Archive for Word of the Day


Thanks, Mom, for filling me in on what precycling means.  I yanked this from Wikipedia:

“Precycling is the practice of reducing waste by attempting to avoid bringing into the home or business items which will generate waste.

It includes such practices as buying consumables in bulk to reduce packaging, buying consumables in recyclable packaging over non-recyclable packages, avoiding junk mail, and using electronic media for reading materials, especially throwaway items such as magazines or newspapers.

As recycling requires large amounts of energy to “melt down” and then re-manufacture items, it also sends large amounts of pollution into the air. While it may cut down on the amount of trash that is going into landfills, it is not a sustainable answer to the problem of waste. The original three pronged push for trash management is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Precycling then, is an emphasis on “reducing and reusing”, while harnessing the momentum and popularity of the term “recycle.”

Those that participate in the precycling movement may carry with them a “precycling kit” when they are outside of their houses. Such a kit might include a re-usable lunchbox, a set of cutlery, a cloth napkin or handkerchief (instead of paper tissues) and a thermos or reusable water-bottle, etc.; all items might be carried in a cloth bag that can double as a shopping bag.

Precycling, then, includes any such attempts to reduce the production of waste.”

So, how are you precycling?

Comments (1) »

Word of the Day: Lifecycle Assessment

Remember the Secret Word on Pee Wee Herman’s show?  Every day, my hero Pee Wee would pick a Secret Word, like petunia.  Whenever someone on the show said petunia, everyone would freeze and scream!  While I don’t expect anyone to get hysterical over Lifecycle assessment, and I also realize that it’s 2 words, I thought I’d share the definition with readers to help build your green vocabulary.  This info is care of the good folks at Natural Home & Garden magazine (on sale at Green Home Experts!) So, today’s Secret Word is:

Lifecycle Assessment
Reviews the environmental performance of a product or building over the course of its life, including financial costs, energy efficiency and maintenance requirements.  The process includes an assessment of raw material production, manufacture, distribution and disposal.

Leave a comment »

Word of the Day: Passive Solar

Passive Solar: A structure’s ability to collect, store and distribute the sun’s energy in winter (for heating) to block summer sun (for cooling) to greatly reduce additional heating and air-conditioning needs.  Passive solar design can be incorporated into any architectural style in any climate, but it requires careful site planning and selection of construction materials and building features.

A lazy woman’s guide to passive solar, or ways to achieve passive solar gain when you’re not building or remodeling:

In the summer, keep your curtains closed in the day time in order to block out light.

In the winter, keep your curtains open for solar gain during the day and closed at night.

Purchase a retractable awning or window treatments so that you have better control over solar gain during the day.

Use trees, shrubs, vines, and other greenery to ask as natural shades from the sun.

Other thoughts?  Post them in the comments section!

Leave a comment »

Word of the Day: Net Metering

From our friends at Natural Home Magazine:

Net metering:  A method that allows homeowners’ electric meters to turn backward when they generate more electricity (via solar panels, for example) than they use.  When electric meters turn backward, the customer receives retail prices for the excess electricity generated.  Without net metering, a second meter usually is installed to measure the electricity that flows back to the privder; the utility company purchases the power at a below-retail rate.

Two of my favorite solar websites:

Leave a comment »

Word of the Day: Permaculture

Permaculture: An ecological design practice that creates functional, interdependent systems that serve both nature and humans.

See also:

Leave a comment »

Today’s Secret Word: LEED

LEED: Abbreviation for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a four-level rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council  (GHE is a proud member).  

Buildings are rated in each of five categories: sustainable sites,
water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resourcse, and
indoor environmental quality.

Here is some info on two LEED-certified buildings with which I’m
very familiar.  They were developed by a non-profit organization in
Chicago, Mercy Housing Lakefront.  Working there was how I got my first taste of green building.  Their first LEED building was Wentworth Commons, a 4-story, 65,800 sq. ft. apartment building with 51 units and supportive services for people who were formerly homeless.

Mercy Housing Lakefront’s second green property, which has received multiple accolades and international attention, is the Margot and Harold Schiff Residences.

Schiff Residences by Mercy Housing Lakefront
Schiff Residences by Mercy Housing Lakefront

Leave a comment »