Green jargon guide

Your guide to commonly used “green” jargon. Image © istockphoto

Your guide to commonly used “green” jargon. Image © istockphoto.

Black water

Black water contains animal, human or food waste. Black water is also known as brown water or sewage.

Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint measures the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted by a human activity or the accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions over the full lifecycle of a product or service.

Carbon offset

A carbon offset is an emission reduction credit that represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions Carbon offsets are bought and sold through a number of international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms.

Carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.

Class A recycled water

Class A recycled water is the highest quality recycled water. Class A recycled water is put to a number of uses, including residential garden watering, closed system toilet flushing, irrigation of municipal parks and sports grounds and water for contained wetlands or ornamental ponds

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels come from the long-term decomposed remains of plant and animal matter from millions of years ago. Coal, oil, and natural gas are all fossil fuels.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability is the move towards reducing the adverse impact on the physical environment by decreasing the consumption of the Earth’s limited natural resources, increasing the use of renewable energy resources and recycling materials.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses include:

  • Carbon Dioxide, which enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, solid waste, trees and wood products and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement)
  • Methane, which is emitted during the production and transportation of fossil fuels. from the decay of organic waster in municipal landfills and from livestock.
  • Nitrous Oxide, which is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.
  • Fluorinated Gases, or High Global Warming Potential gases (High GWP gases), potent, synthetic gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes.

Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is caused by increased concentrations in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

Many human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels (including coal, oil and gas), deforestation (or land-use change), and some manufacturing processes upset the equilibrium of the carbon cycle. These activities contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect.

Green Star

Green Star is a voluntary environmental rating system for buildings in Australia. It was launched in 2003 by the Green Building Council Australia.

Grey water

Grey water is non-industrial wastewater generated from domestic activities that include dish washing, laundry and bathing. Greywater does not contain wastewater from toilets. Greywater is so named because of its cloudy appearance and from its status as being neither fresh water (white water) nor heavily polluted (blackwater).

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat. These resources are naturally replenished and are thus deemed renewable.

Solar power

Solar power is electricity that is generated from the natural energy (or solar radiation) contained in the rays of the sun.

T5 lighting

T5 lighting is a narrow-diameter fluorescent light tube T5s run from a special ballast and are around three to four times more effective than a standard fluorescent bulb of similar wattage.

Wind Power

Wind power is the electrical energy derived from the wind through the use of wind turbines. Wind power does not require the use of fossil fuels and is considered to be a renewable energy source.