affordable housing - Rents are considered affordable when they are not more than 30 percent of the renter's pre-tax (or gross) income. Mortgages are considered affordable when they are not more than 35 percent of the homebuyer's pre-tax (or gross) income.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) - The measure of seasonal or annual efficiency of a furnace or boiler. Measures the amount of heat actually delivered to the building compared to the amount of fuel supplied to the furnace. air buoyancy - Forced movement of air upwards due to a difference in indoor-to-outdoor air density resulting from temperature and moisture differences. area median income (AMI) - The household income for a particular area (city, county, state, etc.) at which 50 percent of households earn a higher income and 50 percent earn less. AMI is calculated annually by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). bioswale - A shallow trench planted with trees, shrubs, and groundcover that slows and filters stormwater before allowing it to infiltrate the groundwater system. Btu (British thermal unit) - A unit of heat used to measure heat output or the embodied energy of a material. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) - Gaseous compounds, often used as propellants, that trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. charrette - An intensive workshop that involves all team members, lasts from three to fours hours to a day or more, and aims to create a clear vision for how the project will be developed, including how the green building elements will be incorporated.

cool roof - Roof system that reflects and emits the sun's heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building below. composting - A waste management system for plant material (e.g., kitchen scraps and garden thinnings) that involves the biological decomposition of organic material into a rich soil amendment. commissioning - The process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested, and capable of being operated and maintained to perform in conformity with the owner's project requirements.

ecosystem - A complex and interdependent set of natural conditions and elements.

Habitat survival depends directly and indirectly on ecosystem health. embodied energy - A representation of the energy used to grow, harvest, extract, manufacture, transport, and dispose of a material. equity investor - A person or company that invests money in a development. Equity investors demand a higher rate of return than the typical bank loan interest rate because their funds are not generally secured by collateral (property, buildings, etc.).

extremely low income - A term used to describe individuals or families whose incomes are less than 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). food security - A person's access to readily available, nutritionally adequate, and safe foods, and an ability to acquire foods in socially acceptable ways (that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies).

formaldehyde - Urea formaldehyde, a harmful volatile organic compound (VOC), is a binding agent commonly used in composite wood products (oriented strand board, particleboard, etc.). It is a probable carcinogen and poses a range of hazards to human health. fossil fuels - Nonrenewable resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas, the use of which causes pollution and contributes to global climate change. gray water - Water that has been used within the home and/or roof runoff. Gray water sources do not include sewage. Gray water can be captured, treated, and used as a nonpotable water source. greenfield - Previously undeveloped sites which have not been graded that remain in a natural state.

green roof - A roof covered with soil mix and vegetation. Stormwater is absorbed by the soil and vegetation, reducing and detaining stormwater runoff. HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) - Gaseous compounds used instead of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), with approximately one-tenth the environmental damage of CFCs.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program - The largest federal block grant program provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. HOPE VI - Federal program provided by HUD that uses public and private development resources to replace distressed public housing with new mixed-income communities. HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS) - Federal program provided by HUD established to address the specific needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. infill development - New development that occurs in centrally located urbanized areas rather than on undeveloped land on the edge of the region. joint-use - Multipurpose buildings or facilities that share building grounds. Example, a playground that is used as a schoolyard during school hours and is open to the public in other hours. low-e(missivity) windows - Energy-efficient windows that allow light to pass through but block the flow of heat. low income - Individuals or families whose incomes are less than 80 percent of Area

Median Income (AMI). microclimate - A unique set of climatic conditions caused by landscape and/or building features. For instance, a paved parking area will absorb and radiate heat to the areas around it. Vegetation can block heavy prevailing winds or funnel them into a concentrated area. mixed-use - The combination of residential, retail, office, schools, or other uses integrated in the same building or on the same block. moderate income - Individuals or families whose incomes are between 80 and 120

percent of Area Median Income (AMI). offgassing - Emission of chemical compounds (e.g., VOCs) into the air from newly installed building materials and finishes. OVE - (optimum value engineering) - The use of engineering principles and techniques to minimize material usage while also meeting structural performance requirements.

passive solar - Nonmechanical methods of using sunlight to heat the home.

Conceptually, sunlight is allowed into the house to heat a thermal mass such as a slab floor, which in turn radiates the heat back into the house when needed at night.

permaculture - A design system that integrates landscape and building issues, permaculture emphasizes low maintenance, edible landscaping, and single design features (including plants) that fulfill more than one function. PEX - Cross-linked high-density polyethylene that is often used as tubing for hydronic radiant heating systems and plumbing systems. photovoltaics - Solar power technology that converts energy from the sun into electricity.

phthalates - Class of chemical compounds used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These compounds are more concentrated in flexible sheet vinyl, for instance, than in vinyl tiles. Phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors and are linked to birth defects, are now being commonly discovered at high levels in tests of humans in the United States.

place making - Creating places that provide a sense of identity and community, such as plazas, squares, parks, streets, and waterfronts.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - Form of plastic commonly referred to as vinyl.

Commonly used building material chosen for its versatility. Releases toxins during its production and in its usage. Contains toxins such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates.

pro forma - A financial analysis of the expected costs and income of a proposed development.

public housing - Low-income housing built and operated by a local housing authority using federal funds.

R-value - A unit of thermal resistance measuring resistance to heat flow through a single material. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating properties.

Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher Program) - Federal program providing rental payment assistance to qualified low-income recipients in the form of a voucher.

Section 202 - Federal program that provides capital and operating funds to organizations that develop and operate housing for low-income seniors.

Section 811 - Federal program that provides capital and operating funds to organizations that develop and operate housing for persons with disabilities.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) - Measures efficiency of a cooling system over an entire cooling season. A higher SEER reflects a more efficient cooling system. SEER is calculated based on the total amount of cooling (in Btu) the system will provide over the entire season divided by the total number of watt-hours it will consume.

smart growth - A more sustainable and holistic model for urban growth that aims to limit low-density development on the urban fringe while creating more livable neighborhoods in urban and suburban areas.

solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) - The fraction of incident solar radiation admitted through a window, both admitted through a window, both directly transmitted, and absorbed and subsequently released inward. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits.

sone - A unit measuring intensity of sound. Select ventilation systems with low sone ratings.

special needs housing - Special needs housing refers to housing for groups with unique needs, such as the disabled, elderly, individuals with physical and mental disabilities, and person with HIV/AIDS.

stick-built - Building that has not been pre-constructed in any way. Is constructed on-site around a "stick frame," piece by piece. stack effect - The flow of air that results from warm air rising, creating a positive pressure area at the top of a building and a negative pressure area at the bottom of a building. The stack effect can overpower the mechanical system and disrupt ventilation and circulation in a building. sustainability - Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. sweat equity - Involves the homebuyer's participation in the construction of his or her own housing. Their labor helps to offset the price of the home. Construction work can include, but is not limited to, assisting in the painting, carpentry, trim work, drywall, roofing, and siding for the housing. transit oriented development (TOD) - New pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use developments located near rail and major bus stops. TOD communities allow people to live near transit services and to decrease their dependence on driving. U-value - A unit of thermal resistance measuring rate of heat flow through a material assembly rather than a single material. For instance, whereas insulation is measured by R-value, the entire wall assembly is measured by U-value. A lower U-value means better insulating properties. very low income - Individuals or families whose incomes are less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). VOCs (volatile organic compounds) - A class of chemical compounds that can cause short- and long-term health problems. VOCs can be emitted (offgassed) by many building materials and finishes, including particleboard and solvent-based finishes. watershed - Area of ecosystem(s) bounded by the highest topographic points and focused around where water flows and drains. All water in an area—including the pollutants it carries—flows to the lowest point of the watershed. workforce housing - Housing aimed at middle-income professionals such as teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses and medical technicians, who provide essential community services. Workforce families are usually younger, and often include children. The lack of workforce housing is typically of great concern in areas with expensive real estate markets or in resort areas. xeriscaping - Xeriscaping features water-friendly gardening practices. The name is derived from zero-water landscaping.

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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