and/or landscape (2) • Rapidly Renewable Materials: Material that is considered to be an agricultural product that takes 10 years or less to grow or raise and to harvest in an ongoing and sustainable fashion. Examples include bamboo flooring, biocomposite veneers, fiber-based finishes, wool and cotton insulation. (2, 3) • Retrofit: The replacement, upgrade, or improvement of a piece of equipment or structure in an existing building or facility. (1) • Salvage: Building materials diverted from the waste stream intended for reuse. Commonly salvaged materials include structural beams and posts, flooring, doors, cabinetry, brick and decorative items. (2) • Scientific Certifcation Systems (SCS): A third-party assessment body that offers evaluation and certification services to a broad range of manufacturing sectors. Their Eco Product Certifications include: Environmentally Preferable Products, Sustainable Choice, four Indoor Air Quality Certifications and Material Content. (8) • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): The measure of the energy efficiency for air conditioners and the cooling side of heat pumps. The higher this number, the better, with code being 14 SEER. (1) • Solar Electric Systems: Electricity producing systems that directly convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Photovoltaic systems consist of solar panels, an inverter and controller, and are either off grid or grid tied. (1) • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): The fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window or screen, both directly transmitted and absorbed, and subsequently released into the living space. (1) • Solar Thermal Systems: Energy producing systems that gather the sun's radiant energy to heat air or water for use as domestic hot water or space heating. • Spray Foam Insulation: The insulation is applied as a liquid is sprayed through a nozzle into wall, ceiling, and floor cavities where it expands to fill every nook and cranny. Spray foam insulation makes it easy to completely fill wall cavities with insulation and to perform air sealing in the same step. (9) • Stormwater Management: To protect the local ecology and hydrology, limit and control stormwater runoff by providing for onsite storage and filtration. Pervious pavement systems, reduced amounts of impervious pavement (concrete, asphalt), rainwater collection, green roofs, rain gardens (bioretention) and constructed wetlands are methods to accomplish this. (3) • Straw-Bale Construction: Alternative build-
ing method using bales of straw for wall systems in place of standard construction materials. (2) • Structural Insulated Panel (SIP): Manufactured panels consisting of a sandwich of polystyrene between two layers of engineered wood paneling. SIPS can be used for walls, roof or flooring, and result in a structure very resistant to air infiltration. (2) • Thermal Mass: A mass (often stone, tile, concrete or brick) used to store heat and reduce temperature fluctuation in a space by releasing heat slowly over time. Used in passive solar design. (2, 3) • Universal Design: The design of products and environments that are usable by all people, regardless of age or physical ability, to the greatest extent possible, without adaptation or specialized design. (6) • Volatile Organic Compound (VOC): Carbon compounds that become a gas at normal room temperatures. This class of chemical compounds can cause nausea, tremors, headaches and, some doctors believe, longlasting harm. VOCs can be emitted by oilbased paints, solvent-based finishes, formaldehyde-laden products and other products on or in construction materials. (2, 3) • WaterSense: Modeled after Energy Star, the EPA's new water efficiency program seeks to educate consumers about water efficiency through an easily identifiable logo. Products include fixtures, faucets, showerheads, irrigation systems and toilets. WaterSense differs from Energy Star in that a product's conformance to EPA standards must be independently tested before qualifying for the label. (7) • Wind Power: Systems that convert air movement into mechanical or electrical energy. Driven by the wind, turbine blades turn a generator or power a mechanical pump. Wind generators include a tower and wind turbine, and can be off-grid or grid-tied. (2, 3) • Xeriscaping: Landscaping design for conserving water that uses drought-resistant or drought-tolerant plants. (2) Sources: (1) Sourcebook Glossary, www.austinenergy.com (2) City of Seattle, www.cityofseattle.net (3) 2007 N.C. Sustainable Energy Association’s Tour Book (4) www.filterair.info (5) Environmental Building News December 2008, (6) www.universaldesign.org (7) Environmental Building News January 2008 (8) www.scscertified.com (9) www.toolbase.org (10) http://apps1.eere.energy.gov (11) www.energystar.gov
Cooking with Science: Induction cooktops Induction cooktops look the same as a glass-top electric range, but they work very differently. Induction cooktops have several big advantages for green homes: ■ The cooktop works by heating the pot, not the burner, so it transfers heat more efficiently to the food, cooking it faster and with less indoor heat buildup in the summer. ■ Since the cooktop only gets warm because the pot is sitting on it, spills don’t burn onto the surface and it’s much easier to clean. Since burn-off from traditional electric stoves (or gas flames) is an indoor air quality concern, induction cooktops reduce this source of indoor air contaminants. ■ Induction cooking is fast and instantly controllable. Water boils in a minute or two and the heat turns down as quickly as a gas flame. It’s actually more controllable than a gas flame because the numbered controls help you learn the precise settings for boiling, simmering, and other frequent tasks. ■ For high-end kitchens, induction offers attractive design options, without the need for an over-sized kitchen range hood. Over-sized kitchen hoods (often paired with commercial gas ranges) require expensive and inefficient makeup air to prevent tight homes from depressurizing. ■ In a net-zero home, it often doesn’t make financial sense to have multiple energy sources. Induction cooking offers a highly functional way to cook in an all-electric home. Induction cooktops work by using an alternating electric current in a copper coil inside the cooktop to “induce” an electric current in the pot. This requires that cast iron or stainless steel cookware be used. The pot itself heats the food. Induction cooktops are fast becoming preferred by chefs and homeowners alike, with environmentally-conscious consumers as early adopters. — By Amy Musser, Vandemusser Design
A primary tool for education, outreach and expansion of the green building industry in Western North Carolina.