA’s Inventory Calculator for Low Emitters (MS Excel) is a multi-page spreadsheet to record inventory data for each emissions
source type.

Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI) - an effort to reduce the electric power consumption of PCs in active and inactive states. The CSCI provides a catalog of green products from its member organizations, and information for reducing PC power consumption. It was started on 2007-06-12. The name stems from the World Wildlife Fund's Climate Savers program, which was launched in 1999. The WWF is also a member of the Computing Initiative.

Climate Security Act (CSA) - Legislation proposed in the US Senate in October 2007 by Senators Lieberman and Warner. It failed to break the filibuster in the Senate in June 2008. The bill would introduce a federal cap-and-trade scheme from 2012 onwards and reduce GHG emissions by 70% below current levels by 2050. 

Closed-Loop Recycling - The process of utilizing a recycled product in the manufacturing of a similar product or the remanufacturing of the same product.

Coal Mine Methane/Coalbed Methane - Coalbed methane is methane contained in coal seams, and is often referred to as virgin coalbed methane, or coal seam gas. Coal mine methane is the subset of coalbed methane that is released during the process of coal mining. 

Code of Conduct - A code of conduct is a set of organizational rules or standards regarding organizational values, beliefs, and ethics, as well as matters of legal compliance that govern the conduct of the organization and its members.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) - CHP is an approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source.

Commitment Period - The five-year Kyoto Protocol Commitment Period is scheduled to run from calendar year 2008 to calendar year-end 2012. 

Commitment Period Reserve - To avoid "over-sell" and thus non-compliance with targets, Annex B Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must hold a minimum level, corresponding to 90% of assigned amount volume, of AAUs, CERs, ERUs and/or RMUs in a commitment period reserve that cannot be traded. 

Community Independent Transaction Log (CITL) - Registry recording the issue, transfer and cancellation of allowances within the European Union emissions trading scheme. 

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL) - A CFL is a fluorescent light bulb that has been compressed into the size of a standard-issue incandescent light bulb. Modern CFLs typically last at least six times as long and use at most a quarter of the power of an equivalent incandescent bulb. According to Arthur Rosenfeld, a physicist and member of the California Energy Commission, "If every home in the United States replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), the energy saved would prevent greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to taking more than 1 million cars off the road." (Boston Globe)

Compliance - The act, specific to cap-and trade schemes, of surrendering the required amount of allowances, or some combination of allowances and offsets, to cover an entity’s emissions. Achievement by a Party in meeting its quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Compost - A mixture of decayed organic matter that is used for fertilizing and conditioning soil.

Concentrate - A product that must be substantially diluted with water to form the appropriate solution for use (typically at least 1:8, or as appropriate for the particular product category).

Conference of the Parties (COP) - The COP is the supreme body of the UNFCCC. It meets once a year to review the progress. COP-11 took place in Montreal, Canada in November/December 2005 and was also the first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP-1). COP-12 was held in Nairobi in November 2006 and COP-13 in December 2007 in Bali. COP-14 will be in Poznan, Poland in late 2008, while COP-15 takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark in late 2009. 

Construction Waste Management Plan (CWMP) - A plan that diverts construction debris from landfills through conscientious plans to recycle, salvage, and reuse. For best results, this type of plan should also eliminate packaging of materials when possible and be carefully monitored or audited by the contractor.

Co-Op - Short for Co-operative. Worker cooperatives are owned and democratically controlled by its workers. Since the co-op is worker-owned and membership is not compulsory, this type of manufacturing set-up avoids exploitation of its workers.

Co-Op America - A non-profit consumer organization that promotes a socially and economically just society by harnessing the economic power of consumers, investors, and businesses.
Cottage Industry: An industry in which the creation and services of products is home based and not factory based. The products produced are often independent, and one of a kind and not mass produced.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) - Corporate social responsibility is a business approach that contributes to sustainable development by delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. CSR is a concept with many definitions and practices.

Corrective Action Request (CAR) - A request raised by the Designated Operational Entity (DOE) during the validation process, in the case where a mistake has been made, the CDM requirements have not been met or there is a risk the emissions cannot be monitored or calculated. The DOE can also raise a Corrective Action Request during verification, if it finds non-conformities with monitoring requirements, mistakes in the emissions reductions calculations, or if Forward Action Requests raised during validation have not been resolved. All Corrective Action Requests have to be resolved before the DOE recommends the project activity for registration or issuance. 

Countries with Economies in Transition (EIT) - Fourteen Annex I countries that include some Central and East European countries and former republics of the Soviet Union that are in transition from centrally-planned economies to market-based economies. 

CPRS - see Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme 

Cradle-to-Cradle - A design philosophy put forth by architect William McDonough that considers the life-cycle of a material or product. Cradle-to-Cradle design models human industry on nature's processes, in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy metabolisms.

Credit Limit - Limit on the use of CERs/ERUs for compliance by the companies under EU ETS. It is expressed as a maximum share of the total allocation. 

Crediting Period - The crediting period is the duration for which a project generates carbon credits. The crediting period shall not extend beyond the operational lifetime of the project. For CDM projects crediting period continues either a 7-year period, which can be renewed twice to make a total of 21 years, or a one-off 10-year period; for JI projects crediting period overlaps with the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012). Crop Rotation - The practice of growing different crops in succession on the same land chiefly to preserve the productive capacity of the soil.

CRI - Carpet and Rug Institute

CSP - see Cleaning Service Provider

CSR - see Corporate and Social Responsibility

Curtain-Wall - A non-load bearing wall, often made of aluminum and glass, on the exterior of a building. These walls prevent moisture and air from entering the building, but allow lots of light through transparent, translucent, or opaque glass.


Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCIE) - DCIE is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. Like power usage effectiveness (PUE), the reciprocal of DCIE, the metric is calculated by dividing the amount of power entering a facility to the amount of power used by the equipment within it. Unlike PUE, DCIE is expressed as a percentage. A data center's DCIE therefore improves as it approaches 100%. The metric was created by members of The Green Grid.

Data De-Duplication - Data De-duplication is the process of identifying and consolidating duplication of files (identicle files saved at multiple locations) on a network.

DDE - A breakdown product of the once-common pesticide DDT, which was banned in the US in 1972 but still enters the environment through use in other countries where it isn't banned. Human exposure comes from eating contaminated leafy and root vegetables, fatty meat, poultry, and fish.

Deforestation - The conversion of forested land to other non-forested uses by the removal and destruction of trees and habitat. Deforestation is cited as one of the major contributors to global warming.

DEHP - Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or DEHP is a plasticizer used to make PVC medical devices soft and flexible. Concerns relate to its ability to leach out of PVC medical devices and potentially impact vulnerable patient populations, particularly male neonates in a neonatal intensive care setting, according to a Public Health Notification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Degaussing - The process of removing magnetization from a storage medium, which removes the stored data.

Delete - To wipe out digitally or magnetically recorded information.

Dematerialization - The reduction of mass in a product that does not diminish quality or intended service for the consumer.

Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) – The Blue Angel is the first and oldest environment-related label for products and services in the world. It was created in 1978 on the initiative of the Federal Minister of the Interior and approved by the Ministers of the Environment of the federal government and the federal states. It considers itself as a market-conform instrument of environmental policy designed to distinguish the positive environmental features of products and services on a voluntary basis.

Desktop Virtualization - Desktop virtualization refers to the practice of delivering virtual 'desktops' through a computer network which mimic in appearance and functionality to desktops found on stand-alone PCs.

Designated National Authority (DNA) - The official body representing the government of the host country for CDM/JI projects. For JI host countries, the national authority approves the projects and issues the emission reduction units (ERUs). For CDM host countries, the designated national authority issues a non-objection letter necessary for the project approval, if it agrees that a project is in line with its sustainable development objectives. The DNA also issues the Letter of Approval (LoA) needed for the registration of a CDM project. A project will need both a host country approval as well as investor country approval. 

Designated Operational Entity (DOE) - see also Accredited Independent Entity (AIE). A domestic legal entity or an international organization accredited and designated by the CDM EB. The DOE validates and requests registration of a proposed CDM projects activity as well as verifies emission reductions of a registered CDM project activity. 

Design for the Environment (DFE) - A philosophy applied to the design process that advocates the reduction of environmental and human health impacts through materials selection and design strategies.

Determination - see also Validation and Verification. The process of independent evaluation of a JI project by an Accredited Independent Entity whether the Project Design Document (PDD) fulfill all requirements to JI projects under Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol and the JI guidelines. Determinations of reductions in anthropogenic emissions by sources or enhancements of anthropogenic removals by sinks pursuant to paragraph 37 of the JI guidelines are also referred to as verifications as for JI projects. 

Determination and Verification Manual (DVM) - Document being considered by the JISC (Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee), which would serve as a practical reference for independent entities operating under the JI mechanism. 

Dieldrin - An insecticide, widely used on crops from 1950 to 1970. It was used to control termites until 1987, when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all uses. Exposure to dieldrin occurs through eating contaminated foods such as fish, root crops, and dairy products. Build up of dieldrin in the human body can lead to nervous system disorders.

Dioxins - A family of toxic made-man organic chemicals, found in products such as bleached paper and formed from the burning and manufacturing of chemicals containing chlorine, with a toxicity level ranking just below radioactive waste.

Direct Mail - The term used by direct marketers to describe the practice of sending large amounts of marketing and advertising materials to the public.

Disinfect - A process for hard inanimate surfaces undertaken to destroy or irreversibly inactivate infectious fungi and bacteria, but not necessarily their spores.

Distillation - Distillation turns water into a vapor. Since minerals are too heavy to vaporize, they're left behind, and the vapors are condensed into water again.

Dolomitic Limestone - Ground limestone (calcium carbonate) that also contains magnesium.

Domestic Project - In the JI context, project developed in the absence of another Annex 1 Party participant. 

Dot Green - Dot green is a shorthand way of describing the online green computing movement, including both hype and real innovation. The dot-green movement is considered to follow the dot-com boom model, with the same bubble of speculators profiting from the buzz. (Bruce Sterling)

Double Counting - Potential problem with JI projects in sectors covered by the EU ETS. See also JI reserve. 

Double-Hung Windows - The two sashes on these windows both slide vertically. On single-hung windows, only the bottom sash slides upward. Both single- and double-hung windows tend to experience more air leakage compared to projecting or hinged windows.

Downstream Cap - A "downstream" cap and trade system is one in which where the entities emitting carbon dioxide are required to surrender allowances (also see: upstream cap). 

Drip Irrigation - Irrigation systems that have emitters which water individual plants.

Durability - Related to the quality of an item, durability indicated how well a product stands up after a sustained period of use.

Durable Goods - Goods, such as appliances and furniture, that are not consumed in use and can be used for a period of time, usually several years.

Duplex Printing - Printing on both sides of a sheet of paper.

DVM - see Determination and Verification Manual


E-cycling - E-cycling is the practice of reusing, or distributing for reuse, electronic equipment and components rather than discarding them at the end of their life cycle. Often, even non-functioning devices can be refurbished and resold or donated. Organizations such as Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT), the National Cristina Foundation, and the Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) collect and refurbish donated computer equipment for redistribution to schools and charities around the world.

E-waste - E-waste is any refuse created by discarded electronic devices and components as well as substances involved in their manufacture or use. The disposal of electronics is a growing problem because electronic equipment frequently contains hazardous substances. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than four million tons of e-waste go to U.S. landfills each year.

E-Tag - see NERC E-Tag

Early Crediting - Early credits have been given to CDM projects whose start date was between 1 Jan 2000 (the starting point for CDM) and 18 November 2004 (when the first project was registered), as long as they submitted their project documentation within end March 2007. The reason for this was the wish to give projects in developing countries a kickstart. A CDM project activity that has already started can still be registered if it can prove it took CDM into account when starting, but it will only receive CERs from the date it is registered. Afforestation/reforestation projects starting 2000 onwards can accrue tCERs/lCERs from the project start date as long as their start date is identical with the crediting period start date. 

ECM - see Enterprise Content Management.

Eco-Chic - A product or good that is both eco-friendly and hip.

Eco-Friendly - An alternative to goods usually bought in most stores. These products are made with ecology and the environment in mind.

EcoLogo - Third party certification program based in Canada that certifies cleaning products (among other product categories).

Ecometrics - Interface’s quantification of the company’s environmental performance over time. Ecometrics measures materials and energy inputs and outputs for use in benchmarking and monitoring environmental progress.

Economizer - An economizer is a mechanical device used to reduce energy consumption. Economizers are commonly used in data centers to complement or replace cooling devices like computer room air conditioners (CRACs) or chillers. Economizers can save money data center operators money by taking advantage of cooler outside temperatures to cool IT equipment inside a facility. According to GreenerComputing.org, economization has the potential to reduce annual cooling energy consumption costs by more than 60 percent. Unfortunately, economizers are only useful for data centers located in cooler climates. 

Ecosystem - A place having unique physical features, encompassing air, water, and land, and habitats supporting plant and animal life, including humans.

EDRM - see Electronic Records Management.

EIA - Environmental Impact Assessment

EIT - see Countries with Economies in Transition 

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) - EDI is the structured transmission of data between organizations by electronic means. It is used to transfer electronic documents from one computer system to another, i.e. from one trading partner to another trading partner.

Electronic Discovery (or e-discovery) - E-Discovery refers to discovery in civil litigation which deals with information in electronic format also referred to as Electronically Stored Information (ESI).

Electronic Records Management (ERM or EDRM) - An Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRM) is a computer program (or set of programs) used to track and store records. The term is distinguished from imaging and document management systems that specialize in paper capture and document management respectively.

Eligibility Requirements - Conditions for being able to trade AAUs and ERUs under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol. There are six eligibility requirements for participating in emissions trading for Annex I Parties: (i) being a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, (ii) having calculated and recorded one’s Assigned Amount, (iii) having in place a national system for inventory, (iv) having in place a national registry, (v) having submitted an annual inventory and (vi) submit supplementary information on assigned amount. An Annex I party will automatically become eligible after 16 months of the submission of its report on calculation of its assigned amount. 

Emissions - Emissions are particles and gases released into the air as byproducts. There are many types of emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions, for example, contribute to global warming and is not sustainable to the health of the earth.

Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) - Binding purchase agreement signed between buyer of CERs or ERUs - or other emission reduction credits - and seller. See primary market. 

Emissions Reductions (ERs) - Emissions reductions generated by a project that have not undergone a validation/verification process, but are contracted for purchase.

Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) or Carbon Offset - An emission reduction credit represents avoided or reduced emissions often measured in tons. ERCs are generated from projects or activities that reduce or avoid emissions. A carbon offset refers to a specific type of ERC that represents an activity that avoids or reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. 

Emission Reduction Unit (ERU) - Permits achieved through a Joint Implementation project. 

Emissions to Cap (E-t-C) - Emissions-to-cap (E-t-C), also called Gap-to-cap, is calculated by subtracting the seasonally adjusted cap from emissions (actual or forecasted). This metric gives an indication of whether the market (for a specific period) is producing more or less than the seasonally adjusted cap for that same period. More specifically, if not taking CERs into account, a positive (negative) E-t-C means that the market is fundamentally short (long), suggesting a buy (sell) signal. 

Employee Handbook - An employee handbook is a company document that establishes the rules of conduct for your employees, ensuring a safe, healthy, and positive work environment for everyone. Putting policies in writing makes it easier to resolve problems as they come up, and to help protect both the business and employees. 

Energy Efficient - Products and systems that use less energy to perform as well or better than standard products. While energy-efficient products sometimes have higher up-front costs, they tend to cost less over their lifetime when the cost of energy consumed is factored in. An example of this is fluorescent light bulbs vs. incandescent bulbs.

Energy Efficiency Credit (EEC) - An EEC, also referred to as a white certificate, Energy Savings Certificate (ESC), or white tag, is an instrument issued by an authorized body guaranteeing that a specified amount of energy savings has been achieved. Each certificate is a unique and traceable commodity carrying a property right over a certain amount of additional energy savings and guaranteeing that the benefit of these savings has not been accounted for elsewhere.

Energy Management System (EMS) - An energy management system (EMS) is a system of computer-aided tools used by operators of electric utility grids to monitor, control, and optimize the performance of the generation and/or transmission system. The monitor and control functions are known as SCADA; the optimization packages are often referred to as "advanced applications".

Energy Savings Certificate (ESC) - An ESC, also referred to as a white certificate, Energy Efficiency Credit (EEC), or white tag, is an instrument issued by an authorized body guaranteeing that a specified amount of energy savings has been achieved. Each certificate is a unique and traceable commodity carrying a property right over a certain amount of additional energy savings and guaranteeing that the benefit of these savings has not been accounted for elsewhere.

Energy Saving Trust Recommended (UK) - Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation jointly funded by the British Government and the private sector in order to help fight climate change by promoting the sustainable use of energy, energy conservation and to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom.

Energy Star - Energy Star is a government-backed labeling program that helps people and organizations save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by identifying factories, office equipment, home appliances and electronics that have superior energy efficiency. The EPA estimates that if every U.S. household and business replaced old computers with new Energy Star-qualified models, more than $1.8 billion in energy costs would be saved over the next five years, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than those produced by 2.7 million cars.

Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager - An interactive energy management tool that allows one to track and assess energy and water consumption across an entire portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment.

Enterprise Contenet Management (ECM) - Enterprise content management is the technologies used to Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve, and Deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) - This is an assessment of the possible impact— both positive and negative—that a proposed project may have on the natural environment. This procedure ensures that environmental consequences of projects are identified before authorisation is given. The rules for an Environmental Impact Assessment vary from country to country. The EU has established a mix of mandatory and discretionary procedures to assess environmental impacts, which are set out in the EIA Directive. 

Environmentally Preferable Product - A product certified as such by a Type 1 (i.e., third-party) environmental label that was developed in accordance with the ISO 14024 Environmental Labeling Standard. Alternatively, a product may be designated as environmentally preferable by an established and legitimate, nationally-recognized program developed with the purpose of identifying environmentally preferable products. The program must not have any financial interest or stake in sales of the product, or other conflict of interest. Such designation must be based on consideration of human health and safety, ecological toxicity, other environmental impacts, and resource conservation, as appropriate, for the product and its packaging, on a life cycle basis. Product criteria must distinguish market leadership for that product category, and be publicly available and transparent.

EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) - EPEAT is a ranking system that helps purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. (EPEAT.net (EPEAT, green laptops and tablets)

EPP Certification - Process by which products or services are certified as Environmentally Preferred Products (EPPs). The certification addresses all stages of the product’s/service’s life-cycle, incorporates key environmental and human health issues relevant to the category, and undergoes outside stakeholder review.

ERM - see Electronic Records Management.

ERU - see Emission Reduction Unit. 

EtO - Ethylene Oxide or EtO is used as a sterilant for certain medical equipment and supplies. According to OSHA, EtO is both flammable and highly reactive. Acute exposures to EtO gas may result in respiratory irritation and lung injury, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and cyanosis. Chronic exposure has been associated with the occurrence
of cancer, reproductive effects, mutagenic changes, neurotoxicity, and sensitization.

EU Ecolable Scheme - The European Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme, established in 1992 to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment. Products and services awarded the Ecolabel carry the flower logo, allowing consumers - including public and private purchasers - to identify them easily. Today the EU Ecolabel covers a wide range of products and services, with further groups being continuously added. Product groups include cleaning products, appliances, paper products, textile and home and garden products, lubricants and services such as tourist accommodation.

EU ETS - see European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. 

European Union Allowances (EUA) - EU Allowances, the tradable unit under the EU ETS. Each allowance equals 1 tonne of CO2. EUAs are bankable from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of the EU ETS. 

European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) - Trading Scheme within the European Union, which was launched on January 1, 2005. The scheme is based on Directive 2003/87/EC, which entered into force on 25 October 2003. The Phase I (2005 - 2007) has received much criticism due to oversupply of allowances and the distribution method of allowances (via grandfathering rather than auctioning), Phase II (2008-2012) links the ETS to other countries participating in the Kyoto trading system. In Phase III, the share of auctioning will increase. In 2013 at least 50 percent of the total amount of allowances will be auctioned, and this share will increase, as free allocation (grandfathering) will be phased out towards 2020. 

Ewaste - E-waste is any refuse created by discarded electronic devices and components as well as substances involved in their manufacture or use. The disposal of electronics is a growing problem because electronic equipment frequently contains hazardous substances. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than four million tons of e-waste go to U.S. landfills each year.


Fair Trade - A social movement that promotes standards for international labor and gives workers a sense of economic self sufficiency through fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged populations.

Fair Trade Certified - The Fair Trade Certified™ label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product.

Fair Trade Federation (FTF) - And association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers and producers that adhere to social criteria and environmental principles that foster a more equitable and sustainable system of production and trade.

FAR - see Forward Action Request

Flat-Pack - Refers to furniture that is designed to pack flat, thereby reducing shipping costs and fuel used in transportation. Flat-pack designs are ready to assemble by the customer, right out of the box.

Flexible Mechanisms - Under the Kyoto Protocol, a collective term for International Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation. 

Food Irradiation - The use of radioactive waste to eliminate bacteria and extend the shelf life of various food products. 

Foot-Candle - A gauge of light intensity measured in lumens per square foot, or the amount of light actually falling on a given surface.

Forestry Stewardship Council - The Forestry Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. FSC-labeled wood products indicate that the wood is harvested from sustainably-managed forests.

Formaldehyde - A flammable reactive gas belonging to the VOC (volatile organic compound) family of chemicals. It is widely used in personal care products, building materials, insulation, and home furnishings. Ingestion of the chemical can cause severe physical reactions, including coma, internal bleeding, and death. It a probable human carcinogen.

Forward Action Request (FAR) - A request raised by the DOE during validation, which indentifies issues related to project implementation that require review during the first verification of the project activity. The DOE must report on the FARs in the validation report. If the issues raised in the FAR have not been resolved at the first verification, the DOE must make a Corrective Action Request. 

Fossil Fuel - Any petroleum-based fuel source such as gasoline, natural gas, fuel oil, etc.

Fuel Switching - The process of moving from a higher carbon content fuel, such as coal, to a lower carbon content fuel, such as natural gas, in power generation and industrial process for purposes of reducing carbon emissions. 

Fungicide - An agent that kills fungi.

Fungus - An organism which produces spores and cannot manufacture chlorophyll, including molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, mushrooms, and yeast.

Furnishings - Office furniture and accessories, including carpets and curtains.


Geoengineering - Geoengineering is the deliberate modification of a planet's environment by the addition or subtraction of a resource or energy input on a massive scale. Proposed geoengineering projects, often introduced as a means of combating climate change, have included space mirrors, sulfur-spraying in the stratosphere, cloud seeding and oceanic carbon sequestration.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) - A GMO results from merging the genetic make-up of two organisms to create a desired byproduct that could otherwise not be found in nature. Engineering GMOs is a common practice in conventional farming, and studies have shown that GMOs pose significant environmental risks such as killing off living, natural organisms and becoming immune to pesticides. 

GHG - see Greenhouse Gasses

GHG Protocol Corporate Standard - The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard provides standards and guidance for companies and other organizations preparing a GHG emissions inventory. It covers the accounting and reporting of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, and is designed to simplify and reduce the costs of compiling a GHG inventory while increasing consistency and transparency in GHG accounting and reporting.

Global Environment Facility (GEF) - A global partnership among 178 countries, international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while financing national sustainable development initiatives. 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) - GRI is an international independent organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others. 

Global Warming - This refers to a specific type of climate change, an increased warming of the Earth’s atmosphere caused by the buildup of man-made gases that trap the sun’s heat, causing changes in weather patterns and other effects on a global scale. These effects include global sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns and frequency, habitat loss and droughts.

Global Warming Potential (GWP) - The global warming potential is the impact a greenhouse gas (GHG) has on global warming. By definition, CO2 is used as reference case, hence it always has the GWP of 1. GWP changes with time, and the IPCC has suggested using 100-year GWP for comparison purposes. Below is a list of 100-year GWPs used in the Kyoto Protocol for the six Kyoto gases: 

Carbon dioxide (CO2) GWP: 1
Methane (CH4) GWP: 21
Nitrous oxide (N2O) GWP: 310
Hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs) GWP: GWP: 150 – 11 700
Perfluorcarbons (PFCs) GWP: 6500 – 9 200
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) GWP: 23 900

Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - The California law that sets up the first enforceable state-wide program in the U.S. to cap all greenhouse gas emissions from major industries. The law requires that by 2020 the state's greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels. Also known as Assembly Bill 32 or AB32. 

Going Green - A phrase referring to individual action that a person can consciously take to curb harmful effects on the environment through consumer habits, behavior, and lifestyle.

Gold Standard - The Gold Standard for CDM projects was launched in 2003 after a wide-ranging stakeholder consultation among key actors of the carbon market as well as governments. It offers project developers a tool with which they can ensure that CDM, JI and VER projects have real environmental benefits and, in so doing, give confidence to host countries and the public that projects represent new and additional investments in sustainable energy services. Eligible project types are renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

Good Design - A phrase often associated with ideals of Modern Design. Good design traditionally sought to maximize function with form and strived to produce high-quality goods that were democratically available to the masses. 

Grandfathering - see also Allocation. Method for allocation of emissions credits/allowances to companies or other legal entities, usually free of charge, on the basis of their historic emissions. Grandfathering has been the main allocation method in Phase I and II of EU ETS. 

Grazing Land Management - The system of practices on land used for livestock production aimed at manipulating the amount and type of vegetation and livestock produced. 

Green Building - A green building is designed to conserve resources and reduce negative impacts on the environment - whether it is energy, water, building materials or land. Compared to conventional construction, green buildings may use one or more renewable energy systems for heating and cooling, such as solar electric, solar hot water, geothermal, bio mass, or any combination of these.

Green Cleaning - Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of products which contain toxic chemicals, some of which emit volatile organic compounds causing respiratory, dermatological and other conditions. Green cleaning can also describe the way residential and industrial cleaning products are manufactured, packaged and distributed. If the manufacturing process is environmentally friendly and the products are biodegradable, then the term "green" or "eco-friendly" may apply.

Green Collar - Green collar is any kind of employment that involves products or services that are environmentally friendly. Presidential candidates in the 2008 election cycle have endorsed the creation of green collar jobs to boost the economy, like "solar panel installation, weatherizing homes, brewing biofuels, building hybrid cars and erecting giant wind turbines." (Green collar jobs at NYTimes.com)

Green Computing - Green computing is the environmentally responsible use of computers and related resources. Such practices include the implementation of energy-efficient central processing units (CPUs), servers and peripherals as well as reduced resource consumption and proper disposal of electronic waste (e-waste).

Green Computing Impact Organization, Inc. (GCIO) – GCIO is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the end-users of computing products in being environmentally responsible. This mission is accomplished through educational events, cooperative programs and subsidized auditing services. The heart of the group is based on the GCIO Cooperative, a community of environmentally concerned IT leaders who pool their time, resources, and buying power to educate, broaden the use, and improve the efficiency of, green computing products and services. Members work to increase the ROI of green computing products through a more thorough understanding of real measurable and sustainable savings incurred by peers; enforcing a greater drive toward efficiency of vendor products by keeping a community accounting of savings generated; and through group negotiation power.

Green Data Center - A green data center is a repository for the storage, management, and dissemination of data in which the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact. The construction and operation of a green data center includes advanced technologies and strategies. Building and certifying a green data center or other facility can be expensive up front, but long-term cost savings can be realized on operations and maintenance. (E-book on green computing and data center energy efficiency

Green Design - A term used in the building, furnishings, and product industries to indicate design sensitive to environmentally-friendly, ecological issues.

Green-E - A program developed and run by the Center for Resource Solution dedicated to certify and verify renewable energy projects and GHG emission reductions in the retail market. 

Green Electronics Council - The Green Electronics Council offers the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) to assist in the purchase of "green" computing systems. The Council evaluates computing equipment on 28 criteria that measure a product's efficiency and sustainability attributes. On 2007-01-24, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13423, which requires all United States Federal agencies to use EPEAT when purchasing computer systems.

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) - Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are trace gases that control energy flows in the Earth's atmosphere by absorbing infra-red radiation. Some GHGs occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others result from human activities. There are six GHGs covered under the Kyoto Protocol - carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). CO2 is the most important GHG released by human activities.

Greenhouse Effect - The trapping of heat within the Earth’s atmosphere by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which accumulate in Earth’s atmosphere and act as a blanket keeping heat in. 

Green Grid - The Green Grid is a global industry consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems. (TheGreenGrid.org)

Green Investment Scheme (GIS) - By implementing Green Investment Schemes (GIS), the seller governments of Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) demonstrate that the proceeds from these sales are invested in environmentally beneficial activities, a process also called the “greening” of AAUs.  There are two major concepts of greening – “hard” and “soft”, although both definitions are rather relative. Hard greening is usually defined as investing in projects aiming directly at GHG emission reductions. 

Green IT - Effort to make information technology more efficient, use less electricity. Also includes using information technology, through software or platforms, as a catalyst to make other processes more energy efficient.

Green Networking - Green networking is the practice of consolidating devices, relying more on telecommuting and videoconferencing, and using virtualization to reduce power consumption across the network. (Special Report on Green Networking)

Green Manure - A crop grown to be dug into the soil, thus directly adding nutrients.

GreenSeal - Third party certification program that certifies cleaning and paper products (among other product categories).

Greenwashing - Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.

Green Tag - see Renewable Energy Certificate. 

GRI - see Global Reporting Initiative

Ground-Level Ozone -The main component of smog, ground-level ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react chemically with nitrogen oxides (NOx) when it is sunny and hot outside. Many urban areas have high levels of this summertime pollutant but rural areas can have increased ozone levels too as wind can carry ground-level ozone hundreds of miles from where it originates. Breathing ozone can cause a number of respiratory health problems plus it damages ecosystems and vegetation including crops.

GS - see Green Seal

GWP - see Global Warming Potential


Handmade - Usually a one of a kind, hand-crafted product that is made without the use of machines and is not mass produced. The cost of handmade goods are often higher than machine-made versions if artisans are paid a fair wage and have pride in their craft.

Haute Green - An annual contemporary design event in New York that showcases sustainable modern design.

HFC-23 (Trifluoromethane) - About 98% of HFC-23 emissions are created as a byproduct in the production of HCFC-22 and generally are vented to the atmosphere. HCFC-22 is used mostly as the refrigerant for stationary refrigeration and air conditioning. 

HIPAA - The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (US) or HIPAA regulates the protection of personal health information such as paper documents that contain protected patient information.

Host Country - A host country is the country where a JI or CDM project is physically located. A project has to be approved by the host country to receive CERs or ERUs. 

Hot Air Excess Permits (AAUs) - AAUs have occurred due to economic collapse or declined production for reasons not directly related to intentional efforts to curb emissions. Russia and Ukraine in particular have significant hot air volumes. 

HVAC - Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

Hybrid - A car that runs on both electric battery and fuel, making the gas mileage extremely efficient and also produces fewer emissions which help control pollution in the environment.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) - A similar haloalkane compound where not all the hydrogen atoms are replaced by a halogen atom. These are typically used to substitute for CFCs, as the ozone-depleting capacity of these compounds is 10 percent less than that of CFCs.

Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs - One of the six greenhouse gases, controlled in the Kyoto Protocol. Are produced commercially and are largely used in refrigeration and insulating foam. 

Hypermiling - Hypermiling is the practice of mileage maximization in driving. Real-time fuel efficiency readouts in hybrid dashboards spawned a widely-dispersed network of fuel efficiency-obsessed drivers. Ownership of a hybrid is not required, though close monitoring of fuel efficiency is difficult without the integrated displays.


ICRA - see Infection Control Risk Assessment

IESNA’s Lighting Handbook - The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America or IESNA has produced a Lighting Handbook used as reference standard by the 2008 Professional Engineer’s Guide to the ENERGY STAR® Label for Commercial Buildings. Appropriate illumination of interior occupied spaces and the generally unoccupied exterior spaces (e.g., parking garages and parking lots) associated with the building must be verified as part of review for the ENERGY STAR label. Appropriate illumination is defined by current industry standards for commercial illumination.

IET - see International Emissions Trading. 

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) - IAQ refers to the contents of interior air that could affect the health and comfort of occupants. Acceptable IAQ is air in which there are no known concentrations of harmful contaminants.

Industrial Ecology - An interdisciplinary field that focuses on the sustainable combination of environment, economy, and technology.

Impulse Sprinkler - Sprinklers that work by water hitting a pin or hammer, watering in a circular or semi-circular pattern

Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) - ICRA is a multidisciplinary, organizational, documented process that, after considering the facility’s patient population and program, focuses on reduction of risk from infection, acts through phases of facility planning, design, construction, renovation, facility maintenance, and coordinates and weighs knowledge about infection, infectious agents, and care environment, permitting the organization to anticipate potential impact.

Information Licecycle Management (ILM) - Information life cycle management (ILM) is a comprehensive approach to managing the flow of an information system's data and associated metadata from creation and initial storage to the time when it becomes obsolete and is deleted. 

Information System (IS) - The collective term used for the information technology and the processes and tools utilized for storing, managing, using and gathering of data and communications in an organization. 

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) - An IGCC is a power plant using synthetic gas. This gas is often used to power a gas turbine generator whose waste heat is passed to a steam turbine system (Combined cycle gas turbine). The gasification process can produce syngas from high-sulfur coal, heavy petroleum residues and biomass. IGCC could potentially capture and store carbon dioxide. 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPCC) Directive - IPCC Directive based on minimising pollution from various industrial sources throughout the European Union. Operators of industrial installations covered by Annex I of the IPPC Directive are required to obtain an authorisation (environmental permit) from the authorities in the EU countries. About 50.000 installations are covered by the IPPC Directive in the EU. 

Internal Abatement - In emissions trading terminology, the act of reducing one’s own emissions for compliance purposes, e.g. through technology upgrades and fuel switching, as opposed to buying allowances/offsets or scaling down production. 

Internal Air Quality (IAQ) - IAQ is a term which refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.

International Emissions Trading (IET) - International emissions trading, one of the three flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol, allows for transfer of AAUs across international borders or emission allowances between companies covered by a cap-and-trade scheme. See emissions trading. 

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) - The world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. The ISO is composed of a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. In March 2006, ISO launched the ISO 14064:2006 standards for GHG accounting and verification. 

International Transaction Log (ITL) - Database of all tradable credits under the Kyoto Protocol and the application that verifies all international transactions and their compliance with Kyoto rules and policies. 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) in 1988 to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is open to all Members of the UN and of WMO. 

Intranet - An intranet is a private computer network that uses Internet Protocol technologies to securely share any part of an organization's information or network operating system within that organization.

Ion Exchange - A water treatment process in which an electric charge is used to remove charged particles from the solution. Also a water softening method wherein calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged with sodium.

IPM - Integrated Pest Management

IRS Schedule H, Form 990 (US) - In December of 2007, the IRS released its final Form 990 and new schedule H, which tax-exempt hospitals must use to demonstrate compliance with the community benefit standard.

ISO 14000 - ISO 14,000 is a series of environmental assessment methods developed by the international organization for standardization, covering systems for environmental management, certification, and eco-labeling. The series defines three types of eco-labels. Type one label (ISO 14,024) are arguably the most viable – for both producer and consumer – as they denote selective, multi-criteria-based, third-party certified endorsement of the product. Type III labels (ISO 14,025) provide quantified the non-selective product information based on independent verification against established benchmarks. Less viable are type II labels (ISO 14,021), which are self declared claims. Appreciating relative merits of different labels will enable you to maximize the environmental benefit of your procurement decisions. 

ISO 14001 - ISO 14001 was first published in 1996 and specifies the actual requirements for an environmental management system. It applies to those environmental aspects which the organization has control and over which it can be expected to have an influence. ISO 14001 is often seen as the corner stone standard of the ISO 14000 series. However, it is not only the most well known, but is the only ISO 14000 standard against which it is currently possible to be certified by an external certification authority. Having stated this, it does not itself state specific environmental performance criteria.

Issuance - Issuance refers to the instruction by the CDM Executive Board to the CDM registry administrator to issue a specified quantity of CERs for a project activity into the pending account of the Executive Board in the CDM registry. 

IT Asset Management - The process by which an organization manages the purchase, operation, and disposal of IT equipment.

IT Equipment - Is a term to describe a wide range of common information technology appliances. These include desktop computers, laptop computers, servers, monitors, photocopiers, fax machines, multi-function devices, printers, scanners, thin-client or terminals, mobile and smart phones, routers, switches, gateways, firewalls, wireless routers, and wireless access points.

IT Operations Plan - A document that outlines the policies and procedures of an organization that manage the use of IT Equipment, network configurations and end-user environments.

IT Practices - IT Practices are informal and undocumented IT Procedures.

IT Policies and Procedures - Documented company policies that describe how Information Technology and the data stored on it should be used by employees.  The policies should cover the following categories: systems policies, data security, data ownership, internet and internet services, electronic mail, voice communications equipment and voice mail, virtualization, data center management and print management.


JI Reserve - A set-aside established in the National Allocation Plan for the period 2008 to 2012 of each Member State hosting or intending to host activities under the project based mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol that could cause double-counting. The reserve refers to planned project activities and associated reductions or limitations of emissions that take place in installations under EU ETS and for which ERUs or CERs should be issued by the Member State. Also known as set-aside. 

Joint Implementation (JI) - Joint Implementation is one of the three flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol, for transfer of emissions permits from one Annex B country to another. JI generates ERUs on the basis of emission reduction projects leading to quantifiable emissions reductions. 

Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC) - Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC) supervises the verification of ERUs generated by JI projects following the verification procedure under the JISC. 

Junk Mail - Unsolicited mail.

JUSSCANNZ Group - Active group during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations (JUSSCANNZ is an acronym for Japan, the USA, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway and New Zealand). Later on, the Umbrella Group (see below) was derived from the JUSSCANNZ Group. 


Knee-Wall - A small wall connecting attic floor joists to a sloped roof; often covered with sheathing to enclose an attic space. 

Kyoto Gases - The six greenhouse gases (GHG) included in the Kyoto Protocol. See Global warming potential. 

Kyoto Protocol - The Kyoto Protocol originated at COP-3 to the UNFCCC in Kyoto, Japan, December 1997. It specifies emission obligations for the Annex B countries and defines the three so-called Kyoto flexible mechanisms: JI, CDM and emissions trading. It entered into force on 16 February 2005. 
Kyoto Mechanisms, see Flexible Mechanisms


Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) - The land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector was included under the Kyoto Protocol to take into consideration certain human-induced activities that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, also known as carbon "sinks". The following activities referred to in Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Kyoto Protocol, as defined in paragraph 1 of the annex to decision 16/CMP.1: afforestation, reforestation, deforestation (the direct human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land), revegetation, forest management, cropland management, grazing land management. 

Lagoon - Anaerobic lagoons are used to dispose of animal waste, particularly that of cows and pigs and capture the biogas produced by anaerobic bacteria present in the waste matter. The biogas produced is 50 to 75% methane, with carbon dioxide making up most of the rest and is usually used to produce electricity, but can also be used for water or space heating. 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) - LEED is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED concentrates its efforts on improving performance across five key areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development, and water savings. 

Legume - A member of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family of plants, including peas, beans, peanuts, lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans.

Letter of Approval (LoA) - The letter provides formal approval of the project as a JI or CDM project by the Parties involved. 

Letter of Endorsement (LoE) - The letter means confirmation to the project sponsor of the preparedness of the host country to endorse the further development of the project in question. 

Letter of 'No Objection' (LoNo) - The Letter may be requested on the basis of a Project Identification Note (PIN) in order to gain assurance from the host country to issue the Letter of Endorsement (LoE). 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - A science-based tool for comparing the environmental performance of two or more scenarios. LCA quantifies the potential environmental impacts of products or systems throughout their life cycles, and can highlight a product’s impact areas to target strategic improvements.

Life-Cycle Based - Assessments that recognize the complex interaction between a product and the environment from cradle to grave. It is also known as Life Cycle Analysis or Ecobalance. These assessments evaluate which emissions occur and which raw materials are used during the life of a product and how they impact the environment.

Life-Cycle Cost - The cost of a product or service which takes into account the cost of manufacturing, transportation and distribution, operating, maintaining and disposing of a product or service over its economic or useful life as set forth by industry standards.

Light-To-Solar-Gain Ratio (LSG) - A ratio comparing the light admitted vs. heat transmitted by a window glazing or film, measured in terms of the visual transmittance and solar heat gain coefficient. 

Light-Shelf - Usually consisting of reflective white or metal eaves or shelves that redirect light into a building and protect occupants from direct solar glare. Use of this element often depends on a building’s orientation and distance from the equator.

Lime - Ground limestone (calcium carbonate).

Linking Directive (LD) - LD formally is not a directive on its own but rather an amendment to the EU Emissions Trading Directive 2003/87/EC that permits companies to use carbon credits from CDM/JI projects for compliance with their targets under the EU ETS. It provides provisions relating to project approval processes and authorisation to participate in the flexible mechanisms, and contains additional provisions relating to the establishment of the national emissions inventory. 

Loam - Well-balance soil containing equal amounts of sand, silt, and clay.

Lodging Property - A facility offering accommodations to travelers. Lodging property types typically include, but are not limited to, such classifications as: All Suites, Bed and Breakfasts, Condominiums, Condotels, Convention Hotels, Cottages, Country Inns, Extended Stay, Full Service, Hotels, Limited Service, Lodges, Motels, Motor Inns, Resorts.

Long-term Certified Emission Reductions (lCERs) - Credits issued for an afforestation or reforestation project activity that expires at the end of its crediting period. lCERs are issued for the net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals by sinks achieved by the project activity during each verification period. 

Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) - The LCFS requires fuel providers to ensure that the mix of fuel they sell in the market meets, on average, a declining target for greenhouse gas emissions measured in grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per unit of fuel energy sold. By 2020, the California LCFS mandates a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of fuel production and use within California. 

Low-VOC - A term referring to reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint and finishes. Low-VOC paints do not off-gas as much as conventional paints and contain less toxins that are harmful to the environment.

Low Wattage Palette - A low wattage palette is a color scheme for a Web page composed of the six lowest wattage colors, as determined by Energy Star's wattage ratings for different colors. According to Jon Doucette, credited with its invention, the six colors that will draw the lowest wattage on displays are #822007 (rusty red), #000000 (black), #b2bbc0 (blue grey), #19472a (forest green), #3d414c (cobalt) and #ffffff (white). (ecoIron, a green computing blog that uses this palette in its theme)


MAC - see Marginal Abatement Cost; Market Advisory Committee. 

MAID (Massive Array of Inactive Disks) - A MAID is an array of hard disks, similar to RAID, where data that does not experience high activity can reside on lower performance and more power-efficient storage. Also known as "lazy disks." MAID technology turns disks off that are not in use, only powering them on when an application requires access to data. MAIDs provide enterprises with an energy-efficient data storage tier for migrating data. (ecoIron)

Manure - Livestock excreta used to fertilize soil.

Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) - The cost of reducing emissions by one additional unit. Aggregated marginal costs over a number of projects or activities define the marginal abatement cost curve. 

Market Advisory Committee - Entity set up by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to recommend designs for a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade scheme in the state. 

Market Transformation Programme (MTP) - The MTP supports the development and implementation of UK Government policy on sustainable products. On this site you will discover information on the Framework Directive for the Eco-design of Energy Using Products (EuP) and the studies being developed for individual products.

Marrakesh Accords - Agreement reached under the UNFCCC on modalities and procedures of the international climate change policy regime developed at the seventh Conference of the Parties. The Marrakesh Accords cover significant principles for technology transfer, accounting, flexible mechanisms implementation etc. 

Mechanical Shredding - A method of destroying data stored on storage mediums (such as CD's, DVD's and hard drives) by physically 'shredding' the host medium.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) - An MoU is an agreement between two parties that aims to formally recognize a joint desire to ultimately conclude an agreement or to achieve goals jointly. It may or may not have legal backing of sanction, depending upon how it is constructed. MoUs between host and investor country are often used as a basis for CDM/JI projects. 

Methodologies Panel (Meth Panel) - The Methodologies Panel was established to develop recommendations to the Executive Board on guidelines for methodologies for baselines and monitoring plans and prepare recommendations on submitted proposals for new baseline and monitoring methodologies. 

Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGA) - A regional agreement by governors of the states in the US Midwest and one Canadian province to establish a multi-sector cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Members: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Observers: Indiana, Ohio, and South Dakota. 

Mineral Water - Water from an underground source that contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids. Minerals and trace elements must come from the source of the underground water, and not be added later.

Modernist - An individual of Modern thought. Modernists are often considered to be both progressive and optimistic in the belief that human beings can create, improve, and reshape their environment.

Monitoring - Monitoring refers to the collection and archiving of all relevant data necessary for determining the baseline, measuring anthropogenic emissions by sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) within the project boundary of a project activity and leakage, as applicable. 

Monitoring Plan - A monitoring plan provides information on the collection and analysis of all data relevant to the calculation of emission reductions from a project. The full requirements for the monitoring plan are set out in 3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 53. The monitoring plan must be included in the Project Design Document (PDD). 

Monoculture - A method of farming in which one type of crop is planted over a large space. Although this method allows for the specialization of machinery to manage the crop, and large yields are often achieved, there are ecological drawbacks. Nutrients in the soil become depleted more quickly, prompting more chemical fertilizers to be added. Monocultures also are more susceptible to massive pest-caused damage because of the way they concentrate resources in a continuous space. Nutrient and water waste cycles also tend to be less enclosed in a monoculture, causing large amounts of runoff and pollution in natural ecosystems. 

MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) - occurs when a building’s occupants exhibit illnesses such as dry, irritated eyes, nose, throat, and skin; fatigue; shortness of breath, coughing, and sneezing; dizziness and nausea; as well as headache and sinus congestion. Also know as: Sick Building Syndrome (SBS); Tight Building Syndrome (TBS); Building-Related Illness (BRI); Internal Air Quality (IAQ).

Multi-Functional - Something that serves more than one purpose. In product and furniture design, multi-functional pieces reduce the need for multiple products, thus using less raw resources and reducing clutter in modern homes.

Multifunction Device (peripheral) - A multifunction peripheral (MFP) is a device that performs a variety of functions that would otherwise be carried out by separate peripheral devices. As a rule, a multifunction peripheral includes at least two of the following: printer, scanner, copier and fax machine.


National Allocation Plan (NAP) - Plan from a Member State for how to distribute EU allowances across installations taking part in the EU ETS in that given country. 

National Authority - see Designated National Authority or Focal Point. 

National Communication - A report submitted in accordance with the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol by which a Party informs other Parties of activities implemented to address climate change. 

Natural - A product that is made from materials and ingredients found in nature, with little or no human intervention. For example, wood is a natural material while plastic is not.

Natural Capital - The flow of ecosystem goods and services that interact with the human economic system. The idea of natural capital expands economic models to include natural resources that have value to humanity but no inherent price.

NERC E-Tags - A NERC Tag, also commonly referred to as an E-Tag, represents a transaction on the North American bulk electricity market scheduled to flow within, between or across electric utility company territories. Elements of a NERC Tag included control areas, transmission providers, purchasing/selling entities, transmission points of receipt, and points of delivery, as well as product codes for several transmission and generation priorities. 

Network Operations - Describes the process of managing the equipment needed to deliver a digital signal accross an organizations computer network. It includes the management of switchers, routers, gateways, network management software and cabeling.

New Entrant Reserve - In the EU ETS, this is the amount of allowances the countries have set aside for new installations (“new entrants”) or expansions at existing installations. 

New South Wales Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (NSW GGAS) - Emissions trading scheme in the Australian state of New South Wales. Operational since 1 Jan, 2003, NSW GGAS operates on a benchmark-and-credit principle. The NSW GGAS establishes annual GHG reduction targets, and requires individual electricity retailers and other parties who buy or sell electricity in NSW to meet mandatory benchmarks based on the size of their share of the electricity market, or buy domestic offset credits for overshooting emissions. 

Nitrogen Fixing - The process by which bacteria that live in root nodules take nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can absorb.

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) - A group of highly reactive colorless, odorless gases that form when fuel is burned at high temperatures. The most common man-made sources of NOx are motor vehicles, electric utilities, and other industrial, commercial and residential sources that burn fuels.

Non-Annex I Countries - Countries that have ratified or acceded to the UNFCCC, but that are not included in Annex I and have no emission reduction targets. Annex I is an Annex in the UNFCCC listing those countries that are signatories to the Convention and committed to emission reductions.

Non-Phosphate - Containing 0.5% by weight or less of phosphates or derivatives of phosphates. 

Non-Toxic - Something that is not toxic or poisonous. Product does not exhibit potentially harmful characteristics as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations found at 16 CFR Chapter II, Subchapter C, Part 1500 and is not required to be labeled Toxic or Highly Toxic.

N-P-K Ratio - The percentage of the nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) by weight; for example, a fertilizer listed as 5-10-5 is 5 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus, and 5 percent potassium.


Ocean Sequestration - see Carbon capture and storage. 

Official Development Assistance (ODA) - A category of development aid which flows from members of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (developed countries) to countries on the Part I List of Aid Recipients (developing countries). The Conference of the Parties (COP) has decided that projects funded by official development assistance are not eligible under the CDM. Hence, in the Project Design Document, project participants must disclose information on any public funding for their CDM project activity. 

Offset Credits - Emission reduction credits from project-based activities that can be used to meet compliance or corporate objectives as a supplement or alternative to reducing one’s own emissions. In a cap-and-trade scheme, offsets may be used instead of allowances, sometimes up to a limit (see credit limit). CERs and ERUs are types of offset credits

One Percent for the Planet - An organization consisting of businesses that pledge to give at least 1% of their total annual revenues to charities and organizations that help the natural environment.
Organic: Of or relating to a product that is solely made from plants or insects. Organic materials and products often carry certifications according to industry.

Operational Entity - An independent entity, accredited by the CDM Executive Board, which validates CDM project activities, verifies and certified emission reductions generated by such projects. 

Organic - Any material made up primarily of carbon.

Organophosphates - Pesticides (such as malathion) that are phosphorus-containing organic compounds.

OSHA - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (US) or OSHA has promulgated regulations that oversee the management of hazardous materials in commercial entities.

Oscillating Sprinkler - Sprinklers which use a bar that cycles in an overhead fan pattern.

Over the Counter (OTC) - Market Trades arranged by brokers, as opposed to trades on exchanges or bilateral (direct) trades.

Overwriting - To record on a storage medium, such as a magnetic disk, thus destroying what was originally recorded there. 

Ozone Layer - A gaseous layer in the stratosphere where ozone (O3) gas is at the highest concentrations in our atmosphere. It forms a protective layer over the earth by filtering out shorter wavelength ultraviolet (UV) rays (photons or UV rays) that would otherwise be harmful to most lifeforms on earth's surface.


Paper Battery - A paper battery is a flexible, ultra-thin energy storage and production device formed by combining carbon nanotubes with a conventional sheet of cellulose-based paper. Non-toxic, flexible paper batteries have the potential to power the next generation of electronics, medical devices and hybrid vehicles, allowing for radical new designs and medical technologies. Paper batteries are also biodegradable, a need only partially addressed by current e-cycling and other electronics disposal methods increasingly advocated for by the green computing movement.

Pavley Bill - Also known as California Law AB 1493, it was the first law in the US to address the greenhouse gases emitted in auto exhaust. The law mandates a 30 percent reduction in motor vehicle emissions by 2016, starting with model year 2009. AB 1943 has been challenged legally by a number of industries, including the Association of Automobile Manufacturers; the issue is still tied up in the courts. 
Permit, see Allowance. 

Particulate Matter (PM) - A mixture of dry solid fragments, solid cores with liquid coatings, and small droplets of liquid of varying shape, size, and chemical composition. PM of concern is 10 µm or smaller, less than one-sixth the size of a human hair (or 60 µm). Airborne particulate matter sources include burning fuels (gasoline, oil, diesel, wood) as well as fine powders such as carbon black toner. PM may cause health problems, particularly for the elderly, people with heart and lung disease, as well as children and infants.

Pathogenic - Causing or capable of causing disease.

PDA (personal digital assistant) - PDA is a term for any small mobile hand-held device that provides computing and information storage and retrieval capabilities for personal or business use, often for keeping schedule calendars and address book information handy. The term handheld is a synonym. Many people use the name of one of the popular PDA products as a generic term. These include Hewlett-Packard's Palmtop and 3Com's PalmPilot.

Perfluorocarbons or PFCs - One of the six GHG controlled by the Kyoto Protocol. PFCs are a by-product of aluminium smelting and are replacement for CFCs in manufacturing semiconductors. 

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) - POPs are toxic chemicals that were, and in some instances still are, used in agriculture for pest and disease control and crop production, as well as in manufacturing. Although many POPs have been banned, they remain in the environment and global food chain, easily traveling via wind and water. 

PFT Air Infiltration Measurement - To determine long-term air leakage and energy loss in a building, an auditor may employ this technique that emits a colorless, odorless, harmless gas known as perflurocarbon tracer gas (PFT). The concentration of the gas throughout the building over time is then measured. 

PH - The measured acidity of soil

Photo Voltaic (PV) - PV technology is related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity.

Photovoltaic Cells (PV Cells) - Also called Solar Cells, they convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV cells are made of semiconducting materials similar to those used in computer chips. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity.

Phthalates - Additives that are widely used in plastics and other materials, mainly to make them soft and flexible. They have applications in industry, in medicine, and in consumer products.

Plastic Recycling - Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. Since the vast majority of plastic is non-biodegradable, recycling is a part of global efforts to reduce plastic in the waste stream. Plastics are categorized into 7 different Plastic Identification Codes based on their chemical make composition.  

Pollution Prevention - Reducing the amount of energy, materials, packaging, or water in the design, manufacturing, or purchasing of products or materials in an effort to increase efficient use of resources, reduce toxicity, and eliminate waste.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) - A plastic polymer in the polyester family, mainly derived from petroleum and used to make beverage bottles, textiles, and industrial moldings. It has a resin code of #1 for plastics recycling.

Polylactic Acid (PLA) - PLA is polylactic acid, a biopolymer made from renewable resources. It is thermoplastic and can be used to make fibers, packaging and other products as an alternative to petroleum based plastics. It is derived from bacterial fermentation of agricultural by-products such as corn, sugar, or wheat. PLA is not only made from renewable resources, but is also biodegradable. PLA is currently manufactured by Cargill, PURAC, Hycail, and several other companies.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - PVC is a plastic commonly used in IV bags and tubing, other medical devices and construction applications such as flooring, wall coverings and pipes. Concerns relate to the potential for the creation of dioxin, a known human carcinogen
and endocrine disruptor, during the manufacture and disposal of PVC plastic materials.

Portal - A site that the owner positions as an entrance to other sites on the internet. Also used to describe an internal site that enterprises use to make available information and links. A portal typically has search capabilities. 

Post-Consumer - Refers to recycled material that was used first by a consumer. A high post-consumer content helps divert materials from ending up in landfills.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content - Material that is recovered after its intended use as a consumer product, then reused as a component of another product. Examples of post-consumer waste that are recycled include carpet tiles (for new yarn and tile backing), aluminum cans, PET soda bottles, and office paper.

Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) - Means there is some percentage of pulp made from paper once used by consumers that was recycled. The higher the percentage, the better.

Post-Industrial Recycled Content - Also known as Pre-Consumer Recycled Content, it is waste material from manufacturing processes that is reused as a component of another product. Post-industrial recycled content comes from material that would have otherwise been waste, and has undergone some physical recycling process. Examples of post-industrial waste that are recycled include yarn extrusion waste, metal scrap, and fiber in paper manufacturing.

Power Management - Power management is a feature included in many electrical appliances, like copiers, computers, monitors and printers, that turns off the power or switches the system to a standby mode when inactive. Power management features can save individuals and organizations substantial energy costs over time. Modern laptops and PCs have integrated power management control panels that allow a user to fine tune how quickly a screen turns off.

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) - PUE is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the computer infrastructure within it. PUE is therefore expressed as a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward 1. DCIE is the reciprocal of PUE and is expressed as a percentage that improves as it approaches 100%. PUE was created by members of the Green Grid. 

Practicable - Capable of being done or accomplished with available means or resources.

Pre-Certified Emission Reductions (pre-CERs) - A unit of GHG emission reductions that has been verified by an independent auditor but has not yet undergone the procedures and may not yet have met the requirements for registration, verification, certification and issuance of CERs or ERUs. 

Pre-Consumer - Refers to recycled material that came from the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer recycling of scraps and discards diverts waste that may otherwise end up in landfills, and reduces use of raw materials.

Price Cap - A cap set on the price of traded emissions allowances. Also known as a safety valve. 

Primary Transaction - A transaction where the seller is the original owner (or issuer) of the carbon asset. A commonly used acronym for primary CERs is pCERs. 

Print Management - The process an organization uses to manage the purchase and operation of IT equipment capable of printing. Common print management issues include type of printing technology, type of inks, power management features of equipment, and print options (such as the ability to print in duplex).

Processed Chlorine-Free (PCF) - The preferred choice of chlorine-free papers, these products contain 30-100 percent post-consumer waste (PCW), and have not been bleached while being processed back into paper. As the recycled content may have been bleached in its original production, these products cannot be labeled as totally chlorine-free.

Program of Activities (PoA) - A voluntary action, implementing a policy, measure or stated goal, managed by a public or private entity, and which results in emission reductions or removals that are additional. A PoA can last for 28 years. Sub-activities – or CDM program activities (CPAs) – can be added at any time during this period. Often referred to as programmatic CDM. 

Project Design Document (PDD) - Document describing the characteristics of a CDM or JI project, completed by project developers in order to register their project. (Link: CDM Project Design Document (PDD) and JI Project Design Document (PDD)). The draft JI PDD form shall be applied provisionally until the COP/MOP has adopted it in accordance with the JI guidelines. 

Project Idea Note (PIN) - This is a short form of project description (about 6 pages) that provides such basic information about the project as type, size and location of the project; estimation of the anticipated total amount of Greenhouse Gas (GHG), reduction compared to the "business-as-usual" scenario, etc. 

Prompt-Start CDM - The agreement that CDM projects starting 1 Jan 2000 or later can obtain CERs (as opposed to JI projects, whose crediting period could not start until the Kyoto period started 1 Jan 2008). 

PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

Public Comment Period - see Validation

Publicly Owned Utility (POU) - A public utility (usually just a utility) is a company that maintains the infrastructure for a public service, usually referring to power, natural gas and water delivery. Publicly owned utilities include municipal utilities that are locally owned and operated. 

PV - see Photo Voltaic

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) - PVC is a plastic commonly used in IV bags and tubing, other medical devices and construction applications such as flooring, wall coverings and pipes. Concerns relate to the potential for the creation of dioxin, a known human carcinogen and endocrine disruptor, during the manufacture and disposal of PVC plastic materials.


QUEST (Quality Utilizing Employee Suggestions and Teamwork) - Interface’s initiative designed to eliminate measurable waste by establishing focused and innovative teams throughout the world to identify, measure, and then eliminate waste streams.


R-Factor - The R-factor (also known as R-value) indicates the insulating value of a product, or put another way, the product's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R number, the higher its insulating effectiveness. 

Rain Barrel - A barrel used as a cistern to hold rainwater.

Rainforest Alliance Certified - Products are produced using farm and forestry methods that are derived from farms and forests where water, soil and wildlife habitat are conserved, where workers are treated well, where families have access to education and healthcare, and where communities benefit.

rBGH-Free - Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone or rBGH (also known as rBST or recombinant bovine somatotropin) is a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production in cattle. There are concerns around the use of this substance in milk and dairy production due to its adverse impacts on animals and potential harm to humans.

RCRA - The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s statute on identifying, managing, storing, handling, transporting and disposing of hazardous waste from commercial entities.

Recycling - The series of activities, including collection, separation, and processing, by which materials are recovered from the waste stream for use as raw materials in the manufacture of new products.

Recyclable - A product or material that can be converted back into material that can be used again in manufacturing new goods. Typically, recycleable materials (aluminum, steel, paper, etc.) must remain in their pure form. If too many adhesives are used, or a product is made from a composite, those materials may not be separated at the end of its life-cycle for recycling.

Recycled Content - Refers to the amount of recycled materials in a product – typically expressed as a percentage.

Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) - Reducing emissions from deforestation and [land] degradation. Mitigation action that seeks to preserve existing carbon stocks in forests (typically tropical rainforests), peat lands etc. The approach would be additional to project-based efforts such as the CDM. Issues to be solved are permanence, leakage, monitoring and baselines. 

Reentry Program - Interface's reclamation program through which carpet is taken back at the end of its useful life..

Regional Greenhouse Allowance (RGA) - Tradable unit under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, corresponds to 1 short ton (0.907 metric tonne). 

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) - A regional cap and trade system that currently includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. In addition, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, the Eastern Canadian Provinces, and New Brunswick are observers in the process. The scheme covers CO2 emissions from power plants in the region, and requires a 10 percent reduction in these emissions by 2018. The first three-year compliance period started on 1 January 2009. 

Registration - Registration is the formal acceptance by the Executive Board of a validated project activity as a project activity. Registration is the prerequisite for the verification, certification and issuance of credits related to that project activity. 

Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) - RMW connotes healthcare-generated waste that may pose an infectious risk to human health. RMW is defined at the state level, typically by the state health or environmental agency. RMW is also typically called infectious medical waste or biohazardous waste.

Remanufacturing - A recycled concept by which an existing product can have its useful life extended through a secondary manufacturing or refurbishing process such as remanufactured systems furniture.

Remodernist - A Modernist who believes that social and environmental issues must also be considerations in future-forward thinking, in addition to form and function.

Removal Units (RMUs) - A unit relating to land use, land use change and forestry activities and is equal to one metric tonne of CO2 equivalent. RMUs cannot be banked for use in any subsequent commitment period, but can be converted into Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) within a national registry. 

Renewable - A raw material that can be replenished within a reasonable amount of time. Example, bamboo and sustainably-harvested woods are renewable. Gold and precious stones are not renewable.

Renewable Energy - Renewable energy is any energy source that is naturally replenished, like that derived from solar, wind, geothermal or hydroelectric action. Energy produced from the refining of biomass is also often classified as renewable. Coal, oil or natural gas, on the other hand, are finite sources.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) - RECs, also known as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, Renewable Electricity Certificates, or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), are tradable, non-tangible energy commodities in the United States that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource (renewable electricity). These certificates can be sold and traded or bartered, and the owner of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy. While traditional carbon emissions trading programs promote low-carbon technologies by increasing the cost of emitting carbon, RECs can incentivize carbon-neutral renewable energy by providing a production subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources. It is important to understand that the energy associated with a REC is sold separately and is used by another party. The consumer of a REC receives only a certificate.

Renewable Resources - A resource that can be replenished at a rate equal to or greater than its rate of depletion. Examples of renewable resources include corn, trees, and soy-based products.

Repurpose - Taking a thing or a material and using it for a purpose not originally intended. Repurposed goods often have a lot of inherent character, flair, and style.

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive - The RoHS is a set of criteria formulated by the European Union (EU) to regulate the use of toxic materials in electrical and electronic devices, systems, and toys. RoHS is often referred to as the "lead-free directive," although mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) are all restricted as well.

Revegetation - A direct human-induced activity to increase carbon stocks on sites through the establishment of vegetation that covers a minimum area of 0.05 hectares and does not meet the definitions of afforestation and reforestation. 

Reverse Osmosis - A filtration process that forces the water through membranes to remove minerals.

Re:modern - A design company committed to design integrity. Re:modern is a leading retailer of sustainable modern home furnishings, gifts, and accessories.

Re-Use - To use again, whether for the same purpose or reappropriated for another.

RMW - see Regulated Medical Waste

RoHS - see Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive.

Rose - The perforated, flattened attachment that fits on the end of a watering can spout.

Rotating Sprinkler - Sprinklers that apply water in a circular pattern.

Rugmark - A foundation that is seeking to end child labor and provide educational opportunities for children.



Sanitize - A process intended to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, microorganisms from the inanimate environment to levels considered safe as determined by public health codes or regulations.

Saw-Tooth Roof - A building design that generally consists of daylight glazing installed on one side of a sloped roof.

Scope 1 Emissions - Scope 1 are also referred to as Direct GHG, and are defined as ‘emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the organization’. Examples Include:

  • Stationary Combustion  - natural gas, fuel oil, propane, etc. burned on-site
  • Mobile Combustion - from the combustion of fossil fuels (e.g. gasoline, diesel) used in the operation of vehicles or other forms of mobile transportation
  • Process Emissions - emissions released during the manufacturing process in specific industry sectors (e.g. cement, iron and steel, ammonia)
  • Fugitive Emissions -  unintentional release of GHG from sources including refrigerant systems and natural gas distribution 

Scope 2 Emissions - Scope 2 are also referred to as Energy Indirect GHG, and are defined as ‘emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, or other sources of energy (e.g. chilled water) generated upstream from the organization’.

Scope 3 Emissions - Scope 3 are also referred to as Other Indirect GHG, and are defined as ‘emissions that are a consequence of the operations of an organization, but are not directly owned or controlled by the organization’. Scope 3 includes a number of different sources of GHG including employee commuting, business travel, third-party distribution and logistics, production of purchased goods, emissions from the use of sold products, and several more. Based on data from many companies that have conducted comprehensive assessments of their Scope 3 emissions, it is evident that Scope 3 GHG are by far the largest component of most organizations’ carbon footprint.

Secondary Transaction - A transaction where the seller is not the original owner (or issuer) of the carbon asset. A commonly used acronym for secondary CERs is sCERs.

Secondary Market - The Secondary Market signifies the second transaction or trading of Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) related to CDM projects or Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) from JI projects. 

Secure Erase - Secure Erase overwrites all tracks on a hard drive, including the data contained in “bad blocks” (the remaining data present at the end of partly overwritten blocks and directories.

Server - A server is any combination of hardware or software designed to provide services to clients. When used alone, the term typically refers to a computer which may be running a server operating system, but is also used to refer to any software or dedicated hardware capable of providing services.

Server Utilization (or CPU Utilization) - A mathmatical repusentation (expressed in the form of percentage) which describes the amount of idle processing time for a CPU of a server or computer.

Server Virtualization - Server virtualization refers to the practice of using software to create multiple 'virtual servers' on a single server.

Sick building syndrome (SBS) - SBS is a medical condition where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason. ... These symptoms appear to be linked to time spent in a building, though no specific illness or cause can be identified. Also known as Tight Building Syndrome (TBS), Building-Related Illness (BRI) or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS).

Silent Vampire - A silent vampire is any electronic or computing device that still draws power from an outlet through a charger, even if the device is turned off or disconnected. Adapters for iPods, cellphones, electric drills and other devices draw electricity even when not connected to the device. Use power strips for chargers so that you can make sure that they are all off. See standby power

Sinks - The removal of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere through land management and forestry activities that may be subtracted from a country's allowable level of emissions. 

Slush Pile - A slush pile is a mound of mixed snow, ice and ice water -- aka "slush" -- placed outside of a data center. Chilled melt water is pulled through a filter and used to cool IT equipment, saving cooling costs. (SearchDataCenter.com)

Small Business - A company that employs under 100 people and is usually a privately owned corporation. Small businesses fuel local economic growth and innovation.

Small Scale CDM Projects - There is a simplified process for small scale CDM projects that will generate less emissions reductions. They are defined as: renewable energy projects under 15 MW, 
energy efficiency projects that reduce energy consumption by up to 60 GWh per year; or project activities which emit less than 60 kilotonnes CO2 equivalent per year. 

Soaker Hose - Porous or perforated hoses or tubing which emit water along their entire length.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) - Solar heat can be admitted through a door or window either by direct transmission or through absorption. SHGC measures the fraction of heat caused by sunlight on a scale between zero and one, smaller numbers indicating lower levels of heat transfer.

SOP - Standard Operating Procedure

SORE - Small Off-Road Engines or Equipment

Spring Water - Derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the earth's surface, spring water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring.

Stakeholder - An individual or group potentially affected by the activities of a company or organization; in sustainable business models the term includes financial shareholders as well as those affected by environmental or social factors such as suppliers, consumers, employees, the local community, and the natural environment.

Standards - Governmental or privately-created lists of criteria used to regulate or evaluate the products or behavior or corporations. Standards can play a critical role in stimulating the market and giving companies information to create better products or change corporate behavior. An example is the LEED green building rating system for buildings..

Standby Power - Standby power is electrical power that a device consumes when not in present use, but plugged in to a source of power and ready to be used. Standby power consumption is the amount of such power that is used even though the power drainage is not apparent. The terms apply to appliances such as television sets, computers, computer peripherals, and various other devices, including those that use battery chargers.

Storage Sprawl - A term used to describe the high rate of data volume growth on a network.

Storage Virtualization - Storage virtualization refers to the practice of managing storage resources on a network by allocating 'virtual' addresses for files storage, whch may be distributed over several physical locations.

Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) - Body advising and assisting the COP in matters relating to implementation of the UNFCCC and in preparing its decisions. 

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) - Body advising the COP on scientific and technical matters. It provides a link between the scientific information from experts and the policy-oriented needs of the COP. The SBSTA works closely with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Sulfur Hexafloride or SF6 - One of six GHGs curbed under the Kyoto Protocol. It is mostly used in the heavy industry to insulate high-voltage equipment and assist in the manufacturing of cable-cooling systems. 

Supplementarity - Supplementarity is a provision in the Kyoto Protocol stating that emissions trading should be a supplement to domestic action. This provision is the basis for the European Union’s limitation on the imports of CERs and ERUs. 

Sustainable - Actions and products that meet current needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Sustainability is a broad term and often refers to the desire to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future.

Sustainable Resources - Sustainable resources are those resources that are replenished at a rate equal to, or greater than, the rate of consumption. This may be done either by natural processes, or by human-engineered methods, often mandated or at least promoted by a governmental body. 

Sustainability - The aspiration to ensure that meeting the needs of the present does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, the most widely accepted definition comes from "Our Common Future," Report of World Commission on Environment and Development, commonly called the The Brundtland Report).

Sustainability Vision - A sustainability vision is a statement of an ideal future state.  An example is 'a world free of pollution' or 'an industry that produces zero-waste'.

Sustainability Values - Sustainability values are documented 'rules of engagement' and organization pledges to follow. An example is 'we will only use sustainable suppliers' or 'our offices will only use sustainable furnishings'.  Company value statements are more general and less specific.

Sustainability Objectives - Sustainability objectives are specific sustainability actions that have a stated completion date.  An example is 'we will reduce our carbon emissions by 20% by 2020'.

Sustainably-Harvested - A renewable resource that as been harvested in a way that allows it's inherent regeneration and continued ongoing supply.

Systems Policies - Policies that define allowed behavior on a company's computer system.


TCO Certification - TCO is a series of product certifications for office equipment (most notably monitors). It is set by TCO Development, owned by the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees. The certifications are named after years. Although commonly associated with computer monitors, later TCO revision also defines standards for computers, keyboards, printers, mobile phones and office furniture.

Telecommuting - Telecommuting is the use of telecommunication to work outside the traditional office or workplace, usually at home (SOHO) or in a mobile situation. Telecommuting can reduce greenhouse gases, save gasoline usage and associated purchase costs and reduce urban traffic congestion.

Temporary Certified Emission Reductions (tCERs) - see also Long-term Certified Emission Reductions (lCERs). Credits issued for an afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM that expires at the end of the commitment period following the one during which it was issued. tCERs are issued for the net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals by sinks achieved by the project activity since the project start date. 

Terminal - 1) In data communications, a terminal is any device that terminates one end (sender or receiver) of a communicated signal. In practice, it is usually applied only to the extended end points in a network, not central or intermediate devices. In this usage, if you can send signals to it, it's a terminal. 2) In telephony, the term Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) is used to describe the computer end of the DTE-to-DCE (Data Communications Equipment) communication between a computer and a modem. 3) In computers, a terminal (sometimes qualified as a "dumb" terminal) is an end-use device (usually with display monitor and keyboard) with little or no software of its own that relies on a mainframe or another computer (such as a PC server) for its "intelligence." IBM's 3270 Information Display System was a widely-installed system of such terminals in corporations. Many applications designed for the 3270 or other "dumb" terminals are still in use at PCs that emulate or act like a 3270. The VT-100 from Digital Equipment Corporation is another example of a widely-used so-called "dumb" terminal. A variation of this kind of terminal is being revived in the idea of the thin client or network computer. 4) The term is sometimes used to mean any personal computer or user workstation that is hooked up to a network.

Terrestrial Sequestration - Removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or the prevention of carbon dioxide emissions from leaving terrestrial ecosystems. Sequestration can be enhanced in such ways as reducing the decomposition of organic matter; increase of photosynthetic carbon fixation of different types of vegetation; creating energy offsets using biomass for fuels. 

Thermographic Scan - To determine air leakage and thermal defects in a home, an auditor may use infrared video and still cameras to measure the temperature of a building’s surface. 

Thin Client - A thin client is a low-cost, centrally-managed computer devoid of CD drives and expansion slots. As software as a service (SaaS) gains popularity, it is expected that thin clients and blade PCs will replace desktop PCs in many work and educational environments. In general, they are not as vulnerable to malware attacks, have a longer life cycle, use less power and are less expensive to purchase. Replacement of desktops and even laptops with thin client terminals can help reduce energy consumption substantially. Enterprise Rent-A-Car recently cut carbon dioxide emissions by 6.5 million pounds each year by doing precisely that. According to GreenerComputing.com, a PC consumes 77.1 watt-hours while in an active state, compared to the 13.6 watt-hours consumed by thin clients.

TJC - The Joint Commission Environment of Care Standard 3.10.1: The Joint Commission standard covering the development of a management plan for hazardous materials and waste.

Tight Building Syndrome (TBS) - occurs when a building’s occupants exhibit illnesses such as dry, irritated eyes, nose, throat, and skin; fatigue; shortness of breath, coughing, and sneezing; dizziness and nausea; as well as headache and sinus congestion. Also know as: Sick Building Syndrome (SBS); Internal Air Quality (IAQ); Building-Related Illness (BRI); Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS).

Toluene - A clear, water-insoluble liquid with a smell familiar to anyone who has opened a can of paint thinner. This aromatic hydrocarbon is known as a developmental toxicant that can cause adverse effects on the developing child. Effects can include birth defects and low birth weight. More than 1 million pounds are produced in the US annually. 

Track 1 and Track 2 JI Projects - To host Track 1 (fast-track) JI projects, a country has to meet the following criteria: a) be a Party to the Kyoto Protocol; b) calculated assigned amount; c) establish national registry; d) submit the annually required inventory; e) establish system for the estimation of emissions and sinks; and f) submit additional information on the assigned amount. If host country meets all criteria, it is free to implement JI projects under Track 1: apply its own criteria and approve the project and emission reductions according to its own rules. In case a host country meets only a)-c) criteria mentioned above, it is eligible for Track 2 JI projects. Second track JI more closely resembles the CDM. Projects must be examined and the emissions reduced or sequestered verified by an independent entity before any transfer of ERUs can occur. 


U-Factor - The inverse of the R-factor (a measure of a material's insulating ability; higher numbers indicate better performance), U-factor also measures the rate of heat gain and loss. However, the higher the U-factor number (values range from 0.20 and 1.20), the less the product is able to resist heat flow (i.e., the worse its insulating ability).

Umbrella Group - An informal group of industrialised countries that do not belong to the EU but occasionally acts as an negotiating bloc on specific issues. The group was formed after the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, and consists of Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It has evolved from the JUSSCANNZ.

Unified Communications (UC) - Unified communications is an industry term used to describe all forms of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions controlled by an individual user for both business and social purposes. This includes any enterprise informational or transactional application process that emulates a human user and uses a single, content-independent personal messaging channel (mailbox) for contact access. UC encompasses several communication systems or models including unified messaging, collaboration, and interaction systems; real-time and near real-time communications; and transactional applications.

Unilateral CDM Project - CDM project that does not include an Annex 1 project participant. 

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - The UNFCCC was established 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit. It is the overall framework guiding the international climate negotiations. Its main objective is "stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (man-made) interference with the climate system". 

UK Emissions Trading Scheme - Voluntary domestic emissions trading scheme running from March 2002 to the end of 2007. 

Upstream Cap - An "upstream" cap and trade system is one in which the entities supplying or importing carbon-rich fuels into the market would be required to surrender allowances (see also: downstream Cap). The proposed Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme uses an upstream approach. 

US EPA’s Comprehensive Purchasing Guidelines - The guidelines are part of EPA’s continuing effort to promote the use of materials recovered from solid waste. Buying recycled-content products ensures that the materials collected in recycling programs will be used again in the manufacture of new products


Validation – (see also Determination and Public Comment Period). The process of independent evaluation of a CDM project by an designated operational entity according to requirements to CDM projects. 

Validation and Verification Manual - Mandatory guidance for the DOEs in undertaking their validation and verification work. Agreed on by the CDM Executive Board at its 44th meeting in November 2008. 

Vector - An organism, such as an insect, that transmits a pathogen.

Verification (see also Determination) - The process of formal confirmation by a recognized independent third party that inventories and carbon reduction claimed by participants in carbon trading schemes are in conformity with reality and established rules. Under the CDM, verification is performed by designated operational entities (DOEs). 

Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) - VERs are generated by carbon reduction projects that are assessed and verified by third party organisations rather than through the UNFCCC. 

Vintage - Refers to something genuinely from the past that is valued for its age, condition, style, or other qualities not available as a new product. Generally not as old as antiques.

Virtualization - Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as an operating system, a server, a storage device or network resources. Implementing server virtualization, for instance, using VMware or open source competitor Xen, drastically reduces the number of servers required in an enterprise. That translates directly into reduced energy consumption, less maintenance and a smaller data center footprint. Common categories include server, storage and desktop virtualization.

Virus - A simple microorganism (or complex molecule) that must infect another living thing in order to reproduce.

Visual Transmittance Value (VT) - A measurement indicating the percentage of the visible light spectrum that is transmitted through a given glazing or pane. 

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) - A VOC is a toxic chemical, like formaldehyde, found in carpeting, plywood, subflooring, paint, and furnishings. Strong fumes are a frequent indicator of harmful gases. If you're remodeling or choosing a facility, choose lower-VOC options. Many products, including interior paint and some building materials, indicate whether they are "low-VOC" on the packaging.\

Voluntary Carbon Market - The sum of all transaction of carbon credits in non-compliance markets. The generation of non-compliance credits — or voluntary offset credit supply — comprises the reduction of GHG emissions for the purpose of selling them to voluntary end users and not to compliance buyers. Voluntary markets for emissions reductions include generation and transaction of carbon credits in non-compliance markets. The voluntary market permits the use of credits such as verified emission reductions (VERs), non-verified emission reductions (ERs) and prospective emission reductions (PERs), as well as the non-compliance use of CERs, ERUs, EUAs and other credits and allowances generated for the compliance market. 

Voluntary Carbon Standards (VCS) - VCS is a certification standard for offset credits in the voluntary market. The standard provides for for project-level quantification, monitoring, and reporting, validation, and verification of greenhouse gas emission reductions or removals. The VCS is an initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, International Emissions Trading Association, The Climate Group, and the World Economic Forum. 

Voluntary Gold Standard - A voluntary standard, launched in May 2006 by WWF-UK and endorsed by 45 environmental NGOs. It is a simplified version of the CDM Gold Standard and is only available for projects in developing countries. 

Voluntary Offset Standard (VOS) - VOS was launched in June 2007 and is based on the existing standards promoted by the UNFCCC, bringing voluntary market to the level of the regulated and standardized procedures of the compliance market. VOS endorses the existing gold standard methodology. 

Voluntary Standard - Any standard that aims to ensure the quality of carbon credits in the voluntary carbon market. It sets various requirements for project developers, such as third-party verification and measures to avoid double counting of carbon offsets, e.g. the use of registries. 

Vulnerable Populations - Vulnerable populations represent people who are more susceptible than the general population to chemicals and products that might pose a risk to human health. These populations include but are not limited to children, pregnant women, the elderly and infirm, people sensitive to chemical exposures (e.g., fragrances), and other occupants, customers, or employees that may have a higher susceptibility to cleaning operations.

VVM - see Validation and Verification Manual


Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive - WEEE is a European Union law enacted in 2003 that, in concert with the RoHS Directive, defines collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods. WEEE places responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), aka "e-waste," on the manufacturers of such equipment. 

Waste Reduction - A process to reduce or eliminate that amount of waste generated at its source or to reduce the amount of toxicity from waste or the reuse of materials. The creation of waste is a growing problem on the environment, as landfills get filled and toxins leach back into the ground. The best way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place.

Wastewater - Water that has been used and contaminated. Wastewater must be purified before being used again or before being returned to the environment.

Waste-to-Energy - The burning of waste in a controlled-environment incinerator to generate steam, heat, or electricity.

Water Cooling - Water cooling is an eco-friendly method used to lower the temperatures of computer processors, and sometimes other components such as graphics cards, using water rather than air as the cooling medium. Also known as "liquid cooling."

Weather Stripping - A material applied to the gaps around windows and doors in order to seal them against air leakage. 

Web Compression - Web compression is a method of compressing textual content transferred from Web servers to Web browsers. Also know as "HTTP compression." According to Serverwatch, website operators can save up to 50% on every bandwidth bill. The method uses standards-based gzip and deflate compression algorithms to compress XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript to speed up downloads and save bandwidth.

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) - WEEE is the European Community directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003, setting collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods. The directive imposes the responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment on the manufacturers of such equipment. Those companies should establish an infrastructure for collecting WEEE, in such a way that "Users of electrical and electronic equipment from private households should have the possibility of returning WEEE at least free of charge". Also, the companies are compelled to use the collected waste in an ecologically-friendly manner, either by ecological disposal or by reuse/refurbishment of the collected WEEE.

Well Water - Water from a hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer.

Western Climate Initiative (WCI) - Regional initiative launched in February 2007 by states and provinces along the western rim of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The initiative, which is based on the combined goals of the participants’ individual states, looks to develop a multi-sector cap-and-trade system covering 90 percent of the emissions from the partner jurisdictions. The proposed target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Members: Arizona, British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Montana, New Mexico, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, Utah, Washington. Observers: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Wyoming, Saskatchewan, and the Mexican states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and Tamaulipas.

White Certificate - A white certificate, also referred to as an Energy Savings Certificate (ESC), Energy Efficiency Credit (EEC), or white tag, is an instrument issued by an authorized body guaranteeing that a specified amount of energy savings has been achieved. Each certificate is a unique and traceable commodity carrying a property right over a certain amount of additional energy savings and guaranteeing that the benefit of these savings has not been accounted for elsewhere.




Zero-VOC - A term used to indicate paint containing no volatile organic compounds - a healthier alternative to conventional paints. SE