Earth construction

Construction incorporating earth as a material. 


Is an approach to design of a product with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its lifecycle.


An ‘eco-label’ indicates that a product has a reduced environmental impact compared with other products in the same product group. A number of ‘eco label’ commercially-sponsored schemes exist, but the most important is the European Ecolabel backed by the European Commission. The leading UK building eco-label is the BRE Environmental Profile Standard. (See also:

Embodied energy / Embedded energy

All the energy required to grow, harvest, extract, manufacture, refine, process, package, transport, install and dispose of a particular product or building material. 

Energy efficiency

Using less energy to provide the same level of energy service. Along with renewable energy, energy efficiency is own of the twin pillars of sustainable energy. 

Engineered wood

Also called composite wood, engineered wood includes a range of derivative wood products which are manufactured by binding together the strands, particles, fibres, or veneers of wood, together with adhesives, to form composite materials. eg plywood.


The process by which a body of water accumulates high levels of macronutrients, particularly nitrates and phosphates.

Evaporative cooling

A means of temperature reduction which operates on the principle that water absorbs latent heat from the surrounding air when it evaporates.

Environmental profile

The ouput of an environmental profiling process (see below). Profiling can be of a generic nature using general industry data or it can be of a proprietary nature using product-specific data – for example as part of the BRE’s ‘Environmental Profiles Certification Scheme’. Generic profiles form the basis of the BRE’s ‘Green Guide to Specification’. 

Environmental profiling

The ‘identifying and assessing the environmental effects associated with building materials’ (BRE) – usually using a standardised methodology.
The identification and assessment of the environmental effects associated with building materials, usually using a standardised methodology. The UK profiling market is dominated by the BRE.