One of the aims of Your Building is to assist in the development of a common language around sustainability in commercial buildings.
The following glossary includes a list of common terms that are being used in this portal. Additional terms will be progressively included in the glossary.
If there are additional terms you would like included, please contact us.
Abiotic refers to non-living or physical and chemical influences, such as temperature and pH (NSW EPA, 2001).
Active noise control
Electronic masking of sound to cover unwanted or intrusive sound, such as speech or equipment noise, typically used to enhance speech privacy by reducing speech intelligibility.
Adsorption refers to the process whereby soft furnishings, such as carpet, foam covered fabric chairs and partitions, 'harbour' resting VOCs as the indoor temperature cools.
The level of particulates, gases, vapours, pollens and micro-organisms in the air; achieving and maintaining indoor air quality are sustainable design/building management objectives required to mitigate sick building syndrome, enhance amenity and promote work environments (Fawcett et al., 2006).
A measure of the heat energy contained in ambient air.
Air-handling unit (AHU)
Equipment used to distribute conditioned air to a space, including heating and cooling coils, fans, ducts, and filters.
The background noise level in a space, which is not identifiable as being from a specific source, such as a nearby piece of equipment.
(a) The reduction in the value of an asset by prorating its costs over a period of years; (b) Payment or an obligation in a series of instalments or transfers (e.g. conventional home loan or mortgage); (c) The process of recovering, over a period of time, the capital investment through scheduled, systematic repayments at regular intervals. Periodic contributions to the sinking fund to discharge a debt or make a replacement at a future date (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
A resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (ABGR)
A rating scheme that helps building owners and tenants across Australia benchmark their greenhouse performance. Administered nationally by the NSW Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS) and locally by state greenhouse agencies, the ABGR scheme rates buildings from one to five stars with five stars representing exceptional greenhouse performance (http://www.abgr.com.au/).
Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC)
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) is the peak body of key organisations committed to a sustainable built environment in Australia (http://www.asbec.asn.au/).
A change in awareness precedes change 'on the ground'. Everett Rogers' (2003) diffusion of innovation theory describes awareness as the first step in the adoption of an innovation. The same thing can be said about adopting sustainability. In the Australian property sector, awareness of sustainability has increased substantially in recent years - virtually all practitioners are aware of sustainability, at least as a concept. This is paving the way for significant changes in practice, by creating the receptivity and motivation required to initiate the change process.
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Process of measuring and adjusting equipment to obtain desired flows. Balancing applies to both air-side and water-side systems.
Power-regulating device that modifies input voltage and controls current to provide the electrical conditions necessary to start and operate gaseous discharge lamps.
A standard measure or perceived common level of performance at a given point in time, against which design objectives and/or performance targets may be set against to achieve improved design outcomes or performance standards (Fawcett et al., 2006).
The process of identifying the best performing product, service, function, process or activity at a given point in time and using its performance as a target, goal or benchmark against which to set or judge performance, e.g. the energy consumption of particular classes of buildings (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Best practice in construction refers to construction that goes beyond compliance in terms of sustainability and actively attempts to have a positive environmental impact during the construction process, rather than simply a minimised negative impact.
Biota is, collectively, the plants, micro-organisms and animals of a region (NSW EPA, 2001).
Building integrated photovoltaic system that incorporates PV cells as part of the building fabric.
Water which contains human, food or animal waste and generally collected through fixtures such as toilets, urinals and bidets
Blue sky workshop
'Blue sky' is a synonym for thinking creatively, without limiting horizons (OECD, 2006, p.1).
Pressure vessel designed to transfer heat (produced by combustion) or electric resistance to a fluid. In most boilers, the fluid is water in the form of liquid or steam.
The variety of all life forms; the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems they form (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
Building Code of Australia (BCA)
The national performance based building code, produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments; has the status of building regulations by all Australian States and Territories (Fawcett et al., 2006).
In the broadest sense, building commissioning refers to a process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance of a building and its various systems meets design intent and the owner's and occupants' operational needs. The process ideally extends through all phases of a project, from concept to occupancy and operation.
Commonly understood as the skin (external walls, glazing, roofs etc) of a building that enclose interior and/or conditioned spaces and through which thermal energy may be transferred to and from the exterior; critical to achieving sustainable design and operational outcomes, with respect to orientation and shape, thermal efficiency of envelope (including thermal bridging), shading, high performance glazing, daylighting, natural ventilation, level of exposed internal thermal mass, reflectance of internal surfaces, infiltration, lifts/stairs, and landscaping (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Building management committee (BMC)
A BMC is established by the building owner and the tenant(s) to measure and monitor building performance, and to take all reasonable measures to achieve or exceed energy and water use targets and other building operational benchmarks.
Building monitoring systems (BMS)
Computerized monitoring engineering services, security and other building systems for the purposes of recording, reporting and operational control to maximise safety, security, operational performance and for overall cost minimisation and efficiency; increasingly, data linked to management centres in order to compare operational status and response performance of buildings to improve total portfolio performance, maximise occupant productivity, minimise energy use and improve overall efficiency for building owners (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Building systems include architectural, mechanical, electrical and control systems (along with their respective sub-systems, equipment and components), all of which must be commissioned.
Building tuning refers to the ongoing process of adjustment of building equipment and systems to optimise performance, maintain environmental ratings and continuously improve occupant satisfaction with the building.
Building user guide
A building user guide provides details regarding the everyday operation of a building and ways in which occupants and facility managers encounter and interact with the facility. The ESD section of the guide provides guidance on the green initiatives designed into the building. It is provided to ensure that the ESD initiatives continue to be utilised correctly by building occupants, so that the benefits will be realised long after the design and delivery team have completed their work. www.defence.gov.au/im/policy/green-building/fact-sheet.pdf
Urban systems providing a collection of life support systems for human settlement (Fawcett et al., 2006).
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Process of adjusting equipment to ensure that operation is within design parameters.
Method of arriving at the value of the property by reference to net returns and an expected percentage yield or return. Capitalisation refers to the conversion or a stream of income into capital value using a single conversion factor capitalisation rate) (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
A driver (usually expressed as a percentage) that is used to convert income into value. The rate or yield at which the annual net income from an investment is capitalised to ascertain its capital value at a given date (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
A term that refers to three types of units of greenhouse gas reductions defined under the Kyoto Protocol:
emissions reduction units are generated via joint implementation under Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol,
certified emission reduction units are generated and certified under the provisions of Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism, and
verified emission reductions are verified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions below a pre-determined baseline (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
In terms of the built and urban environment, refers to the upper limits of development beyond which the quality of human life, health, welfare, safety or community character and identity might be unsustainably altered; a measure of the ability of a region to accommodate growth and development within the limits defined by existing infrastructure and natural resource capabilities (Davidson and Dolnick, 1999).
(a) Generally the net amount of money received by an individual or company in a certain period; (b) The actual or estimated periodic net income produced by the revenues and expenditures/outgoings in the operation and ultimate resale and/or acquisition of an income-producing property (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
CFC-free means that the product does not contain or use chlorofluorocarbons.
Mechanical device that generates cold liquid, which is circulated through cooling coils to cool the air supplied to a building.
Chemical compounds consisting of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine, once used widely as aerosol propellants and refrigerants. Chlorofluorocarbons are believed to deplete the atmospheric ozone layer.
Churn refers to 'the frequency with which a building's occupants are moved, either internally or externally, including those who move but stay within an organisation, and those who leave a company and are replaced' (GBCA, 2006, p. 57).
Cleaner production implies improvements to a production process so that the process uses less energy, water or other inputs, or generates less waste or less environmentally harmful waste (adapted from the waste environmental protection policy, Queensland EPA, 2004).
Attributed directly or indirectly to human activity, that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and is in addition to natural climate variability over comparable time periods; often used to describe global warming with environmental implications including temperature and sea-level rises, changes in rainfall and extreme weather event intensity and frequency, ground-water and atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns and locations, and displacement of ecosystems and commercial resources (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Closed loops are processing cycles in which wastes are completely recycled or re-used and never enter the environment (World Resources Institute, 1999, paragraph 7).
Coefficient of performance (COP)
Coefficient of performance compares the heating capacity of a heat pump to the amount of electricity required to operate the heat pump in the heating mode. COPs vary with the outside temperature; as the temperature falls, the COP falls also, since the heat pump is less efficient at lower temperatures.
A heat exchanger used to condense refrigerant from a gas to a liquid.
A heat exchanger used to cool air under forced convection with or without dehumidification. It may consist of a single coil section or several coil sections assembled into a bank.
Color rendering index (CRI)
A measure ranging from 0 to 100 of the accuracy with which a light source renders different colors in comparison to natural light, which has a measure of 100.
A method of specifying colour based on an absolute temperature scale, degrees Kelvin (K). The colour is equivalent to the colour of light that would be emitted if a pure black object were heated to that temperature. Higher colour temperatures are more blue, while lower temperatures are more red.
Typically refers to any non-residential building such as a shopping centre, office tower, business park, industrial property or tourism and leisure asset (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
Commissioning is a systematic process of assuring, by verification and documentation, that all facility systems perform interactively in accordance with the design documentation and intent, and in accordance with the owner's operational needs, including preparation of operation personnel (an official definition established by The National Conference on Building Commissioning). Commissioning should take place from the design stage to a minimum of one year after construction has been completed.
A commissioning agent is the person or company engaged for the specific task of commissioning a building. Preferably, this agent should be an independent party retained on behalf of the party that owns the building at the point of handover, and should be appointed during the design stages of the project.
The commissioning authority is the qualified person, company or agency that plans, coordinates and oversees the entire commissioning process. The commissioning authority may also be known as the commissioning agent.
Commissioning final report
The commissioning final report is the document prepared during the acceptance phase of the commissioning process, after all functional performance tests have been completed. It includes the executive summary, a building description, and the completed commissioning plan, as well as all documentation generated during the process, including the completed commissioning test plans.
Commissioning issues log
The commissioning issues log lists all equipment or systems malfunctions that require team resolution.
The commissioning plan is a document prepared for each project that describes all aspects of the commissioning process, including schedules, responsibilities, documentation requirements, and functional performance test requirements. The level of detail depends on the scope of commissioning specified.
Commissioning test plan
The commissioning test plan is a document that details the pre-functional performance test, the functional performance test, and the necessary information for carrying out the testing process for each system, piece of equipment, or energy efficiency measure. The test plans are included as an appendix to the final report.
Compliance, beyond compliance
Compliance is meeting legislated performance standards; beyond compliance is voluntarily exceeding those standards.
Air that serves a space and that has had its temperature and/or humidity altered to meet design specifications.
Constant volume (CAV, constant air volume)
A type of air-handling system that supplies air to a conditioned space at a constant air flow and modulate heating and cooling by varying the air temperature.
A construction check-list ensures that the specified equipment has been provided, is properly installed, and has initially started and checked out adequately in preparation for full operation and functional testing.
A construction manager is an organisation that has the role of managing the construction team and various contractors to build and test the building systems for the project. The construction manager also works with the commissioning authority to identify and correct any deficiencies.
Continuing professional development
The term 'continuing professional development' (CPD) describes a specific form of training. CPD usually involves short seminar or classroom-style programs focused on updating the knowledge and skills of practising industry professionals, as opposed to tertiary programs, which are of longer duration and lead to formal qualifications.
An instrument or set of instructions for operating or regulating building systems.
A device that dissipates heat from water-cooled systems through a combination of heat and mass transfer, whereby the water to be cooled is distributed in the tower and exposed to circulated ambient air.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
A corporate philosophy and strategy for creating long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from social, environmental and economic factors.
A method of evaluating projects or investments by comparing the present value or annual value of expected benefits to costs; the practical embodiment of discounted cash flow analysis; a useful technique for making transparent the benefits of upfront investments in sustainable design features or technologies (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Design, industrial, management and economic activities which together ensure that materials and products are considered and accounted for throughout their life cycle, such that once their current useful life is complete they are returned to new use lives or functions rather than being relegated to the waste stream (McDonough and Baumgart, 2002).
Creative thinking, critical thinking and systems thinking:
These are all closely related and don't happen in isolation! However, creative thinking refers to processes that 'open up' possibilities and encourage new perspectives, whereas critical thinking refers more to analysis, critique and reflection. Systems thinking examines the broader context of an issue in an interdisciplinary, relational way, as opposed to deconstructing the issue into separate parts. When adopted on an organisational level, these types of thinking enhance an organisation's capacity for learning, creativity and innovation.
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Single- or multiple-blade devices, either manually or automatically opened or closed, that control the flow of air.
Daylighting uses natural light to illuminate buildings. Rather than relying on banks of fluorescent lights, daylighting brings indirect sunlight deep into a building. http://www.daylighting.org/why.htm
In construction, referring to the disassembly of buildings specifically designed for reducing waste and increased efficiency in the demolition/reuse process (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Technological, cultural and economic initiatives which alter practices so that the demand for materially intensive or environmentally deleterious services and products is reduced and the service or access is delivered either more efficiently or in new ways through new products and services (Fawcett et al., 2006).
(a) In accounting terms, the writing down of the original cost of an asset systematically over the life of that asset; (b) An effect caused by physical deterioration, or obsolescence, or both (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
The design document records all the details of the design intent.
Design for environment (DfE)
'Whether the process is referred to as DfE (Design for environment) or eco-design, the fundamental objective is to design products with the environment in mind and assume some responsibility for the product's environmental consequences as they relate to specific decisions and actions executed during the design process' (Lewis & Gertsakis, 2001, p.16).
A design philosophy and approach which incorporates consideration of the full life cycle of the product, building or material so that its current use life can be maximised and it can be readily returned to further use (via disassembly, recycling, reuse or remanufacture) at the end of its current use or life; not to be confused with design-life which is the intended functional life of a product (Fawcett et al., 2006).
The design intent is a detailed technical description of the ideas, concepts and criteria defined by the building owner to be important. It should include facility functional and environmental needs. The design intent is developed by the design team from descriptions provided by the building owner.
Design professionals are the architects, engineers, or other parties responsible for the design and preparation of documents for the various building systems.
A device that distributes conditioned air to a space.
A device that distributes light produced by lamps into a space.
Direct and indirect construction impacts: Direct construction impacts refer to the immediate impacts of construction activity on the natural and/or social environment. Indirect construction impacts refer to whole-of-life outcomes that result from construction activities that vary design features and/or impact on sustainable design intent.
Discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis
(a) A method of analysing investment opportunities in which annual cash flows are discounted to arrive at their net present value (NPV) or internal rate of return (IRR) - also used as a basis for certain property valuations; (b) A financial modelling technique based on explicit assumptions regarding the prospective cash flow to a property or business. An accepted methodology within the income approach to valuation (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
'Dolphin-friendly' refers to fishing techniques (e.g. pole and line, or line fishing) that do not have as high an impact on dolphins as other techniques (e.g. trawling and nets).
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Design philosophy and methodologies which foreground a material and social ethics of care into the products and processes which are designed, so that full life cycle considerations and social impacts are integrated into the design problem, task and delivery of the product or process (Fawcett et al., 2006).
The delivery of competitively priced goods and services while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity throughout their life cycle; the seven components commonly identified with eco-efficiency are reducing the material intensity of goods and services, reducing the energy intensity of goods and services, reducing toxic dispersion, enhancing material recyclability, maximising sustainable use of renewable resources, extending product durability and increasing the service intensity of goods and services (Fawcett et al., 2006).
An eco-indicator is a measure of the environmental impacts of manufacturing products or providing services, as evaluated according to the widely accepted life cycle assessment (LCA) procedure.
Environmental assessment of products based on third party certification; also known as Type I or third-party environmentally preferred labelling under the series of ISO 14000 Standards (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Ecological footprint or 'footprint'
This is a measure of how much biologically productive land and water an individual, population or activity requires to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates using prevailing technology and resource management practices.
Ecological rucksack refers to the total weight of material flow 'carried by' an item of consumption in the course of its life cycle. Like the ecological footprint, the ecological rucksack concept deals with displaced environmental impacts, but has a more technical focus. It is concerned with reducing material intensity and resource inefficiency (Bathurst Sustainable Development, 2002). The ecological rucksack of a product is defined as its MI (material input) minus its own weight (Schmidt-Bleek, 2000, p.4).
Ecologically sustainable design
The use of design principles and strategies which help reduce the ecological impact of buildings e.g. by reducing the consumption of energy and resources, or by minimising disturbances to existing vegetation (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
Development that does not compromise the ability of future generations to enjoy similar levels of development. This is done by minimising the effect of development on the environment (Docklands, 2002). Also defined as 'using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased' (DEH, 1992).
The interrelationship of living things to one another and their environment and the study of such inter-relationships (Davidson and Dolnick 1999).
Economic, effective or useful life
The time span within which the building reaches the notional return on investment criteria (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Ecologically preferred products, materials, buildings or services are those that embody 'one or more unique environmental attributes or qualities as a result of deliberately eliminating or reducing potential environmental impacts across [their] life cycle compared to other products in [their] category, and/or [are] a member of a product category that in itself embodies an ecologically or health preferred product category (e.g. photovoltaic panels as a preference to diesel or petrol generators or fossil fuel powered electrical grid energy)'. http://www.ecospecifier.org/
A level of organisation within the living world that includes both the total array of biological organisms present in a defined area and the chemical-physical factors that influence the plants and animals in it and interdependence is considered integral to ecosystems (Fawcett et al., 2006).
The ratio of lamp lumen output to total lamp power input expressed in lumens per watt.
Ratio of power output to input.
The quantity of energy required by all of the activities associated with a production process, including the relative proportions consumed in all activities upstream to the acquisition of natural resources and the share of energy used in making equipment and in other supporting functions.
The amount of water required to manufacture products, including the extraction of raw materials, transporting those materials, and processing them into the final product.
An examination and analysis of building elements, environmental support systems (e.g. HVAC, lighting etc), fuel consumption records, operation and use patterns, and sometimes, code compliance; also assist in identifying opportunities for improving energy performance (Fawcett et al., 2006).
In buildings, employing strategies to minimise the use of energy imported from utility companies (gas, electricity) required to maintain occupant comfort and building services that derive power from non-renewable, greenhouse gas producing processes (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Energy efficiency measure
An energy efficient measure refers to any equipment, system or control strategy installed in a building for the purpose of reducing energy consumption and enhancing building performance. An energy efficiency measure may also be called an energy conservation measure.
Energy management system (EMS)
The control system that monitors the environment and energy usage in a building and alters equipment operation to conserve energy while providing occupant comfort.
Energy performance contracting (EPC)
A turnkey service for the implementation of energy cost savings measures in buildings where the savings are guaranteed against some measure of performance; these two aspects, turnkey service and guaranteed performance, differentiates performance contracting from other traditional design and construction services (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Environmental management plan (EMP)
A management and communication process to enable the range of environmental aspects and impacts of a given activity (whether a design process, a project, or consultancy or corporate operation), to be systematically considered, addressed, monitored and reviewed to ensure compliance with regulatory, project and organizational environmental requirements, policies and objectives (Fawcett et al., 2006). It is a tool that is used to manage environmental risks and issues on a project. The effectiveness of the plan is dependent on the commitment of management to follow the plan, and on how well it is written and understood by construction personnel.
Environmental management policy
An environmental management policy is a statement of an organisation's aims in relation to its impact on the environment. It sets overall goals and aspirations for the organisation, as well as principles for action (Queensland EPA, 2004).
Environmental management system (EMS)
An EMS is 'a tool for managing an organisation's impact on the environment. It provides a structured approach to planning and implementing environmental protection measures' (DEW, 2007a). ISO 14000 is a family of internationally recognised standards on environmental management systems.
Environmental rating system
Design and management systems which provide a framework for identifying, setting and reporting upon environmental design and performance objectives for buildings; provides industry with mechanisms for industry wide improvement and internal benchmarking while also providing a rating system through which to communicate the environmental performance characteristics of buildings to the community (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Ethical investment is 'an approach to investing that considers both the profit potential and the investment's impact on society and the environment'. http://www.eia.org.au/
EU restriction of hazardous substances directive (RoHS):
RoHS is a directive restricting the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. Materials initially targeted under RoHS are lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium VI, and PBB and PBDE, which are fire retardants used in many plastics. While RoHS does not currently apply to construction materials, and REACH (see REACH in this glossary) has yet to come into effect, they are indicators of a potential future direction for international legislators and mark an underlying global trend to addressing pollutant toxicity issues (see the RoHS directive).
A heat exchanger in a refrigeration system that absorbs heat from chilled water or building air, thus reducing the supply temperature.
E-waste is electrical or electronic equipment that is redundant, broken or unwanted. The equipment can become a hazard, as many components contain toxic materials that some parts of the industry are working to phase out.
Extended producer responsibility (EPR)
EPR refers to a policy approach under which producers accept significant responsibility - financial and/or physical - for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. It is a is a strategy designed to promote the integration of environmental costs associated with products throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products (OECD, 2001).
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Facility refers to a completed or existing building, especially where it supports or facilitates a business or service function.
Functional performance test
A functional performance test refers to the full range of checks and tests carried out to determine whether all components, sub-systems, systems, and interfaces between systems function in accordance with the contract documents. In this context, 'function' includes all modes and sequences of control operation, all interlocks, conditional control responses, and all specified responses during design day and emergency conditions. Functional tests are performed after construction check-lists have been completed.
Future-proofing involves trying to anticipate the future in order to minimise possible negative consequences. In the building sector, future-proofing is demonstrated by sustainable buildings that 'use less water and energy than conventional buildings thereby providing a buffer against future increases in water and energy services costs and protecting against services shortages' (GBCA, 2006, p.51).
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Greenhouse gases are components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Some greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others result from human activities. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Certain human activities, however, add to the levels of most of these naturally occurring gases.
A lease that sets out mutual obligations for building owners, managers and tenants regarding environmental performance.
Electricity generated from clean renewable sources such as the sun, wind, water and organic matter; purchased by energy suppliers on behalf of their customers and independently audited and verified by the National Green Power Accreditation Steering Group (Fawcett et al., 2006).
A voluntary Housing Industry Association program that educates builders, designers, product manufacturers and consumers about the benefits of an environmentally responsible approach to housing and development. HIA GreenSmart aims to increase energy efficiency, reduce water consumption, minimise waste and encourage better environmental management at each stage in the construction of today's housing. http://www.greensmart.com.au
Green Star is a national voluntary environmental rating scheme that evaluates the environmental design and achievements of buildings against eight environmental impact categories, plus innovation (http://www.gbca.org.au).
Green wash refers to the practice of trying 'to convince people that you are doing something which is good for the environment by being involved in small, environmentally-friendly initiatives, especially as a way of hiding your involvement in activities which are damaging to the environment'. http://www.macmillandictionary.com/
Grey water recycling
Grey water is 'water that is discharged from household appliances and fixtures in the laundry, kitchen or bathroom - with the exception of wastewater containing faecal matter (i.e. after washing nappies)'. Grey water recycling is 'water taken from the wastewater stream that is treated and re-used. The level of treatment and quality of resultant water is dependent on the intended use'. http://www.savewater.com.au/
Domestic wastewater from bathroom fixtures (such as basins, showers and baths), laundry fixtures (such as clothes washing machines and laundry troughs) and kitchen facilities (such as sinks and dishwashing machines)
Any water naturally stored underground in aquifers, or that flows through and saturates soil and rock, supplying springs and wells
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Handover is the formal acceptance by the building owner that construction of the building is substantially complete and that it is ready for occupancy; that all systems have been installed correctly and are operational; and that a handover commissioning record has been completed and is available for the owner.
Component of the waste stream which by its characteristics poses a threat or risk to public health, safety or to the environment (AS/NZS 3831-1998).
For this module, a head contractor is defined as the main contractor engaged to be responsible for the majority of work on a building site, including sub-contract work, materials and labour supplies.
A device that transfers heat from one fluid to another.
Highest and best use
The most probable use of a property which is physically possible, appropriately justified, legally permissible, financially feasible, and which results in the highest value of the property (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
An integrative and comprehensive design approach that considers the interrelatedness of a projects parts, components, systems, and subsystems, in order to optimise energy and environmental performance during the whole-of life of a project (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. The equipment, distribution network and terminals that provide, either collectively or individually, the processes of heating, ventilation or air-conditioning to a building (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
A hybrid car is one that runs using a combination of an efficient petrol motor and an electric motor. http://www.choice.com.au/
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Commonly called light level, illuminance refers to the light intensity arriving on a surface, measured in footcandles (fc). It is the standard international unit that is used to measure the amount of light per unit of surface area, also known as lux (symbolised lx).
Indoor air quality (IAQ)
The quality of air required within a work environment to minimise harmful effects to human health including the provision of adequate airspace and ventilation, and the limitation of contaminants or harmful substances such as dust, other airborne particles, fumes, mists or vapours, and smoke; generally requirements for workplaces are stipulated in occupational health and safety legislation (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Indoor environment quality (IEQ)
This factor describes the cumulative effects of indoor air quality, lighting and thermal conditions. Poor IEQ is responsible for health problems in the work place (Docklands, 2002).
Industrial ecology refers to a localised, regional network of partnered organisations, benefiting from an exchange of resources, information and/or expertise.
Air that leaks into a building through the building shell.
A design process which mobilizes multidisciplinary design input and cooperation, ideally to maximise and integrate environmental and economic life cycle benefits; a process that delivers value by understanding impacts across a broad range of disciplines during design; can also describe a resulting solution or building/services system, the physical integration of services and building components (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Internal rate of return (IRR)
The discount rate that equates the present value of the net cash flows of a project with the present value of the capital investment (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)
An international standard setting body, whose standards often become law.
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An SI unit of energy, named after James Prescott Joule. As a rough guide, one joule is the amount of energy required to lift a one kilogram object up by a height of about ten centimetres on the surface of the Earth, by the most efficient method.
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A unit of power equal to 1,000 watts.
Kilowatt hour (kWh)
The energy unit used for electricity. One kW h is equivalent to 3.6×106 J (3600 kJ or 3.6 MJ).
This international agreement, which builds on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, sets legally binding targets and timetables for cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of industrialised countries. http://unfccc.int/
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Learning is a broad term that describes any process that enables a shift in awareness and the development of new skills. The focus in Your Building is on 'effective learning' - learning that results in a sustained change in practice. In the property industry, learning happens both formally and informally; 'on the job' and peer learning is an extremely important aspect of learning. Progressive organisations are looking for ways to better facilitate formal and informal learning opportunities for their employees.
Life cycle assessment (LCA)
A technique for assessing the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product or process, by compiling an inventory of relevant inputs and outputs, evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with those inputs and outputs, and interpreting the results of the inventory analysis and impact assessment phases in relation to the objectives (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
Life cycle costing (LCC)
A technique that enables a comparative cost assessment to be made for various investment alternatives, over a specified period of time, taking into account all relevant factors, both in terms of initial capital costs and future estimated cost. The objective is to identify the most economic overall choice (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
The demand upon the operating resources of a system. In the case of energy loads in buildings, the word generally refers to heating, cooling, and electrical (or demand) loads.
Unit measurement of the rate at which a light source produces light per unit time.
A complete lighting unit, consisting of one or more lamps together with housing, the optical components to distribute the light from the lamps, and the electrical components (ballast, starters, etc.) necessary to operate the lamps.
Commonly referred to as brightness, luminance is the light measured leaving a surface. It considers both illuminance on the surface and reflectance of the surface.
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The estimated amount for which an asset should exchange on the date of valuation between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm's length transaction after property marketing, wherein the parties had each acted knowledgably, prudently and without compulsion (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
Unit of energy equal to 1 million joules.
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The National Australian Built Environment Rating System is a performance-based rating system for existing buildings. NABERS rates a building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment. http://www.nabers.com.au
National pollutant inventory (NPI)
The NPI is a legal requirement for businesses to report annual emissions of specific substances if they exceed certain thresholds of use.
Net operating income (NOI)
(a) Annual net income remaining after deducting all fixed and operating expenses and rates, taxes and levies, but before deducting any financial charges (mortgage), costs and other income taxes; (b) The net inflow after deducting vacancy allowance, operating expenses and statutory outgoings from gross rents (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
Net positive impact
Net positive impact refers to a project outcome where whole-of-life considerations of the project result in an increase in natural and social capital, in addition to favourable economic returns to all concerned in the inception, delivery, operation and disposal of the facility.
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A loss in value due to a decrease in the usefulness of property caused by decay, changes in technology, people's behavioural patterns and tastes, or environmental changes(REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
A measure representing perceived temperature, which can be approximated as the average of air and radiant temperatures.
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A popular non-discounting project selection technique used when organisations require the capital investment of a project to be recovered within a specified period; the period it takes for the stream of net cash flows to equal the initial investment; a term gaining increasing use in the evaluation of sustainable and renewable energy options, wherein greenhouse or greenhouse intensive energy savings which the technology may enable over its useful life, are assessed in relation to the embodied energy required for its manufacture; for renewable energy systems, it can also be used to refer to the period of time over which energy cost savings derived from accessing renewable energy offsets the up-front capital costs of the system (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Performance approach or performance concept
This refers to the practice of thinking and working in terms of 'ends', rather than 'means'. It is about describing what the building is expected to do, and not prescribing how it is to be realised.
Performance assessment or performance evaluation
This refers to the process of assessing or evaluating the performance of the whole building or its component parts, according to a set of performance targets, criteria or requirements.
Performance indicators are a set of measures that reflect the environmental or sustainable credentials or performance of a building. It should be noted that, in research literature, a distinction is made between environmental or 'green' assessment and 'sustainable' assessment; the latter includes the indicators covered in the former and extends its scope to include social, economic and other indicators.
Performance requirements or criteria
This is an expression or statement of the level of performance an indicator is required to achieve. It includes two elements: (a) a performance indicator, and (b) an acceptable value or range of values and grades (e.g. 1-star to 5-stars). Performance requirements or criteria may be quantitative or qualitative, or mixed.
Here the focus is on reliable delivery of defined services (e.g. heating and cooling), as opposed to scheduled maintenance on specific plant items. The contractor is rewarded based on reliable supply of those services.
Post-consumer material is material generated by households or commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, in their role as end-users of the product, which can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of material from the distribution chain (Standards Australia, 2000).
Post-occupancy evaluation (POE)
A systematic way of comparing actual building performance with stated performance criteria usually undertaken by organisational or facility managers; usually undertaken after the building has been occupied for at least one year and seeks to measure and evaluate user satisfaction, fitness for purpose (based on client requirements), technical performance and value for money (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Water which is suitable for human consumption and is commonly referred to as drinking water.
'In order to protect the environment, the Precautionary Approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation' (Rio Declaration, 1992, Principle 15).
Pre-consumer material is material diverted from the waste stream during a manufacturing process. It excludes the re-utilisation of materials, such as rework, regrind or scrap, generated in a process and which is capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated it.
Pre-functional performance test
A pre-functional performance test involves a series of tests for specified equipment or systems, which determine that the systems are installed correctly, start up, and are prepared for the functional performance tests. Often these tests are in a check-list format. The pre-functional test check-lists may be completed as part of the normal contractor start-up test.
Current value of a future amount or scheme or payments discounted at an appropriate discount rate (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
The maintenance contractor performs regular inspections, maintenance and calibration according to an agreed schedule, and reports any obvious deterioration of the plant. The owner is responsible for the cost of all major repairs.
The inclusion of external considerations into product design and development processes (Allenby, 1991; Fiksel, 1993) so that environmental impacts are considered at every step of the value chain (Hart, 1995).
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The average temperature of the objects and surfaces that surround us, which radiate heat to (and absorb radiant heat from) our bodies.
Rainwater harvesting refers to 'water harvested (or collected) from rainfall or other precipitation for use in domestic or commercial operations'. http://www.savewater.com.au/
Recommissioning refers to the periodic re-testing of building systems, using the original functional performance tests to ensure the equipment continues to operate as designed. The purpose of recommissioning is to ensure that the facility continues to perform as expected over its useful life.
Recycled content refers to the proportion, by mass, of recycled material in a product or packaging. Only pre-consumer and post-consumer materials shall be considered for recycled content.
Material that would otherwise be destined for disposal but is diverted or separated from the waste stream, reintroduced as material feedstock and processed into marketed end products (Property Council of Australia, 2001). Materials that have been reprocessed from recovered material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product (EcoRecycle, 2003).
Treated sewage that undergoes additional, advanced treatment to make it safe for certain uses such as landscape irrigation.
A cyclic process of respecting the ecological integrity of all products, materials and structures (natural or anthropogenic) by extending and/or adapting their form and or use so that their useful material cycle is not terminated via relegation to landfill or incineration; set of processes (including biological) for converting recovered materials that would otherwise be disposed of as wastes, into useful materials and or products; closed loop recycling - process in which the reclaimed output is used as an input to the same product system; open loop recycling - process in which the reclaimed output is used as an input to another product system (AS/NZS 3831-1998).
A device installed in luminaires used to direct light from a source via specular or diffuse reflection.
The remodeling, refashioning and general renovation of a building, site, product or social and community infrastructure (Fawcett et al., 2006).
Registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (REACH)
REACH was passed as a legislative instrument in December 2005. REACH reverses the burden of proof for the risk classification of new chemicals, so that any manufacturer of greater than ten tonnes of a new substance must demonstrate it will not have adverse effects under a completely revised assessment process (see the Introduction to REACH).
The ratio of the amount of water vapour in air to the maximum amount of water that the same volume of air can hold at the same temperature, expressed as a percentage.
A product that can be grown or naturally replenished or cleansed at a rate that exceeds human depletion of the resource (Property Council of Australia, 2001).
Renewable energy is obtained from sources that can be sustained indefinitely. Examples of renewable energy systems include photovoltaic solar collection, solar thermal turbine generation and wind power (Docklands, 2002).
Rent - gross
In a gross lease all operating costs on the property (excluding direct tenancy expenses) are included in the rental (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
Rent - net
In a net lease the owner recovers outgoings from the tenant on a pro-rata basis (where applicable) (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
The build-up of sound within an architectural space, such as a room, as a result of repeated sound reflections at the surfaces of the room.
The process of correctly sizing equipment to the peak load.
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In public, commercial or industrial buildings include toilets, urinals, basin taps, and showerheads.
Seasonal performance tests
Seasonal performance tests include the full range of test procedures carried out to determine if all components, equipment, systems and interfaces between systems function according to design intent during heating or cooling design days. When it is not practical to perform the test during an actual design day, these conditions may be simulated.
The desired temperature, humidity, or pressure in a space, duct, etc.
Sick building syndrome
A range of non-specific health symptoms that occur in a high proportion (30% or more) of occupants of specific buildings without clearly identified causes. These buildings are generally, but not exclusively, air-conditioned offices.
Sick building syndrome
Illness in which the symptoms (including headache, lethargy, nausea, dizziness, lack of concentration, irritability, and irritation of eyes, throat, nose and skin) (Heerwagen, 2000) are attributed to a poorly designed and/or maintained building.
Features of social organisation such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit (Putman, 1995).
A measure representing the proportion of total speech information available to the listener's ear for a given speech material.
Run-off due to rainfall collected from roofs, impervious surfaces and drainage systems.
A sustainability report differs from an environmental report or an environmental, health and safety (EHS) report. It presents a holistic picture of company activities and provides a balanced view of benefits and trade-offs among social, economic and environmental impacts. http://www.sustreport.org/business/report/intro_lg.html
Sustainable construction refers to construction where the impacts of building activity on resources, biodiversity and eco-system services are accounted for as part of the whole-of-life of the project. An outcome of sustainable construction is no net negative impact on financial, natural and social capital over the lifetime of the project.
Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987).
Synergistic effects (of chemicals)
Synergistic effects occur when the health impacts of a chemical combination are greater than the sum of the impacts of the individual chemicals (National Institute of Building Sciences, 2006).
In a narrower sense, system commissioning refers to the act of statically and dynamically testing the operation of equipment and building systems to ensure they operate as designed and can satisfactorily meet the needs of the building throughout the entire range of operating conditions.
A systems view is a holistic approach that creates a closed industrial system, analogous to a natural ecosystem, where waste from one industry can be used as input for another (Graedel & Allenby, 2003).
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The difference in temperature between the floor and the ceiling.
The ability of a material to absorb heat energy. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like concrete, bricks and tiles. They are therefore said to have high thermal mass. Lightweight materials such as timber have low thermal mass (http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/technical).
A device that responds to temperature changes and controls equipment by seeking a set-point accordingly.
Third-party commissioning refers to the use of a commissioning agent that is independent of other parties to the delivery of the building project.
The term 'training' describes a formalised learning activity. To be effective, training should embody the principles of learning and creating awareness. It needs to be focused on the learner and driven by the learner. This encourages genuine, personalised learning and skills development.
Triple Bottom Line (TBL)
A framework for measuring and reporting corporate performance against economic, social and environmental parameters (http://www.sustainability.com).
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Variable air volume (VAV)
A type of air-handling system that provides air at a constant temperature and varies the air quantity to each zone to match the variation in room load.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Chemical compounds based on carbon and hydrogen structure that are vaporized at room temperatures. VOCs are one type of indoor air contaminant. Although thousands have been identified in indoor air, only a few are well understood and regulated (Property Council of Australia, 2001). These chemicals are found in paints and other building products. They are known to cause health problems, including asthma and other respiratory ailments (Docklands, 2002).
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Water Efficiency Labelling scheme (WELS)
Water Efficiency Labelling scheme that provides mandatory water-efficient labelling for appliances, including showerheads, washing machines, flow controllers, dishwashers, toilets, taps and urinals. WELS-labelled products are given a water efficiency star rating from one to six.
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The derived percentage return of a property assessed from the net income and market value or price. It is calculated by dividing the net income by the operating value or price (REIV, API & PCA, 2007).
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ABCB: Australian Building Codes Board
ABGR: Australian Building Greenhouse Rating
AGO: Australian Greenhouse Office of the Australian Government's Department of the Environment and Water Resources. This policy area now falls under the newly formed Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
BDP: Australian Council of Building Design Professionals
COAG: Council of Australian Governments
Commercial building: Buildings of Class 5-9 in accordance with the Building Code of Australia classification.
GBCA: Green Building Council of Australia
ISO: International Organization for Standardization
NPRF: National Plumbing Regulators Forum
OH&S: Occupational Health and Safety
SA: Standards Australia
SHGF: Solar heat gain factor
U-value: The overall heat transfer coefficient.
Allenby, B (1991). Design for environment: A tool whose time has come. SSA Journal, Sept 6-9.
Davidson, M. and Dolnick, F. eds. (1999). A Glossary of Zoning, Development and Planning Terms. In Planning and Advisory Service Reports Number 491/492. Chicago, IL: American Planning Association.
Davies, R. (2005). Green Value - Green Buildings, Growing Assets. London: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, United Kingdom. http://www.rics.org/greenvalue/
Department of Environment and Water Resources (2007a), Environmental management systems, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, Accessed 24 May, 2007, from http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/industry/corporate/ems.html
Docklands Authority. (2002). Melbourne Docklands ESD Guide: Ecologically Sustainable Development, Melbourne Docklands.
Ecorecycle. (2003). Local Government Data Collection 2001-2002 Kerbside Waste Management Services. Ecorecycle.
Fawcett, A., Palich, N., & Nervegna, L. (2006). Glossary of ESD Terms. In Australian Council of Building Design Professions - BDP Environment Design Guide: The Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
Fiksel, J (1993). Design for environment: The new quality imperative. Corporate Environmental Strategy, 1: 49-55.
Genencor International (2002), Glossary, Palo Alto, California: Genencor International, Accessed 24 May, 2007. For more details, go here: http://www.genencor.com/cms/connect/genencor
Graedel, T.E. & Allenby, B.R. (2003), Industrial ecology, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Green Building Council of Australia (2006), The dollars and sense of green buildings: building the business case for green commercial buildings in Australia, Sydney: Green Building Council of Australia.
Hart, SL (1995) A natural-resource-based view of the firm. Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review, Oct.
Heerwagen, J (2000). Green buildings, organizational success and occupant productivity. Building Research & Information, 28 (5/6), pp 353-367.
Lewis, H. & Gertsakis, J. (2001), Design + environment: a global guide to designing greener goods, Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.
McDonough, W., Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle / Remaking the Way We Make Things. North Point Press.
National Institute of Building Sciences (2006), Operations and maintenance: barriers and issues - synergistic effects of indoor air pollutants, Washington: National Institute of Building Sciences, Accessed 24 May, 2007, from http://ieq.nibs.org/om/bi_synergy.php
NSW Environmental Protection Agency (2001), State of the environment 2000 - glossary, Sydney: Department of Environment and Climate Change, Accessed 24 May, 2007, from http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/soe/soe2000/glossary/print_glossary.htm.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2001), Extended producer responsibility: a guidance manual for governments, Paris: OECD.
Property Council of Australia (PCA). (2001). Sustainable Development Guide.
Putman, RD (1995). Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital. Journal of Democracy 6.1, pp 65-78.
Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2004), Sustainability roadmap - glossary, Brisbane: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Accessed 15 May, 2007, from http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/
Real Estate Institute of Victoria, Australian Property Institute & Property Council of Australia (2007), Glossary of property terms, Canberra: REIV, API & PCA.
Schmidt-Bleek, F. (2000), Factor 10 manifesto, Carnoules, France: Factor 10 Institute, Accessed 24 May, 2007, from http://factor10-institute.org/files/F10_Manifesto_e.pdf
Standards Australia (2000), AS/NZS ISO 14021:2000 Environmental labels and declarations, self-declared environmental claims (type II environmental labelling), Sydney: Standards Australia.
The Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH). (1992). National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development, http://www.deh.gov.au/esd/
The Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH). (2006). ESD Design Guide for Australian Government Buildings (2nd edition). http://www.deh.gov.au/settlements/publications/government/esd-design/
WCED, World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our Common Future, Oxford University Press, New York.
World Resources Institute (1999), 'Are business and industry taking sustainability seriously?' Earth trends: the environmental information portal, Economic, Business and Environment features, Accessed 24 May, 2007, from http://earthtrends.wri.org/features/view_feature.php?theme=5&fid=2
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