Carbon Footprint

Electromagnetic Frequencies

Embodied Energy

EPDM Membrane


Heat Recovery Ventilator


Indoor Air Quality

Life Cycle Costing

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Net Zero Energy Factor


Phantom Loads

Photovoltaic Panel

Sick Building Syndrome

Silicate Dispersion

STC Rating

Thermal Energy Storage

Trihalomethanes (THM)

Vesica Piscies

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)



Borates are naturally-occurring minerals containing boron, the fifth element on the Periodic Table.  Trace amounts exist in rock, soil and water.  Plants need them to grow.  People need borates, too, as an important part of a healthy diet and an essential ingredient in many products necessary for an acceptable standard of living.


Carbon Foot Print

A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources. Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services. It is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted. Once you are aware of your carbon footprint, you can take steps to reduce it through sustainable energy materials and practices.


Electromagnetic Frequencies & Electromagnetic Field (EMF/ELF)

 Electromagnetic field refers to an area where electromagnetic interaction occurs.  This is caused by electrically charged objects.  It is a combination of an electric (stationary charges) field and a magnetic (moving charges) field.


Embodied Energy

This is the total amount of energy that was used to make any product (fuel, man power, transportation, resources) from the point of extraction of the materials to the final in store product. So the greater the process of manufacturing, production and shipping, the greater the embodied energy.


EPDM membrane (ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber)

EPDM has many uses but in our case, is used as a covering to waterproof roofs. It has the benefit that it does not pollute the run-off rainwater, which is of vital importance if the house owner wishes to use this water for personal sanitation/hygiene.


FSC  – Forest Stewardship Council

is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. To ensure you are using wood and lumber that comes from a sustainable source, look or ask for the FSC stamp or companies that are certified suppliers.



Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) 

is an energy recovery ventilation system using equipment known as a heat recovery ventilator, heat exchanger, air exchanger, or air-to-air heat exchanger which employs a counter-flow heat exchanger (countercurrent heat exchange) between the inbound and outbound air flow. HRV provides fresh air and improved climate control, while also saving energy by reducing heating (and cooling) requirements.



is a mixture of hemp hurds (shives) and lime (possibly including natural hydraulic lime, sand,pozzolans or cement) used as a material for construction and insulation. Hempcrete is easier to work than traditional lime mixes and acts as an insulator and moisture regulator. It lacks the brittleness of concrete and consequently does not needexpansion joints.

However, the typical compressive strength is about 1/20 that of residential grade concrete and therefore must have a separate support system for the vertical loads. Hempcrete’s density is 15% of traditional concrete, as well as carbon negative. Like other plant products, the hemp crop absorbs CO2 gas as it grows, retaining the carbon and releasing the oxygen which is better for air quality.


IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

The quality of air in a building, specifically in relation to the health and comfort of the building occupants.  IAQ can be affected by particles, such as dust, floating in the air, VOCs or other contaminants such as mold spores.


Life Cycle Costing

A way of assessing the total costs of operation, ownership and maintenance of a building over the entire life span of the building.  This process is used to illustrate the benefits and cost paybacks of implementing green solutions that may have more of an up front cost but in the long run will save the owner money.


MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Reactions to many different types of pollutants, similar to an allergic reaction.  Treatment of MCS is difficult because the mechanism of the cause is often not clearly understood, unlike allergies.  Extremely low levels of irritants, such as perfumes, gas, smoke, VOCs, etc., can cause allergy-like symptoms.  


Net Zero Energy Factor 

Buildings that have very high energy performance and use very low to zero primary energy . The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including energy from renewable sources produced on-site or nearby.



is a theory of ecological design which attempts to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. It also draws from organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology. The word “permaculture” originally referred to “permanent agriculture” but was expanded to also stand for “permanent culture,” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system.


Phantom Loads 

Also known as standby power or vampire power, is the electricity consumed by an electronic device while it is turned off or in standby mode. It is the power that maintains your TV settings and keeps the clock going on your VCR and microwave. A study between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and several other environmental agencies estimate it to be 10% of your monthly energy bill!


Photovoltaic (PV) Panel 

is a panel that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material.

Sick Building Syndrome

The occurrence of the building occupants experiencing health related symptoms.  These symptoms can be caused by aspects of the building such as the building materials, poor ventilation, indoor air quality etc.


Silicate Dispersion 

also known as Inorganic Mineral Paint. It was developed in Germany in the late 1800s. It uses a liquid mineral ( potassium silicate) as the binder, which determines the fundamentally different attributes of Silicate Dispersion Paints. Unlike latex resins, Minerals do not not age. Silicate Paint does not form a film, but bonds by penetrating into the surface and by petrification into a stone-like micro-crystalline coating, which repells liquid water, but allows water-vapours to pass through. You can find these at

  • Unprecedented Durability
  • Anti-microbial without fungicides
  • Solvent-free
  • Odourless within hours
  • 97% Mineral content in water
  • Non-combustible at any temperature
  • Abundant raw material availability


STC Rating – Sound Transmission Class

A number that represents the noise level or compares the transmission of noises through different partitions.  It is measured using ASTM E 90 and calculated according to ASTM E 413. As a general rule, the higher the STC rating, the better the partition’s acoustical performance.


Thermal Energy Storage 

Comprises a number of technologies that store thermal energy in energy storage reservoirs for later use. They can be used to balance energy demand between day time and night time. The thermal reservoir may be maintained at a temperature above (hotter) or below (colder) that of the ambient environment. The applications today include the production of ice, chilled water, or eutectic solution at night, or hot water which is then used to cool / heat environments during the day


THM – Trihalomethanes

are chemical compounds in which three of the four hydrogen atoms of methane (CH4) are replaced by halogen atoms. Many trihalomethanes find uses in industry as solvents or refrigerants. THMs are also environmental pollutants, and many are considered carcinogenic.


Vesica Piscis 

File:Vesica Piscis.svg

A shape that is created between the intersection of two circles with the same radius, where the center of each circle lies on the circumference of the other. The name literally means the “bladder of a fish” in Latin. The vesica piscis is used as a shape in sacred geometry and  has been the subject of mystical speculation at several periods of history.



VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds

A chemical that off-gasses or evaporates at room temperature, usually found in household paints and stains and causes sickness.