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A-1 Glossary of Terms and Definitions A P P E N D I X A Biodiesel Biodiesel is a domestic, renewable fuel for diesel engines derived from natural oils like soybean oil. Biodiesel can be used in any concentration with petroleum based diesel fuel in existing diesel engines with little or no modification. Carbon Dioxide A naturally occurring gas, carbon dioxide is also a by-product of burning fossil fuels and biomass, as well as land-use changes and other industrial processes. It is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas that affects the Earthâs radiative balance. It is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured and therefore has a Global Warming Potential of 1. See climate change and global warming. Carbon Emissions Carbon emissions refers to polluting carbon substances released into atmosphere: carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide produced by motor vehicles and industrial processes and forming pollutants in the atmosphere. Carbon Footprint A carbon footprint is an estimate of how much carbon dioxide is produced to support your lifestyle. Essentially, it measures your impact on the climate based on how much carbon dioxide you produce. Factors that contribute to your carbon footprint include your travel methods and general home energy usage. Carbon footprints can also be applied on a larger scale to companies, businesses, even countries. Carbon Offsets Carbon offsets are used to reduce the amount of carbon that an individual or institution emits into the atmosphere. Carbon offsets work in a financial system where, instead of reducing its own carbon use, a company can comply with emissions caps by purchasing an offset from an independent organization. The organization will then use that money to fund a project that reduces carbon in the atmosphere. An individual can also engage with this system and similarly pay to offset his or her own personal carbon usage instead of, or in addition to, taking direct measures such as driving less or recycling.
A-2 Guidebook for Incorporating Sustainability into Traditional Airport Projects Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change may result from: â¢ Natural factors, such as changes in the sunâs intensity or slow changes in the Earthâs orbit around the sun; â¢ Natural processes within the climate system (e.g., changes in ocean circulation); â¢ Human activities that change the atmosphereâs composition (e.g., through burning fossil fuels) and the land surface (e.g., deforestation, reforestation, urbanization, desertification, etc.). Composting Composting is the controlled biological decomposition of organic material in the presence of air to form a humus-like material. Controlled methods of composting include mechanical mixing and aerating, ventilating the materials by dropping them through a vertical series of aerated chambers, or placing the compost in piles out in the open air and mixing it or turning it periodically. Energy Star Energy Star is a program that evaluates the energy efficiency of appliances, house fixtures and other home utilities. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Star program seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by identifying energy efficient appliances, helping Americans save money on utility bills with more energy efficient homes. Energy Star ratings can be applied to a variety of household appliances, fixtures, and materials, including refrigerators, washers, dryers, lighting fixtures, computers, home electronics, windows, and heating insulation. When replacing an appliance or fixture in your home, look for the Energy Star label on products that are energy efficient and help protect the environment. When building a new home, you can also hire certified contractors who agree to actively build Energy Star-rated homes. Geothermal Energy Geothermal energy is electricity generated by harnessing hot water or steam from within the earth. Global Warming Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earthâs surface and in the troposphere which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns. Global warming can occur from a variety of causes, both natural Climate Change Carbon offsets are most often used by companies or institutions to reduce their carbon footprint without actually polluting less. Most offsets involve renewable energy. For example, a company in Massachusetts can pay to build a wind turbine off the coast. By using its money to create renewable energy, that company thereby offsets its own carbon use.
Glossary of Terms and Definitions A-3 Domestic wastewater composed of wash water from kitchen, bathroom, and laundry sinks, tubs, and washers is referred to as gray water. Greenhouse Effect The greenhouse effect refers to the trapping and build-up of heat in the atmosphere (troposphere) near the Earthâs surface. Some of the heat flowing back toward space from the Earthâs surface is absorbed by water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, and several other gases in the atmosphere and then reradiated back toward the Earthâs surface. If the atmospheric concentrations of these greenhouse gases rise, the average temperature of the lower atmosphere will gradually increase. See greenhouse gas, anthropogenic, climate, global warming.7 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere is considered a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases include, but are not limited to, water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). See carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride. Ozone (O3) Ozone, the triatomic form of oxygen (O3), is a gaseous atmospheric constituent. In the troposphere, it is created both naturally and by photochemical reactions involving gases resulting from human activities (photochemical smog). In high concentrations, tropospheric ozone can be harmful to a wide range of living organisms. Tropospheric ozone acts as a greenhouse gas. In the stratosphere, ozone is created by the interaction between solar ultraviolet radiation and molecular oxygen (O2). Stratospheric ozone plays a decisive role in the stratospheric radiative balance. Depletion of stratospheric ozone, due to chemical reactions that may be enhanced by climate change, results in an increased ground-level flux of ultraviolet (UV-) B radiation. See atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation. Phantom Load A phantom load is the electricity consumed by an appliance or electrical device when it is not actively being used or is in the âoffâ mode. Although these devices appear to be off, they continue to draw electricity from outlets to keep their circuits instantly ready for the next time they are turned on. To prevent the draw of phantom loads, unplug any devices that are not in use and do not require power, such as computers, modems, answering machines, fax machines, and printers. Gray Water and human induced. In common usage, âglobal warmingâ often refers to the warming that can occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. See climate change, greenhouse effect, enhanced greenhouse effect, radiative forcing, troposphere.
A-4 Guidebook for Incorporating Sustainability into Traditional Airport Projects The term renewable energy generally refers to electricity supplied from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, geothermal, hydropower, and various forms of biomass. These energy sources are considered renewable sources because they are continuously replenished on the Earth. Solar Panels Solar panels are a type of photovoltaic (PV) system that collects energy from sunlight and converts it into usable energy for a building. Also called photovoltaic (PV) cells, solar panels typically contain no corrosive chemicals, do not pollute, and require little maintenance. During daylight hours, PV panels produce energy that is fed back into the electrical grid or stored for future use. Solar Radiation Solar radiation is radiation emitted by the sun. It is also referred to as short-wave radiation. Solar radiation has a distinctive range of wavelengths (spectrum) determined by the temperature of the sun. See ultraviolet radiation, infrared radiation, radiation. Sustainable Meeting the needs of the present without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their needs is the definition of sustainability. Sustainability also means that human practices do not result in the permanent damage, alteration or depletion of the environment, ecosystems, species or natural resources. Wind Energy Wind energy is energy collected from motion caused by heavy winds. Wind energy is collected in turbines with propellers that spin when the wind blows and turn the motion of the propeller into energy that can be used in the electrical grid. Wind energy is a clean, renewable energy source that is abundant in windy areas. Large wind farms are often located outside of cities, supplying power for electrical grids within the city. Glossary Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (December 1997) Terms of Environment: Glossary, Abbreviations and Acronyms. Washington, D.C. Available on-line at: http://www.epa.gov/OCEPAterms Renewable Energy Recycling Collecting and reprocessing a resource so it can be used again is referred to as recycling. An example is collecting aluminum cans, melting them down, and using the aluminum to make new cans or other aluminum products.