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Use this glossary to understand sustainability-related terms referred to throughout the Conserve program.

A device installed on the nozzle of a faucet that introduces air into the water stream, thereby substantially reducing water flow.

A product or material capable of rapid decomposition under natural conditions;. not to be confused with compostable materials that often need the high temperatures of industrial composting facilities to break down.

Compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs)
A type of fluorescent light bulb that screws into a standard light bulb socket or plugs into a small lighting fixture. CFLs generally have a longer rated life than traditional light bulbs.

The end result of the composting process where organic material, such as food, leaves, etc., goes through controlled, biological decomposition. Compost often is used to improve soil and help plant growth.

Compostable plastic
Plastic made from organic carbon sources instead of petroleum that fully break down in industrial composting facilities and create compost. Note that different composting facilities cannot break down all different types of compostable plastic. Check with your local composter for guidance.

Connectionless steamer
A traditional steamer/oven that uses water only as needed instead of a continuous flow of water. Energy efficient Using less energy to provide the same service.

Energy Star
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-managed, voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the environment through increased energy efficiency.

Disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image. There are usually “seven sins of greenwashing.”

Greenhouse effect
An atmospheric heating phenomenon, caused by short-wave solar radiation being readily transmitted inward through the earth's atmosphere but longer-wavelength heat radiation less readily transmitted outward, owing to its absorption by atmospheric carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and other gases.

Greenhouse gas
Any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (nine different gas types in all).

Kilowatt hour (kWh)
A measure of electricity defined as a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt, or1,000watts, of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu.

Incandescent light
A traditional light bulb that uses a heated filament to produce light

A low area of land that is built up from deposits of solid refuse in layers covered by soil; the solid refuse itself.

Light emitting diode (LED)
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor device that emits incoherent, narrow-spectrum light when electrically biased in the forward direction. Typically, LEDs are associated with two-prong connectors. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating system that is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings; LEED is a division of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Low-flow toilets
Toilets designed to use less water than the federal standard of 1.6 gallons per flush."

Made with organic ingredients
Must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients. Does not contain any added sulfites. These products can’t be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation. The percentage of organic content and the certifying agent seal or mark may be used on the principal display panel, but the USDA seal can’t be used.
Megawatt hour (MWh): One thousand kilowatt-hours, or 1 million watt-hours

Methane (CH4)
A colorless, odorless, flammable gas that is the simplest hydrocarbon; it is the major constituent of natural gas and released during the decomposition of plant or other organic compounds.Methane is produced through anaerobic decomposition of waste in landfills, animal digestion, decomposition of animal waste, production and distribution of natural gas and petroleum, coal production and incomplete fossil fuel combustion.

As required by the USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as "natural" must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. The natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to the processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

"Organic" ingredients (in processed products)
Processed products that contain less than 70 percent organic ingredients cannot feature the word organic anywhere on the principal display panel. However, the wording can state that specific ingredients in the product are organically produced.

Organic product
Must consist of at least 95-percent organically produced ingredients ‑ excluding water and salt. Any remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on the National List, including specific nonorganically produced agricultural products not commercially available in organic form (these can be found in sections 205.605 and 205.606 of the National Organic Program Standards). Cannot be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation.

Pre-rinse spray valve (PRSV)
A valve commonly used in restaurants to wash down dishes before they are placed in a dishwashing system.

To treat or process used or waste materials and make suitable for reuse.

Recycled content
The content in a material or product derived from recycled materials versus virgin materials. Recycled content can be materials from recycling programs ("post-consumer") or waste materials from the production process or an industrial/agricultural source ("pre-consumer" or "post-industrial").

Renewable energy
Energy resources that are naturally replenishing, such as biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action.

Not made whiter or lighter by a chemical process.

Waterless urinal
Urinals that use no water at all; benefits include water conservation, no treatment time for maintenance and can be installed anywhere. Invented by Klaus Reichardt.

The unit of electrical power equal to one ampere under a pressure of one volt. A Watt is equal to 1/746 horse power.

Windows, dual- or triple-paned
Windows made with two or three sheets of glass for additional insulation.