Fifteen Sustainability Terms You Should Know
By admin February 3, 2021

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Here are fifteen Sustainability terms you should know.

via Architectural Digest:

“The former U.S. poet laureate W.S. Merwin, who designed his own home in a palm tree sanctuary he planted himself on the island of Maui, once said, “Our hope is not a thing in the future; it’s a way of seeing the present.” That’s a useful mindset at the start of 2021, as designers become ever more aware of their potential to sway clients toward environmentally gentle, lower-carbon living. So much can be done right now if you know some sustainability basics and how to explain them easily. In that spirit, we’ve put together this easy reference glossary you can put to use immediately in day-to-day conversations and projects, helping those around you see the opportunities right at hand.

Carbon Budget

Here’s the big picture: International scientists agree that unless we stop emitting vast quantities of Earth-blanketing greenhouse gases, it’s going to get way too hot for any kind of normal life. The planet has already warmed one degree Celsius, and we’ve seen the impact. If we heat up past 1.5 degrees, things get much worse. To help prevent this, scientists have calculated a “budget” for how much carbon we can emit this century to stay under that threshold. We only have 8% of that budget left, so every chance to avoid burning fossil fuels for energy or product manufacturing at this point is critical.

Sustainable Grid and Renewables

The easiest way to make a dent in fossil fuel use is to swap out our energy sources from oil and gas to sun, wind, and hydropower. Those cleaner, ever-ready sources are called renewables, and when community electric grids use more of them, emissions drop sharply. It’s a two-step formula: First, electrify buildings; then make sure electric grids are powered by renewables.

Net Zero

You’ll see this phrase a lot in the news—it’s usually about energy usage. Imagine a building with solar panels on its roof. When that building is providing as much power for itself as it’s taking from the grid, that building is “netting out” to neutral energy usage.

Lately, cities are talking about aiming for Net Zero Carbon too, referring to a dramatic reduction in emissions. You’ll also hear the phrase carbon neutral (even in interior design), which means that at the end of the day, you didn’t raise the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Embodied Carbon

We typically cause emissions in two ways: by using oil and gas daily for energy, and by making stuff. Think of everything it takes to create a new home from scratch: all the oil and gas needed to manufacture and ship concrete, steel, furniture, paint, and other components. The emissions that result from the entire project are called that home’s embodied carbon, and many architects are using a new tool called EC3 to calculate it.

There are easy ways to get embodied carbon down—nearly every traditional building material has a lower-emissions alternative, and vendors have started to add those products to their lineups. Just ask!

Green Building Codes

Federal and local legislatures around the world are adopting new laws that require building owners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both during construction and in daily operation. For example, more than 40 cities in California have already banned natural gas (methane, which is even more planet-warming than carbon dioxide) hookups in new residential buildings. Green building codes are one way government leaders are trying to reach Net Zero goals.

Green Building Certifications

In addition to being the right thing to do, creating a building or design project that is easy on the environment can be great for marketing too. How do you prove it? With a badge. There are many respected certifications now, though they can be tough (and expensive) to earn. LEED is the most famous, but check out Passive HouseLiving Building ChallengeEnergy Star, and WELL certifications, too.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

An LCA is a summary of the environmental impact a product has from the moment it was created to the moment it has decayed. So, a life cycle assessment of a sofa would include its carbon footprint as it was manufactured, the chemical “new smell” it emits when it’s off-gassing, the amount of space it will eventually take up in a landfill, and more. A movement known as cradle-to-cradle has raised awareness about all these impacts.

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

An EPD is an authorized document that…

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EDITOR’S NOTE: At TBG, we believe in Science. We believe Climate Change is real and we are committed to sustainable solutions via our consulting, advisory and investment solutions. Just send an email for more information on our Energy & Environment solutions, and TBG Capital’s Cleantech investment solutions.

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Thanks for sharing !

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