Useful Glossary

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  Airtightness-  becoming more and more important as part of the building regulations to avoid unwanted draughts and air leakage resulting in wasted energy use.

Alternative energy- enrgy produced using non-carbon resourses such as solar, wind, air, water and ground sources.

Biomass- common sources are waste wood products, agricultural waste, municipal waste all being organic material not used in commercial or food products.

Biofuel- any fuel that is derived from biomass providing a renewable energy source.

Breathable construction- describes the various layers of roof or wall construction allowing moisture to pass through without causing condensation problems.

Carbon index- a method to express the amount of COª created in use per square metre of building.

Carbon neutral- describes a building design that consumes no fuels releasing COª or uses renewable forms of completely offset the total production of COª related to the building.

Cold bridge- describes any heat loss path through a material which has a significantly lower insulation value than its surrounding materials. This creates a bridge between a warm and a cold environment thus promoting condensation.

Embodied energy- the energy used to produce a material including material extraction, manufacture and transportation.

Future proofing- the ability to adapt to future trends.

Greenhouse effect- term describing the earth heating up as a result of radiation from the sun being trapped within the atmosphere by atmospheric gases which then act as insulators preventing heat from the warming of the earth escaping into space. This has been worsened in recent years by human activity increasing the production of gases such as methane and COª .

Green roof- a living roof finish such as grasses or sedum.

Interstitial condensation- this happens where warm moist air meets a cold surface within a construction and condenses. This can reduce the effectiveness of insulation, lead to deterioration and an unhealthy atmosphere for occupants.


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