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Glossary
A summary of eco-renovation jargon

If there's something missing from this list
you think should be here, please let us know.
Contact toby (at) coinet.org.uk

Accumulator - Device to store the heat produced by a wood burning stove and release it in a controlled manner.

Biodiesel
– a liquid fuel made by blending
vegetable oil with solvents which can be
used as a transport fuel. Biodiesel can be
made from a variety of oils, some of which
are from unsustainable sources such as
coconut or palm oil. Biodiesel is different
from using straight vegetable oil on its own.
From 15 April this year all forecourt diesel
has 2.5% biodiesel in it.

Biomass – any type of grown plant matter, ranging from logs, wood pellets and wood chip through to elephant grass and other materials. It can be combusted to produce heat or power.

Carbon emissions – carbon dioxide pollution from an activity that uses fossil

fuel; for example, flying, heating a house with oil, gas or coal, driving a car that
runs on petrol or diesel. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and is a major cause of climate change. Mains gas and electricity result in carbon emissions, with electricity producing over twice that of gas.

Carbon neutral - Any process or material that takes up as much Co2 as it releases over its life cyscle.

Cavity wall - modern form of construction where two skins of brickwork have a gap between them, which should be filled with an insulating foam/other material

Condensing boiler - a boiler that uses some of the heat normally lost in the flue.

Dead leg - the length of pipe, that hot water passes through from the boiler to the tap - the shorter the better.

Dual flush - simple mechanical flush on toilet, allowing heavy or light flushing options

Ecological footprint – the amount of land it takes to support all our needs for resources, including water, food, fuels, materials and waste disposal.

Energy efficiency – the use of technology
that requires less energy to perform the same function, for example using triple ‘A’ rated white goods or energy efficient light bulbs.

Latest case studies:


Energy efficiency – the use of technology
that requires less energy to perform the same function, for example using triple ‘A’ rated white goods or energy efficient light bulbs.

Evacuated tubes – a type of solar thermal unit, it is a pipe in a vacuum sealed tube that collects heat from the sun to produce hot water.

Ecohomes excellent – a standard by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to rate a new-build house against a number of benchmarked ecological features. This has recently been replaced by the Code for Sustainable Homes, against which all newbuild houses must be rated.

Greywater recycling – collecting waste water from sinks, showers and baths and reusing it for toilet flushing or watering the garden. Grey water is waste water that has not been mixed with sewage.


Heat exchanger -
device for transferring heat, such as air to air or air to water, which can allow ventilation without heat-loss. Keeping home heat in this way is called heat recovery. This can be done with a heat pump.

Hydroelectricity
(electricity)
Electric power produced by hydroelectric generators. Also known as hydropower.
Electricity generated from the energy of running water, usually water falling over a dam.

Insulation
Material used to slow the transfer of heat through walls so as to reduce energy costs and help maintain a uniform temperature.
Example: These materials are frequently used as insulation: fiberglass, mineral wool, cellulose, foam, and urethane. Asbestos is no longer used because airborne particles may cause lung disease.

K-glass - double glazed unit, coated with a special film to keep in heat, making it excellent

Lime - natural alternative to cement, that can be used in mortar and renders.

Passive solar design – a design form that uses less mains energy through taking
advantage of natural elements; sun, wind, air and earth. It uses factors such as building orientation, solar gain, super insulation, thermal mass and passive ventilation to provide heating and cooling.

Photovoltaic
Capable of producing a voltage when exposed to radiant energy, especially light - usually mounted on a south acing roof


Rainwater harvesting – collecting water that falls on a roof and using it. A good way to reduce the amount of drinking-quality water used in a house by using rainwater for washing clothes, flushing a toilet or watering the garden.

Renewables – systems which produce energy and hot water in a way that doesn’t depend on fossil fuels such as gas and mains electricity. Examples include solar thermal units for hot water and photovoltaic panels or wind turbines for electricity

Sick building syndrome - a catch-all phrase describing poor ventilation, inadequate daylight and toxic materials, leading to discomfort and health problems.

Solar energy (astrophysics)
The energy transmitted from the sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

Solar gain - heat from the sun, entering through windows

Solar thermal – using the sun’s energy to directly heat water. Can be a solar panel or evacuated tube.

Sustainable urban drainage – an outside surface that is porous to allow water
to be absorbed by it, which is good for reducing flooding risk.

Thermal break - a material that doesn't transmit heat well, usually inserted between materials that do conduct heat, to reduce heat loss.

Thermal mass - a dense material used to store large amounts of heat in the building

Vapour control layer - a sheet that blocks water vapour in a wall or roof - often made of polythene.

Water irrigation-the controlled application of water for agricultural purposes through manmade systems to supply water requirements not satisfied by rainfall.

Zero carbon – a building/development that generates no total carbon emissions
resulting from energy use from heating, hot water or electricity use. This is achieved by best practice in energy efficiency plus use of renewables



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