Glossary

Autonomous Building
The building itself should, based on sensors, possess the ability to decide ans act independently, making choices that are both beneficial to its own efficiency as well as to the experience of tenants.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)
A process for creating and managing information on a construction project across the project lifecycle. One of the key outputs of this process is the building information model, the digital description of every aspect of the built asset.

Built Environment
The term ‘built environment’ refers to aspects of our surroundings that are built by humans, that is, distinguished from the natural environment. It includes not only buildings, but the human-made spaces between buildings (residential, industrial, commercial, hospitals, schools), such as parks, and the infrastructure that supports human activity such as transportation networks, utilities networks, flood defences and telecommunications.

Cladding
The non-loadbearing skin or layer attached to the outside of a home to shed water and protect the building from the effects of weather

Constructuring
It involves sourcing raw materials, supply chain logistics, providing factory conditions, industrial design, creating integrated assemblies, pre-fabrication, quality control, inventory management, transportation, erection, commissioning and post occupancy analysis. It also involves data capture at every step to ensure process optimization and to provide feedback for continuous improvement. (Ian Howell)

ConTech
The technology used to innovate the way we plan, design, and build houses, as well as the manufacture and installation of their components.

Cradle to cradle
A design protocol that advocates the elimination of waste by recycling a material or product into a new or similar product at the end of its intended life, rather than disposing of it

Digital twin
A realistic digital representation of assets, processes or systems in the built or natural environment. What distinguishes a digital twin from any other digital model or replica is its connection to its physical twin.

Embodied energy
The sum of all energy used to extract, transport, manufacture and install a building material

Green Loan
Green Loans are any type of loan instrument made available exclusively to finance or re-finance, in whole or in part, new and/or existing eligible Green Projects.

High volumetric heat capacity (VHC)
The amount of useful thermal storage is calculated by multiplying the VHC by the volume of material that has its surface exposed to a source of heating or cooling.

Life cycle assessment (LCA)
Life cycle assessment (LCA) examines the total environmental impact of a material or product through every step of its life — from obtaining raw materials (e.g. through mining or logging) all the way through manufacture, transport to a store, and using it in the home, to disposal or recycling. LCA can be applied to a whole product (a house) or to an individual element or process included in that product.

Life cycle costing (LCC)
A method of economic analysis that takes into account expected costs over the useful life of an asset

Phase-change material (PCM)
A substance with a high heat of fusion which, melting and solidifying at a certain temperature, is capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy. Heat is absorbed or released when the material changes from solid to liquid and vice versa

Photovoltaics
A method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity

Prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC)
A construction method that first builds rooms or an entire bathroom in an off-site facility, and then transports to the construction site to be assembled into a building.

Primitives
A fundamental building part that cannot be broken down into a smaller part.

PropTech
PropTech is one small part of the wider digital transformation of the property industry. It describes a movement driving a mentality change within the real estate industry and its consumers regarding technology driven innovation in data assembly, transactions, and the design of buildings ans cities (Baum and Dearsley).

Purlin
A horizontal beam along the length of a roof supporting the rafters

R-value
A measure of resistance to the flow of heat through a given thickness of a material (as insulation) with higher numbers indicating better insulating properties.

Screw Anchor Piles
Screw Anchor Piles are a type of deep foundation that can be installed quickly with minimal noise and vibration. They are used as an anchoring system in soft soil conditions.

Smart home
Automation of the home to provide improved convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security; may include centralised control of lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, appliances, security locks of gates and doors, and other systems

Space frame system
A truss-like, lightweight rigid structure constructed from interlocking struts in a geometric pattern

Stealth mode
Stealth mode is a company’s temporary state of secretiveness to a pending product launch or other business initiative.

Structural insulated panel (SIP)
An insulated layer of rigid insulation material sandwiched between two structural skins of sheet metal, plywood, fibre cement or engineered timber

Thermal bridging
Thermal bridging occurs when a more conductive (or poorly insulating) material allows heat flow across a thermal barrier

Thermal comfort
A person’s subjective feeling of how comfortable the surrounding temperature is

Thermal lag
The rate at which heat is absorbed and re-released by uninsulated material is referred to as thermal lag. Lag is dependent on conductivity, thickness, insulation levels and temperature differences either side of the wall. In moderate climates, a 24 hour lag cycle is ideal.

Thermal mass
Dense material able to absorb and store warmth and ‘coolth’: the ‘battery system’ of passive design

Thermal performance
The effectiveness of a building envelope in maintaining acceptable levels of human comfort in the building relative to the outside weather conditions, through minimising the need for artificial heating or cooling. In relation to a particular building material or element, the extent to which the material or element reduces or promotes heat loss or heat gain

U-value
A measure of heat loss in a building element such as a wall, floor, roof or window, which demonstrates how well parts of a building transfer heat. The lower the U-value, the better the insulating ability. Expressed as Uw in windows

Zero emission (zero energy)
Applies to buildings that use renewable energy sources on site to generate energy for their operation, so that over a year the net amount of energy generated on site equals the net amount of energy required by the building