Welcome to Jones Lang LaSalle's Sustainability glossary
The Sustainability glossary provides you with brief explanations of climate, energy and sustainability terms—including Jones Lang LaSalle's services and tools—in an easy-to-understand style.
Abatement The steps taken to reduce or actively control the concentration levels and rate of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.|
Adaptation Reducing the susceptibility of environmental systems or manmade systems to the effect of climate change (whether realized or predicted). This is typically achieved by changing the environmental or manmade systems themselves or by taking advantage of new technologies.
Allowance The permitted amount of CO2 (or CO2 equivalent) emissions that the holder can emit in a specified period of time. The Kyoto Protocol permits the holder to trade its allocation of CO2 or hold onto any unused allowances for the specified time.
Annex B countries Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol contains the list of developed countries which have committed to controlling their greenhouse gas emissions during the commencement period of 2008–2012.
Assigned amount The Kyoto Protocol sets out the method for allocating allowances to developed countries during the initial five-year commitment period (2008-2012). The Assigned amount is derived from multiplying by five the aggregate greenhouse gas emissions in 1990, and then by the agreed percentage listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol.
Atmosphere The three-layered cloak of gases enveloping the Earth and held in place by gravity. The troposphere is closest to the ground at up to nine miles above ground level. The stratosphere is the second layer of atmosphere and is up to 31 miles above from ground level. The mesophere is found between 31 to 50 miles above ground level.
|Baseline The agreed level of emissions forming the benchmark to which other emissions totals are compared. For example, 1990 levels of emissions form the benchmark against which 2008-2012 emissions will be compared.|
Biodiversity & ecosystems services The variety of life forms: different plants, animals and micro-organisms, their genes and the ecosystems of which they are a part. Humans and other living organisms depend on biological diversity for survival and quality of life, as this diversity plays a crucial role in stabilizing natural systems. For example, healthy ecosystems underpin the maintenance and regulation of atmospheric quality, climate, fresh water, marine productivity, soil formation, cycling of nutrients and waste disposal.
Biomass The inherent energy component of living things; material such as wood is used for fuel directly through combustion or biomass can also be used to generate energy through the extraction of combustible oils.
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) A United Kingdom-based system that comprises a set of assessment methods and tools designed to help construction professionals understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of the developments they design and build. It is comparable to LEED in the U.S.
Brownfield Land previously used for industrial purposes or certain commercial uses. It may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.
|Carbon capture and storage (CCS) This process involves trapping carbon dioxide from industrial originators such as power stations, and transporting it to geological locations such as exhausted gas and oil fields. Once at the geological locations, the carbon dioxide will be stored on a long-term basis. The carbon dioxide will be transported through pipelines.|
Carbon dioxide (CO2) The main greenhouse gas emitted from human activities. It also originates naturally as part of the respiratory cycle, from forest fires and the natural decay of vegetation.
Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) The Kyoto Protocol uses carbon dioxide as the reference point for comparing all greenhouse gases, and therefore it is given a Global Warming Potential of 1. Other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are compared to carbon dioxide to determine their impact on the climate, and hence 1 molecule of methane = 25CO2e (over a 100 year timeframe).
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) An independent organization aiming to create a lasting relationship between shareholders and corporations regarding the implications for shareholder value and commercial operations presented by climate change. CDP provides a coordinating secretariat for 475 investors with a combined $55 trillion of assets under management. On their behalf it seeks information on the business risks and opportunities presented by climate change and greenhouse gas emissions data from the world’s largest companies.
Carbon footprint The total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization through its operations. It is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted. Carbon footprint can be measured by undertaking a GHG emissions assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be devised to reduce it.
Carbon market Agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol placed caps on the units of greenhouse gases that countries could emit. These units can be bought or sold through a trading mechanism commonly known as the carbon market. It is referred to as the carbon market because all other greenhouse gases are measured in terms of carbon.
Carbon tax A levy on carbon emissions.
Chiller plant A chiller, boiler, pumps and HVAC controls in a single pre-engineered package, typically designed for large residential and commercial structures. A chiller system uses water instead of air to heat and cool a structure, and is usually more efficient than a standard forced air system.
Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) A type of gas used for refrigeration, air conditioning, packaging, insulation, solvents or aerosol propellants. Given the right conditions this type of gas can weaken the ozone layer. While the volume of CFCs is small compared to carbon, CFCs damage the ozone layer to a much greater degree. Steps taken in the past 20 years to reduce CFC usage in refrigeration and other applications include coverage by the 1987 Montreal Protocol. CFC-12 is also considered a (relatively minor) greenhouse gas, although it is not one of six gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, partly as it is already covered under existing international legislation.
Climate change Long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or a change in the distribution and frequency of extreme weather events. Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur globally. In the context of environmental policy, climate change usually refers to changes in modern climate. It may be qualified as anthropogenic climate change, more generally known as global warming.
Cogeneration Energy generation that results in both electricity and heat production. Both originate from the same source. It is deemed to be a more efficient process than generating the power and heat separately. As such the process is also commonly known as combined heat and power (CHP).
Contaminated land/groundwater On many development sites, previous activities have led to the deliberate or accidental release or disposal of substances onto the land that may pose a risk to humans, ecological systems, produce, livestock or buildings. The severity of contamination depends on the potential for the substance to cause harm, and the availability of a “pathway” to connect a contamination source with a sensitive ‘receptor’ that would be harmed by the contamination.
|Discovery Day A one-day event involving a few building operators such as facility managers, assistants and engineers, and a Jones Lang LaSalle expert, who examine a facility together from top to bottom, exploring the basic workings of energy systems and determining potential opportunities for improvement. The process includes a follow-up report summarizing findings including areas holding the most energy reduction potential.|
|Emissions factor The average emission rate of a given pollutant for a given source, relative to units of activity. Emission factors can be used to derive estimates of gas emissions (for instance, greenhouse gas emissions) based on the amount of fuel combusted or on industrial production levels. They are often known as ‘conversion factors’ in the context of corporate reporting.|
Emissions to air/land/water The release of pollutants into the atmosphere, the ground or a watercourse that could occur while carrying out an activity. A pollutant, or emission, released as a direct result of that activity, may be emitted in solid, liquid or gaseous form and is poisonous or toxic to the receptor(s) (see explanation under contaminated land). Receptors include humans, flora, fauna and the atmosphere.
Emissivity The relative ability of a material’s surface to emit energy by radiation. It is the ratio of energy radiated by a particular material to energy radiated by a black body at the same temperature. The emissivity of Earth’s atmosphere varies according to cloud cover and the concentration of gases that absorb and emit energy. These gases are often called greenhouse gases, from their role in the greenhouse effect.
Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) A team of experts within Jones Lang LaSalle dedicated to helping real estate owners and occupants reduce environmental impact, cut operating costs and minimize risk in property ranging from a single asset to a complex portfolio. Our ESS professionals leverage the real estate expertise of the entire firm, partnering with clients to develop comprehensive sustainability programs that align with their “green” environmental and financial objectives.
Energy assessments Comprehensive assessments of a portfolio or individual properties to evaluate sustainability performance. They can include sustainability and energy baselining, LEED gap assessments, energy audits, tenant audits and utilization studies. Effective energy assessments enable the setting of strategic goals and prioritizing of improvements based on payback and impact.
Energy audits Formal assessments to identify areas of waste and inefficiency, and recommend steps for improvement. Jones Lang LaSalle’s energy audits can range from a quick walk-through to an in-depth analysis of alternative energy applications.
Energy Management The control of energy to obtain maximum value by increasing efficiency of energy used, and reducing consumption and the cost of obtaining power to the greatest extent possible.
Energy retrofit (also known as sustainable retrofit) An effective approach to upgrading a building’s sustainable infrastructure and systems through identification of potential areas for upgrades and improvement such as building envelope, lighting systems, HVAC equipment and plumbing systems. Identified items can be prioritized for greatest return on investment when budgets are limited.
ENERGY STAR A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy that creates an international standard for energy-efficient consumer products, buildings and commercial building products. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards.
Environmental Protection Agency A Canadian and U.S. government agency charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. It conducts environmental assessment, research, and education, and has primary responsibility for setting and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws.
Environmental Sustainability Board A team of Jones Lang LaSalle’s top worldwide sustainability experts, directing efforts to continually drive thought leadership and innovative solutions for our clients, as well as reducing the environmental impacts of our own business operations.
|Feed-in Tariff A policy mechanism designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources and to help accelerate the move toward grid parity. Under a feed-in tariff, an obligation is imposed on regional or national electric grid utilities to buy renewable-source electricity from all eligible participants. Provisions typically include guaranteed grid access, long-term contracts for electricity produced and purchase prices based on the cost of renewable energy generation.|
First commitment period Initial five years designated under the Kyoto Protocol, from 2008-2012, in which countries are to meet the initial greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Flood risk Flood is damaging to property and transport infrastructure, and the susceptibility of a site to flooding is important to any developer. Flood risk is an issue for two reasons: firstly, a shortage of land means that there is increasing pressure to develop in flood-prone areas; and secondly, warmer, wetter winters and increased storm frequency as a result of climate change will increase the frequency and severity of flood events.
Fuel cell An electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel into an electric current. It generates electricity inside a cell through reactions between a fuel and an oxidant, triggered in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it. Fuel cells can operate continuously as long as the necessary reactant and oxidant flows are maintained.
Fugitive emissions The discharge of greenhouse gases as a secondary product of fuel production, storage or transport. For example, the methane emanating from oil and gas drilling and refining, the leakage of natural gas from pipelines, or SF6 emissions.
|Geothermal power Electricity generated from geothermal energy. Geothermal power is considered to be sustainable because the heat extraction is small compared to the Earth’s heat content.|
Glazing coatings Thin films of polyester or metal applied to glass surfaces such as windows to add heat and sound insulation. One of the most popular such products is low-emissivity (Low-E) glass which has a thin coating, often of metal, that allows solar radiation to pass through into a room. Low-E coatings helps to reduce heat loss yet allow rooms to be warmed by direct sunshine.
Gleneagles Plan of Action The plan, developed by the G8 in 2005,that established goals for addressing climate change, clean energy and sustainable development.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) The world’s foremost sustainability reporting framework used by more than 1,500 companies worldwide. GRI guidelines break down carbon emissions into: 1) emissions under control of the organization (directly or indirectly) and 2) others. It uses the GHG Protocol principles for accounting details.
Global warming The gradual increase in average annual temperatures over many years, measured at the Earth’s surface worldwide.
Global warming potential (GWP) Each greenhouse gas has a different capacity to cause global warming, depending on its irradiative properties, its molecular weight and its lifetime in the atmosphere. Its so-called global warming potential (GWP) encapsulates these. The GWP is defined as the warming influence of a gas over a set time period, relative to the GWP of carbon dioxide.
Green Blog Jones Lang La Salle’s online forum with insights, perspectives and updates to help readers keep pace with energy and sustainability information, trends and opportunities that impact their business.
Greenfield Undeveloped land in a city or rural area either currently used for agriculture or landscape design or left to naturally evolve. It typically refers to agricultural or amenity properties being considered for urban development. Greenfield land can be unfenced open fields, urban lots or restricted closed properties kept off limits to the general public by a private or government entities.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) Gases that contribute to the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect by trapping heat. The most important greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. These are the gases that are covered by the Kyoto Protocol. Some chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are also powerful greenhouse gases but they are being progressively phased out under the Montreal Protocol as they also damage the stratospheric ozone layer.
Greenhouse gas emissions Gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Though there are natural sources of greenhouse gases, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the burning of fossil fuels has substantially increased the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) Each greenhouse gas has a different capacity to cause global warming, depending on its irradiative properties, its molecular weight and its lifetime in the atmosphere. Its so-called global warming potential (GWP) encapsulates these. The GWP is defined as the warming influence of a gas over a set time period, relative to the GWP of carbon dioxide.
Green Globes A rating system and assessment tool that enables baselining of a property’s performance and sustainability in areas such as energy, water conservation and recycling. Green Globes identifies where improvements can be made, and how they can be measured. It is easy to complete by property stakeholders, and less expensive than some sustainability analysis tools.
Green lease portfolio optimization services A comprehensive, holistic set of Jones Lang LaSalle services encompassing sustainability on any aspect of any lease, from site selection of new properties to negotiating green incentives into existing leases, ranging from a single building to multiple sites throughout the world.
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|Hazardous materials Materials that have the potential to harm either people or the natural environment. In the construction and maintenance such as paints (which may contain volatile organic compounds that can cause respiratory conditions in humans) and solvents (which can injure humans if in direct contact with skin, and may be harmful to flora and fauna. Asbestos is also potentially lethal for humans.|
Heat island A metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. Major causes for heat islands include tall buildings blocking dissipation of surface heat into the atmosphere, thermal properties of ground-covering materials such as concrete and asphalt, and less vegetation in cities.
Human health and well-being Most people spend approximately 90 percent of their time in buildings, or within the built environment. The internal environment of a building can therefore have a significant impact upon the health and well-being of its occupants. For example, adequate ventilation is necessary to ensure the health of occupants. Similarly, poor lighting can lead to headaches and eyestrain, so providing high quality artificial and natural lighting may avoid these impacts.
|Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Program and its mission is to evaluate the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information on climate change. It relies on voluntary contributions from scientists as it does not conduct any research or monitor climate related issues itself.|
ISO 14064 Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) Released in 2006, this international standard specifies principles and requirements at the organization level (Part 1) and project level (Part 2) for quantification and reporting of GHG emissions and removals. It includes requirements for the design, development, management, reporting and verification of an organization’s GHG inventory. It was developed in line with the GHG Protocol.
|Landfill A waste disposal method involving excavating land to provide space for waste to be spread in thin layers covered with layers of soil at regular intervals, and carefully managed to remove the build-up of methane gas generated from decomposing material.|
LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) A worldwide certification system for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Applicant properties are evaluated for sustainability in several areas and awarded certification based on 100 possible base points. Major types of LEED certification include: Certified - 40-49 points, Silver - 50-59 points, Gold - 60-79 points; Platinum - 80 points and above. LEED certification is also awarded by property function, with specific designations including NC (New Construction), CS (Core and Shell), CI (Commercial Interiors) EB (Existing Building) and OM (Operations & Maintenance).
LEED® Accredited Professional Someone who has passed a rigorous formal examination by demonstrating knowledge of green building technologies, best practices, and LEED rating systems. A LEED Accredited Professional credential is the mark of the most qualified, educated, and influential green building professionals in the marketplace.
LEED® gap assessments A preliminary evaluation that, using the LEED scorecard, applies a consistent measurement process to help stakeholders determine the steps needed for a building to achieve LEED certification. Jones Lang LaSalle uses LEED gap assessments to accurately project feasibility, time and cost required to meet the desired LEED certification level.
|Material specification (resource depletion) Natural resources include minerals such as iron ore, aggregates and timber. Some of the activities involved in procuring these materials, such as open cast mining or rainforest deforestation are potentially extremely damaging to the environment. In developing countries this could be particularly damaging as legislation protecting the environment may be weak or poorly enforced. Timber and tropical rainforests are probably the natural resource with the highest profile amongst environmental campaigners.|
Monocrystalline solar panels Solar panels with one large solar cell that covers the entire surface of the panel. They are more efficient for collecting and converting light into energy—specially in low light conditions—than polycrystalline solar panels, but they are also slightly more expensive to produce and purchase.
Montreal Protocol This Protocol sought to phase out the use of ozone-depleting compounds like chlorofluorocarbons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform. It took effect on January 1989.
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|NABERS A performance-based rating system for existing buildings in Australia, comparable to LEED.|
Natural gas A fuel source consisting of methane (CH4) and other hydrocarbon compounds like propane (C3H8), ethane and butane (C4H10). It is found in underground deposits and occurs most commonly when animals and plants decay.
Nitrogen oxide (N2O) One of the six greenhouse gases monitored and regulated under the Kyoto Protocol. It originates when fossil fuels are incinerated and when fertilizer is manufactured.
Nuisance Environmental nuisances include noise, vibration and dust. Exposure to high levels of noise can result in tinnitus. Low levels of noise can lead to stress or depression – i.e. people who are subject to persistent unwanted noise in their homes. Vibration is often generated by heavy vehicle movements, compaction and noise waves which can cause disturbances plus reduce quality of life for people in the vicinity. Dust is common during construction or demolition.
|Ozone (O3) A gas mainly found in the stratospheric layer of the atmosphere. The remaining ozone is found in the tropospheric layer of the atmosphere. The stratospheric layer of ozone absorbs the majority of ultraviolet sunlight. This absorption is a source of heat for the Earth and serves to protect animals and plants from the detrimental effects of excessive ultra-violet radiation.|
Photovoltaics (PV) A method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into electricity using photovoltaic semiconductors. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels comprising a number of cells containing a photovoltaic material. While solar photovoltaics comprise a small fraction of electricity from all sources, it is the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world.
Polycrystalline solar panels Solar panels made up of blocks of cast silicon containing many small crystals. Up to 35 cast blocks may be placed on a single panel to create energy. They are less efficient for collecting and converting light into energy-- especially in low light conditions—than monocrystalline solar panels, but they are also slightly less expensive to produce and purchase. Large numbers of cast blocks of polycrystalline panels perform almost as well as monocrystalline panels.
Portfolio Energy & Environmental Reporting System (PEERS) An exclusive Jones Lang LaSalle system that enables users to access current data on the history, status and planned next steps for all sustainability initiatives, calculating carbon footprint, recording energy costs and predicting the impact of a potential project. Offering an individual project or portfolio-wide view, PEERS allows a real estate team to prioritize initiatives, monitor progress, keep programs on track and quickly and easily communicate success.
Power unit efficiency (PUE) A measure, developed by the Green Grid consortium, of how efficiently a computer data center uses its power. PUE specifically measures how much of the power is actually used by the computing equipment, in contrast to cooling and other overhead. It is the ratio of total amount of power used by a computer data center facility to the power delivered to computing equipment.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) PACE is a program that provides residential and commercial property owners public sector loans for energy-efficient retrofits that are paid back through property tax bills over a period of years. In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has declared that PACE programs do not meet financial requirements of federal lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
|Renewable energy Energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and other flowing water, and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished.|
Retro-commissioning A systematic investigation process for optimizing a building’s operation and maintenance, with an emphasis on returning the facility back to its original intended design and specifications. Retrocommissioning focuses on dynamic energy-using systems with the goal of reducing energy waste, driving cost savings, and identifying and fixing existing problems.
|Scope 1 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, as Defined by the GHG Protocol Direct emissions from fuel combustion by company vehicles, HFC leakage from cooling systems, cogeneration systems and heat production in boilers.|
Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, as Defined by the GHG Protocol Indirect emissions generated by the production of electricity used.
Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, as Defined by the GHG Protocol Indirect Emissions from supply chains, staff travel, visitors’ journeys to and from shopping centers and the treatment of wastewater.
Solar energy Radiant light and heat from the sun. Although solar it has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies, only a minuscule fraction of available solar energy is used. Applications for solar energy include heating and cooling, potable water, cooking and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes. The most common way to generate such energy is through solar panels.
Solar power The conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using a photovoltaic (PV) cell that converts light into electric current using the photoelectric effect; or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP), which uses lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam.
Solar radiation The total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. When direct solar radiation is not blocked by clouds, it is experienced as sunshine. When it is blocked by the clouds or reflects off of other objects, it is experienced as diffused light.
Sustainability assessments Comprehensive assessments of a portfolio or individual properties to evaluate sustainability performance. They can include sustainability and energy baselining, LEED gap assessments, energy audits, tenant audits and utilization studies. Effective energy assessments enable the setting of strategic goals and prioritizing of improvements based on payback and impact.
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|Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar generators Flexible films to generate solar energy that can attach to roofing membranes or metal sheets. They are lighter in weight than a crystalline structure and require less roof strength. PV films can actually reinforce many older roofs, extending their service life.|
Treasure Hunt A three-day event in which a building’s entire operational staff meet with a recruited subject matter expert and facilitator to aggressively investigate targeted energy focus areas for opportunities to reduce consumption and save money through new equipment and updated controls, improved operating procedures, optimum billing structures and rebates, tax credits and other incentives. It ends with a presentation to organizational leadership about the best energy conservation opportunities, complete with savings and ROI information.
|Upstream Sustainability Services The United Kingdom’s leading sustainability consultancy, acquired by Jones Lang LaSalle in 2007.|
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) A non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. USGBC is best known for the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems.
Utilization study A Jones Lang LaSalle workplace solutions process that measures and assesses a portfolio’s true—not perceived—occupancy, identifying unrealized “shadow” vacancy, and opportunities for consolidation and more efficient use of space. This study includes evaluating the office space-to-employee ratio and monitoring in-and-out patterns.
Waste Any substance or material that is either degraded or not needed and is therefore discarded. Waste can be solid or liquid waste, water effluent, air emissions and energy lost. When waste is discarded, the natural resources and energy embodied within the substance or material are also discarded. The main disposal method for solid waste in the UK is landfill. Incineration (sometimes with energy recovery) or composting are offered as an alternative to landfill.