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Glossary of environmental terms
BIFMA Furniture Emission Standards (FES): There are two: the BIFMA M7.1 test method and the BIFMA X7.1 conformance standard. Both have been subjected to an open consensus forum with a broad range of stakeholders including architects, designers, laboratories, scientists, researchers, manufacturers and governmental agencies.
BIFMA e3: Sustainability Standard developed to assess the environmental impacts of office furniture. The level™ certification program ensures compliance with the BIFMA e3 Sustainability Standard. (www.bifma.org )
Biodegradable: A material that is capable of decomposing in nature within a relatively short period of time.
Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC): An acronym for the Canada Green Building Council, an organization, whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of green building practices, technologies, policies, and standards. CaGBC establishes LEED Certification guidelines. (www.cagbc.org )
Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS): A collaborative of government agencies, utilities, and nonprofits that are working to improve the quality of California's schools. CHPS is developing standards for the design and construction of high performance schools.
Cradle-to-Cradle: A design protocol that advocates the elimination of waste by recycling a material or
Cradle-to-Gate: A term used to describe the LCA boundary encompassing the life cycle stages of raw material extraction and conversion to a bulk form or a generic shape.
Cradle-to-Grave: The sum total of lifecycle impacts if the product becomes waste at the end of its useful life.
Design for Disassembly: Designing a product to be dismantled for easier maintenance, repair, recovery, and reuse of components and materials.
Design for the Environment (DfE): The systematic integration of environmental attributes into the design of products and processes that focuses on reducing environmental and human health impacts.
EDS: The acronym for Environmental Data Sheet, which describes the frequently asked questions about a product's environmental attributes, aspects and impacts.
EcoLogo: Environment Canada's EcoLogoM Program is a third-party certification indicating a symbol of environmental excellence, which meets stringent environmental criteria and also meets ISO 14024 standards for eco-labeling. (www.terrachoice-certified.com )
Ecosystem: The interacting system of a biological community.
Emission: The release of any gas, particle or vapor into the environment.
Energy Star: A label used to indicate that products are energy efficient (appliances, lighting, roofing, electronics, office equipment etc. (www.energystar.gov )
Environmental Aspect: An element of human activity, product, or service that can interact positively or negatively with the environment.
Environmental Impact: Any change to the environment, good or bad, that wholly or partially results from human activities, products or services.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): FSC is a third party certification of wood products that come from responsibly managed forests, and verified recycled sources.
FSC Chain-of-Custody (CoC) is used to track materials as they leave the forest and become products, which then are identified as having come from a FSC certified forest. (www.fsc.org )
Gate-to-Gate: A term used to describe the product boundary encompassing the fabrication and assembly of business and institutional furniture. For purposes of the assessment, the entry gate is the receiving dock of the first facility where basic materials used in the manufacture of the furniture (e.g. steel, particleboard, fabric, laminate, etc.) begins the conversion to furniture components. The end gate is the shipping dock where the ready-to-install furniture is transported for distribution to the end user. The gateto-gate assessment will include transportation of intermediate materials and components between facilities where more than one physical location is included in the manufacturing process.
Green Energy: Refers to the use of energy from renewable sources. Primary green energy sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and biomass (wood and animal waste, landfill mass).
Greenguard: Indoor air emissions certification that meets the criteria of the Greenguard standard and ANSI/BIFMA M7.1-2007 and ANSI/BIFMA X7.1-2007 Furniture Emissions Standards and therefore the criteria for LEED - Commercial Interiors (CI) Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Credit 4.5 Low-Emitting Materials - Systems Furniture and Seating. (www.greenguard.org )
Greenguard Children and Schools Program: Indoor air emissions certification program that meets the criteria of California 01350, the California Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Specifications For Open Panel Office Furniture, and LEED Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit 4.5 Low-Emitting Materials - Systems Furniture and Seating. (www.greenguard.org )
Greenhouse Effect: The warming of the earth's atmosphere attributed to a buildup of carbon dioxide or other gases.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG): Gases related to human activities that accelerate the greenhouse effect, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Green Seal: Third party certification of products to environmental leadership standards. (www.greenseal.org )
Indoor Advantage Program: Developed by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) - indoor air emissions certification program that meet the criteria of ANSI/BIFMA M-7.1 test method and ANSI/BIFMA X-7.1 Furniture Emissions Standard and therefore the criteria for LEED - Commercial Interiors (CI) Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit 4.5 Low-Emitting Materials - Systems Furniture and Seating. (www.scscertified.com )
Indoor Advantage Gold Program: Developed by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) - Indoor air emissions certification program that meets the criteria of California 01350, the California Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Specifications For Open Panel Office Furniture, and LEED Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit 4.5 Low-Emitting Materials - Systems Furniture and Seating. Certified products may also comply with the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) 2009 low-emitting materials requirements. (www.scscertified.com )
Industrial Waste: Unused materials from an industrial operation; may be liquid, sludge, solid or hazardous waste.
ISO 14001: Environmental Management System developed by the International Organization for Standardization.
Lean Manufacturing: An operational strategy oriented toward eliminating all forms of waste.
LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. A voluntary Green Building Rating System administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) to recognize buildings for environmental leadership.
LEED-CI: LEED for Commercial Interiors addresses the specifics of tenant spaces primarily in office, retail and institutional buildings.
Life Cycle Assessment: Assessing the environmental impacts of a product or service through all stages including raw material extraction, manufacturing, delivery, use, and disposal or reuse.
MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry): Certifies products to Cradle-to-Cradle. (www.mbdc.com )
OHSAS 18001: Occupational Health and Safety Management System developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
Post-consumer: Simply the waste that consumers routinely discard (plastic bottles, newspapers, aluminum cans, cardboard, clothing etc.).
Pre-consumer: Commonly called "post industrial, which is an introduction of manufacturing scraps back into the production process or re-use of industry waste.
Recyclable: A term used to designate that a product or its package can be recycled.
Recyclable Content: Materials that can be recovered or diverted from the waste stream for recycling/ reuse.
Recycled Content: Refers to the percentage of recycled materials in a product, generally determined by weight.
Renewable Resources: Resources that can be replenished at a rate equal to or greater than its rate of depletion; i.e., solar, wind, geothermal and biomass resources.
Renewable Materials: Materials that are not depleted when used. These materials are typically harvested from fast growing sources and do not require unnecessary chemical support. Examples include bamboo, wheat, wool and certain types of wood.
Sustainability: Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." (World Commission on Environment and Development)
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): An acronym for the United States Green Building Council, an organization, whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of green building practices, technologies, policies, and standards. USGBC establishes the LEED Certification guidelines. (www.usgbc.org )
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's): Chemical emissions from products such as office furniture and building materials, which may cause adverse health effects.
Waste-to-Energy: The practice of converting waste products to energy including steam, heat, or electricity.
Waste 2 Wonder: A socially and environmentally responsible solution for managing unwanted office furniture through donation or recycling. (www.waste2wonder.ca )