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Sustainability Definitions – E

Glossary of Sustainability Terms

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Ecological Restoration is the process of assisting in the recovery and management of ecological integrity and includes biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


An ecosystem is a basic unit of nature that incudes a community of organisms and their nonliving environment linked by biological, chemical, and physical processes.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


Embodied energy is the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product, including its manufacture, transportation, and disposal, as well as the inherent energy captured within the product itself.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


Energy Intensity is the ratio of energy consumption to gross domestic product measured in Joule/USD. A demand indicator, it was originally a proxy for the energy efficiency of a country, and has been adapted to measure the energy efficiency of cities and corporations.

The first company to significantly reduce its US energy intensity within a one year time frame was Volvo: its New River Valley manufacturing plant, producer of 100% of its North American trucks, reduced its energy intensity by 30%, from 79.64 MMbtu per truck in 2009 to 60.42 MMbtu per truck in 2010.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Energy Service Company (ESCO) is a company that offers to reduce a client’s energy costs, often by capitalizing the upfront expenditures and sharing the resulting future cost savings with the client. This is typically accomplished through the use of an energy-performance contract (EPC) or a shared-savings agreement.

ESCOs may offer any of the following services: financing, design & installation, project management, education services, equipment leasing, maintenance, and verification & auditing. They originally established a foothold under the regulated utility structures by helping large organizations reduce energy consumption.

Also known as energy efficiency service providers, ESCOs are important to sustainability in that they enable companies that normally could not afford the upfront investment costs, to become more efficient, more profitable, and reduce their environmental footprint. A true win-win-win if successfully implemented.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Ecosystem Function The physical and biological processes and characteristic activities that allow an ecosystem to exist and maintain its integrity.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Emission reduction reporting is the calculating, tracking, and documenting of the greenhouse gas emissions that result directly from energy use and other operations of a building.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


An endangered species is threatened with extinction because of harmful human activities or environmental factors.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) A contract with an architect, designer, or developer in which they are paid a bit more than they conventionally would have been, but part of their fee is paid over time from the savings their solution creates in terms of either performance or efficiency. Conversely, designers and developers are often paid a percentage of the costs of the materials they specify, an incentive to be less efficient.

Related Sustainability Articles:
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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Environmental Audit An examination (sometimes independent, sometimes internal) of an individual, corporation, organization, product, service, process or government’s impact on the environment. Currently, there are few standards for conducting environmental assessments but there are emerging audit protocols, such as the ISO 14000 and 14001 tools. At the very least, an audit can assess compliance with environmental regulation. However, more sophisticated audits focus on overall environmental impact even where not required by regulations.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Ecosystem Services A collection of services provided by the Earth’s ecosystem that are usually not a part of economic analyses but that are indispensable for any human endeavors. These include: clean air and water, plant pollination, climate regulation, soil regeneration, ozone protection, shade and shelter, etc. These services offer incalculable benefits to markets, economies, and societies but neoclassical economics do not account for these benefits (or the costs to replicate them through human means) in economic measures or calculations. Therefore, they go un-valued, creating false economic affects, known as externalities and lead to faulty economic planning and decisions. Some Ecological Economic theories, however, strive to correct these deficiencies for more sophisticated and sustainable economic planning.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Environment A term loosely used to refer to the total of the Earth’s ecosystems. In an even larger sense, it includes not only the natural environment of ecological, biological, and climate conditions (the biosphere), but also the (human) social conditions that support (or not) various forms of life on the Earth. Some schools of thought cast the environmental as “uncontrollable” by individuals, organizations, governments, and societies and, therefore, ignorable. However, human activity affects the environment in many ways and to various degrees, including climate change, biodiversity, and the health and amount of forests, coral reefs, and other ecosystems.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


Efficiency The relation of outcomes, measured in a variety of ways, to the inputs required for that level of production. In business, efficiency of materials, energy, personnel, investment, and processes are commonly measured in order to measure performance and prioritize expenditures and projects. In sustainable business, a systems perspective requires addressing untraditional economic effects (such as lost energy though waste, lifecycle analysis of materials, toxicity of materials, and subsidies) as well as social and environmental effects in order to assess actually efficiency.

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Source:
The Presidio Graduate School - Online Dictionary of Sustainable Management


An energy audit identifies how much energy a building uses and the purposes for which it is used, and identifies efficiency and cost-reduction opportunities.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


Energy conservation measures are installations or modifications of equipment or systems intended to reduce energy use and costs.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


An Energy Star rating is a measure of a buildings energy performance compared with that of similar buildings, as determined by the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. A score of 50 represents average building performance.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes and cigars and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50, which are known to cause cancer.

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Source:
The US Green Building Council - LEED Reference Guide for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM)


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