The Green Glossary

Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint refers to the the total greenhouse gas emissions that result from a person, organisation, product or service over a given time.

It tends to act as an umbrella term for any attempt to measure greenhouse gas emissions and as a result can refer to simply the emissions that result from a single activity, such as flying; the emissions that result from an organisation or building over the course of a year; or the full lifetime emissions of a product or organisation, including emissions from the supply chain or disposal of resources.

While carbon footprints colloquially refer to the amount of CO2 emitted, the UK Carbon Trust endorses a wider definition and considers all six of the Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gases – Carbon dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Hydrofluorocarbons, Perfluorocarbons, and Sulphur hexafluoride – when measuring a carbon footprint.

Smart Meters

Smart Meter is a catch all term for energy meters that display energy use in real time, although it can also refer to energy meters that enable two-way communication between utilities and end users.

Widely-regarded as a key component in the development of smart grids, smart meters have also proved effective at curbing energy use by providing businesses and households with an up-to-date insight into how much energy they are using.


A fuel derived from organic material.

Biofuels are typically made using oils extracted from energy crops such as palm oil, sugar cane, corn and rape seed. However, so-called second generation biofuels are capable of producing fuels from non-food based crops, including grases, algaes and waste organic matter.

Supporters of biofuels argue that the fact that plants soak up carbon dioxide as they grow means that they can deliver deep cuts in carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels, while avoiding the need for investment in new low carbon vehicle technologies.

However, critics have warned that the widespread use of biofuel can contribute to deforestation, drought and food shortages as demand for energy crops increases pressure on agricultural land.

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