In green infrastructure how plants and soil absorb and filter stormwater.



The art of designing and constructing buildings that echo how we see ourselves and what image we outwardly project. It is the built environment.



The variety of all living things or organisms in a defined area and how they interact. The broad term includes plants, bacteria, animals, and humans.



How humans interact with nature and other living things. This environmental connectivity is our way of communing with nature.


Biophilic Design

Design that considers, incorporates, harmonizes, and strengthens human connection to nature.



A variety of organisms in an area that store solar energy and convert it through photosynthesis.



Following nature’s lead and mimicking it in human engineering to create more sustainable designs.


Carbon Emissions

The CO2, or carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas.


Climate Change

Intense weather pattern changes that affect atmospheric temperatures. Storms, droughts, rising sea levels, warming oceans, and melting glaciers contribute to the long-term global shifts.



A plan to protect or preserve a natural resource for the benefit of all living things.


Commercial Construction

The design, building or renovation of structures used for commercial purposes.


Cradle to Cradle

An upcycle approach to construction processes and products. At the end of their original life cycle, they can be re-used for something else or absorbed into the earth as a non-toxic element.



The bubble of life created in a specific geographical area from the collective interactions of all living organisms.


Extensive Green Roof

Engineered rooftops built with a thin layer of growing medium, root barrier, a lightweight stormwater management system and vegetation. They generally require less maintenance after maturity than an intensive roof as they have no public access.


Fossil Fuels

Non-renewal fuels that are made of fossilized plant and animal remains.


Green Assets

A substitute term for all living or green infrastructure. The green label identifies that the product generates more energy than it consumes.



Protected areas of open land around urban centers where building is restricted.


Greenhouse Emissions

Gases in the earth that trap heat and raise temperatures, severely change weather patterns and have a domino effect on earth’s ecosystem.


Green Infrastructure

A strategic approach to building with nature to offset industrial age human actions that have produced a negative effect on all environments.


Green Roof

An extension built on an existing structure that is layered with a root barrier, a waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, and a growing medium such as soil, and vegetation.


Growing Media

One of the layers or substrates used when installing a green roof. The surface serves as soil for the plants and other vegetation while distributing nutrients, optimizing water retention and drainage.



The home for an animal, plant, or other organism. It is the natural environment where it sources what it needs to survive.


HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

The home comfort ecosystem that affects your indoor air quality and is used to heat, cool, and circulate the air in your space.


Intensive Green Roof

Supports multiple forms of vegetation and requires deeper soil or growing media surfaces. Sometimes called rooftop gardens, as they are shared spaces that people can access for recreational purposes.



The controlled water supply used in green roofs and living walls as part of the protocol to maintain them.


Living Architecture

Refers to the ecosystem of green building products intentionally considered in designing construction projects.


Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)

A benchmark international rating system that recognizes sustainability. The LEED system is a holistic approach to green building that considers design, construction, and operation. To be eligible for LEED certification the building must meet certain criteria in the areas of location, sustainable site development, water and energy efficiency, construction material selections and indoor environmental quality.


Low Impact Development (LID)

A way to design and develop construction for optimal stormwater management. Multiple techniques can be applied to new builds and renovation retrofits with the purpose of filtering stormwater runoff close to its landing source and scaling back the need for costly industrial treatment systems.


Living Walls

Also referred to as vertical gardens or green walls created. They can be installed indoors or outdoors depending on climate considerations. The plants are rooted in a structure that can be mat, pockets or module, moveable or fastened to a wall.



A waterproof layer on a green roof. It is designed to protect the vegetation and prevent interior building leaks.


Nature Based Solutions (Nbs)

Actions that protect, restore, or sustain ecosystems to address environmental conditions that are hazardous to all living things.



The achievement of balance between carbon emitted and carbon removed from the atmosphere. Net-zero is when the carbon added is less than the carbon removed.


Paris Agreement

The 2016 Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change adopted by the EU and 194 states. Its primary targets are to limit temperature increases in our post-industrial era by 2 degrees Celsius, and help developing nations adapt to, and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.



A chemical substance that is used to kill weeds, insects, fungi, and small rodents.



A plant process where water, sunlight and carbon dioxide are taken in and used to make oxygen in the form of glucose. Essentially a chemical reaction that creates energy.



The addition to the environment of a solid, liquid, gas, or other form of energy at a rate faster than it can be recycled or spread in a harmless form. Air, water, and land pollution are the major offenders that impact all organisms.



Root cuttings from a parent plant for the intention of creating more plants.


Renewable Energy

Natural resources such as solar and wind that provide a clean energy source and are human engineered to replace fossil fuels.



Refers to precipitation that can be rain or snow.


Stormwater Management

Manufactured systems used to reduce the run-off of precipitation into lawns, roads, sewers, and lakes to prevent urban flooding.


Stormwater Retention

An urban water management system that is used to collect and store water for gradual repurpose.


Stormwater Runoff

Precipitation that flows over hard surface infrastructure such as roads, pavement, and traditional rooftops instead of being absorbed into the ground.



Meeting the needs of today’s generation without compromising the needs of future generations. The stakes of sustainability are human, social, economic, and environmental.


Urban Heat Island

Higher temperatures in urban centres vs rural areas caused by grey construction structures that retain heat more than natural landscapes such as bodies of water and greenbelts that cool temperatures.



Plants, trees, and shrubs used in green building.



An acronym for volatile organic compounds which are a group of chemicals found in products and processes we use daily that can evaporate into the air and cause health issues.


Zero Waste

Responsible consumption and disposal of products and packaging without burning or returning them to landfills that threaten the human condition and the environment