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Green Terms
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  1. Green Terms TERMS USED IN THE GREEN INDUSTRY

  2. Green Terms NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST, BUT DOES COVER A LOT OF TERMS USED IN THE GREEN INDUSTRY. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR OWN DEFINITIONS TO IT!

  3. Green Terms AIR BARRIER:A MATERIAL OFTEN INSTALLED AROUND THE FRAME OF A BUILDING TO PREVENT OR REDUCE THE INFILTRATION OF AIR INTO THE INTERIOR WHICH COULD BE TOO HOT, TOO COLD OR TOO HUMID FOR COMFORT.

  4. Green Terms AIR POLLUTION:AIR POLLUTION OCCURS WHEN THE AIR CONTAINS GASES, DUST, OR FUMES IN AMOUNTS THAT COULD BE HARMFUL TO THE HEALTH OF HUMANS AND ANIMALS, OR PLANTS AND MATERIALS. THE SUBSTANCES THAT CAUSE AIR POLLUTION ARE CALLED PRIMARY POLLUTANTS WHICH ARE PUMPED INTO OUR ATMOSPHERE AND DIRECTLY POLLUTE THE AIR. PRIMARY POLLUTANT EXAMPLES INCLUDE CARBON MONOXIDE FROM CAR EXHAUSTS AND SULFUR DIOXIDE FROM THE COMBUSTION OF COAL. WORSE POLLUTION CAN ARISE IF PRIMARY POLLUTANTS IN THE ATMOSPHERE IN COMPOUNDS CALLED SECONDARY POLLUTANTS. PHOTOCHEMICAL SMOG IS AN EXAMPLE OF THIS.

  5. Green Terms ALTERNATE ENERGY:A NATURALLY GENERATED ENERGY SOURCE. ANY FORM OF ENERGY OBTAINED FROM THE SUN, WIND, WAVES, OR ANOTHER NATURAL RENEWABLE SOURCE; IN CONTRAST TO ENERGY GENERATED FROM FOSSIL FUELS.

  6. Green Terms BIODEGRADABLE:MATERIAL THAT CAN BE BROKEN DOWN INTO SIMPLER SUBSTANCES (ELEMENTS AND COMPOUNDS) BY BACTERIA OR OTHER DECOMPOSERS. PAPER AND MOST ORGANIC WASTES SUCH AS ANIMAL MANURE ARE BIODEGRADABLE.

  7. Green Terms BIOSPHERE:IN ESSENCE THE BIOSPHERE IS ALL THE ECOSYSTEMS THAT EXIST IN A PLANET. INCLUDING HOW THEY INTERACT, EVOLVE AND CHANGE OVER TIME.

  8. Green Terms BIOSWALE::BIOSWALES ARE LANDSCAPE ELEMENTS DESIGNED TO REMOVE SILT AND POLLUTION FROM SURFACE RUNOFF WATER. THEY CONSIST OF A SWALED DRAINAGE COURSE WITH GENTLY SLOPED SIDES, FILLED WITH VEGETATION, COMPOST AND STONES. THE WATER'S FLOW PATH IS DESIGNED TO MAXIMIZE THE TIME WATER SPENDS IN THE SWALE, WHICH AIDS THE TRAPPING OF POLLUTANTS AND SILT.

  9. Green Terms BLACKWATER:WASTEWATER GENERATED BY TOILETS. TOXIC TO LIFE AND MUST BE DISPOSED AND TREATED BY APPROVED METHODS.

  10. Green Terms BUILDING ENVELOPE: THE ENTIRE PERIMETER OF A BUILDING ENCLOSED BY ITS ROOF, WALLS AND FOUNDATION. PROPERLY DESIGNED, THE ENVELOPE CAN MINIMIZE TEMPERATURE GAIN OR LOSS AND MOISTURE INFILTRATION.

  11. Green Terms CARBON FOOTPRINT: CARBON FOOTPRINT REFERS TO THE TOTAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THAT RESULT FROM A PERSON, ORGANIZATION, 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 ORGANIZATION OR BUILDING OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR; OR THE FULL LIFETIME EMISSIONS OF A PRODUCT OR ORGANIZATION, INCLUDING EMISSIONS FROM THE SUPPLY CHAIN OR DISPOSAL OF RESOURCES.

  12. Green Terms CARBON NEUTRAL:A TERM WHICH DESCRIBES THE PROCESS BY WHICH A MANUFACTURER CAN OFFSET THEIR UN-REDUCABLE EMISSIONS BY BUYING A “CREDIT” FROM A PRODUCER OF PLANTS OR MATERIALS WHICH ARE BENEFICIAL TO THE ENVIRONMENT TO BE USED AGAINST THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THE EMISSIONS. THIS OFFSET BRINGS THE CARBON COUNT OF THE EMISSIONS TO AN EFFECTIVE ZERO..

  13. Green Terms CERTIFIED:DEFINES THE PROCESS BY WHICH A FARMER, SUPPLIER, MANUFACTURER, OR OTHERS ARE INSPECTED BY A THIRD-PARTY TO SEE IF THEY ARE MEETING THE STANDARDS SET OUT BY THE GROUP FROM WHICH THEY ARE SEEKING CERTIFICATION. THIS HELPS IN MARKETING THE PRODUCT AS IT CONNOTES A CERTAIN QUALITY TO THE CONSUMER.

  14. Green Terms C.F.C’S: (CLOROFLOUROCARBONS)DESTRUCTIVE CHEMICAL WHICH IS THE PRIMARY PROPONENT OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OZONE LAYER. IT DOES THIS BY RELEASING THE CHLORINE ATOMS IN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE WHICH TEND TO DESTROY OZONE ATOMS OVER AND OVER, THUS CREATING HOLES IN THE OZONE LAYER AND EXPOSING THE EARTH TO HARMFUL SOLAR RADIATION.

  15. Green Terms COMPOSTABLE:ITEMS WHICH CAN BE ALLOWED TO DECOMPOSE NATURALLY INTO A MORE BASIC STATE WHICH IS NOT HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT. COMPOSTING:THE ACT OF ALLOWING ORGANIC MATERIALS TO DECOMPOSE TO BECOME FERTILIZER.

  16. Green Terms DAYLIGHTING: USING VARIOUS DESIGN METHODS, SUCH AS WINDOWS AND SKYLIGHTS, TO REDUCE THE BUILDING’S RELIANCE ON ELECTRIC LIGHTING. NUMEROUS STUDIES HAVE HIGHLIGHTED THE PRODUCTIVITY BENEFITS OF NATURAL LIGHTING FOR BUILDING OCCUPANTS.

  17. Green Terms E-WASTE: E-WASTE IS MILLIONS OF TONS OF ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS, COMPUTERS, CELL PHONES, AND THE LIKE THAT ENTER THE WASTE STREAM WORLDWIDE EACH YEAR. ASIDE FROM THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO LANDFILLS, MANY ELECTRONIC DEVICES CONTAIN HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, SUCH AS MERCURY; MANY ALSO CONTAIN VALUABLE, REUSABLE MATERIALS THAT CAN BE RECYCLED. TO LIMIT E-WASTE, BUY QUALITY PRODUCTS THAT CAN BE UPGRADED INSTEAD OF REPLACED; DONATE OLD EQUIPMENT (TO A SCHOOL FOR INSTANCE); AND SEEK OUT RECYCLING PROGRAMS WHEN YOU’RE READY TO DISPOSE OF AN ITEM. 

  18. Green Terms ECODESIGN: ECODESIGN IS AN APPROACH TO DESIGN OF A PRODUCT WITH SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF THE PRODUCT DURING ITS WHOLE LIFE CYCLE, USUALLY DIVIDED INTO PROCUREMENT, MANUFACTURE, USE AND DISPOSAL. 

  19. Green Terms ECOSYSTEM: AN ECOSYSTEM IS A NATURAL UNIT CONSISTING OF ALL PLANTS, ANIMALS AND MICRO-ORGANISMS IN AN AREA FUNCTIONING TOGETHER WITH ALL THE NON-LIVING PHYSICAL FACTORS OF THE ENVIRONMENT.

  20. Green Terms FOSSIL FUEL: A HYDROCARBON DEPOSIT, SUCH AS PETROLEUM, COAL, OR NATURAL GAS, DERIVED FROM LIVING MATTER OF A PREVIOUS GEOLOGIC TIME AND USED FOR FUEL.

  21. Green Terms FRACKING: HYDRAULIC FRACTURING, OFTEN CALLED FRACKING, IS THE PROCESS OF INITIATING AND SUBSEQUENTLY PROPAGATING A FRACTURE IN A ROCK LAYER, EMPLOYING THE PRESSURE OF A FLUID AS THE SOURCE OF ENERGY. THE FRACTURING IS DONE FROM A WELLBORE DRILLED INTO RESERVOIR ROCK FORMATIONS, IN ORDER TO INCREASE THE EXTRACTION RATES AND ULTIMATE RECOVERY OF OIL AND NATURAL GAS.

  22. Green Terms GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: HEAT ENERGY FROM WITHIN THE EARTH. OFTEN EXTRACTED AS STEAM TO EITHER PRODUCE ELECTRICITY OR HEAT BUILDINGS.

  23. Green Terms GLOBAL WARMING: GLOBAL WARMING IS THE NAME GIVEN TO THE THEORY THAT THERE IS INCREASE IN THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF THE EARTH SURFACE AIR AND OCEANS SINCE THE MID-20TH CENTURY AND ITS PROJECTED CONTINUATION.

  24. Green Terms GOING GREEN: GOING GREEN REFERS TO ACTION THAT CAN BE TAKEN TO CONSCIOUSLY CURB HARMFUL EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH CONSUMER HABITS, BEHAVIOR, AND LIFESTYLE.

  25. Green Terms GREEN BUILDING: GREEN BUILDING (ALSO KNOWN AS SUSTAINABLE BUILDING) IS THE PRACTICE OF CREATING STRUCTURES AND USING PROCESSES THAT ARE ENVIRON-MENTALLY RESPONSIBLE AND RESOURCE- EFFICIENT THROUGHOUT A BUILDING'S LIFE-CYCLE: FROM SITING TO DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, RENOVATION, AND FINAL DECONSTRUCTION.

  26. Green Terms GREENHOUSE GAS: GREENHOUSE GASES EXIST NATURALLY IN THE ATMOSPHERE AND ARE NOT BAD. WHEN TOO MUCH CARBON DIOXIDE BUILDS UP, HOWEVER, THEY TRAP HEAT COMING FROM THE EARTH’S SURFACE. THIS CAUSES THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT. GREENHOUSE GASES ARE ESSENTIAL TO MAINTAINING THE CURRENT TEMPERATURE OF THE EARTH; WITHOUT THEM THE PLANET WOULD BE UNINHABITABLE.

  27. Green Terms GREYWATER SYSTEM: A GREY WATER SYSTEM IS A WATER PROCESSING SYSTEM THAT USES SLIGHTLY DIRTY WATER (AS FROM A SHOWER OR BASIN) TO THEN BE REUSED FOR IRRIGATION PURPOSES IN A GARDEN OR WATER FEATURE OUTSIDE.

  28. Green Terms INDOOR AIR QUALITY: THE SUPPLY AND INTRODUCTION OF ADEQUATE AIR FOR VENTILATION AND CONTROL OF AIRBORNE CONTAMINANTS, ACCEPTABLE TEMPERATURES AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY.

  29. Green Terms JET STREAM: RIVERS OF HIGH-SPEED AIR IN THE ATMOSPHERE. JET STREAMS FORM ALONG THE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL AIR MASSES WHERE THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE IN ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE. THE JET STREAMS MAY BE SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES ACROSS AND 1-2 MILES DEEP AT AN ALTITUDE OF 8-12 MILES. THEY GENERALLY MOVE WEST TO EAST, AND ARE STRONGEST IN THE WINTER WITH CORE WIND SPEEDS AS HIGH AS 250 MPH. CHANGES IN THE JET STREAM INDICATE CHANGES IN THE MOTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE AND WEATHER.

  30. Green Terms KILOWATT: (KWH) 1,000 THOUSAND WATTS ACTING OVER A PERIOD OF 1 HOUR. THE KWH IS A UNIT OF ENERGY.

  31. Green Terms LIFE-CYCLE COST: THE ESTIMATED COST OF OWNING AND OPERATING A SYSTEM FOR THE PERIOD OF ITS USEFUL LIFE. USUALLY APPLIED TO PHOTO VOLTAIC SYSTEMS AND RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS.

  32. Green Terms LOW-FLOW: LOW FLOW PLUMBING FIXTURES INCLUDE FAUCETS, TOILETS AND SHOWER HEADS. INSTALLING LOW-FLOW TOILETS AND SHOWERHEADS, ANDAERATORS FOR FAUCETS IS A SIMPLE STRATEGY TO CUT WATER USE.

  33. Green Terms METHANE: A HYDROCARBON THAT IS A GREENHOUSE GAS WITH A GLOBAL WARMING POTENTIAL. METHANE IS PRODUCED THROUGH ANAEROBIC (WITHOUT OXYGEN) DECOMPOSITION OF WASTE IN LANDFILLS, ANIMAL DIGESTION, DECOMPOSITION OF ANIMAL WASTES, PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF NATURAL GAS AND PETROLEUM, COAL PRODUCTION, AND INCOMPLETE FOSSIL FUEL COMBUSTION.

  34. Green Terms NET METERING: NET METERING IS A METHOD OF CREDITING CUSTOMERS FOR ELECTRICITY THAT THEY GENERATE ON-SITE IN EXCESS OF THEIR OWN ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION. CUSTOMERS WITH THEIR OWN GENERATION OFFSET THE ELECTRICITY THEY WOULD HAVE PURCHASED FROM THEIR UTILITY. IF SUCH CUSTOMERS GENERATE MORE THAN THEY USE IN A BILLING PERIOD, THEIR ELECTRIC METER TURNS BACKWARDS TO INDICATE THEIR NET EXCESS GENERATION.

  35. Green Terms OFF GRID: AN OFF GRID SYSTEM IS A SOLAR PANEL ELECTRICITY GENERATION SYSTEM WHICH IS NOT CONNECTED TO THE MAIN POWER DISTRIBUTION GRID. IT IS COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF THE MAIN GRID, SO TO PROVIDE POWER DURING DARKNESS SUCH SOLAR PANEL SYSTEMS NEED A SECONDARY POWER STORAGE SYSTEM, (SUCH AS BATTERIES) OR A GENERATOR.

  36. Green Terms OFF-GASSING: THE DESCRIPTION OF MATERIALS GIVING OFF GASES INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, SOME OF WHICH ARE TOXIC. IMPLICATED IN A VARIETY OF AILMENTS, SOME PEOPLE ARE MORE SENSITIVE THAN OTHERS TO THESE GASES.

  37. Green Terms ORGANIC FOOD: ORGANIC FOODS ARE MADE IN A WAY THAT LIMITS OR EXCLUDES THE USE OF SYNTHETIC MATERIALS DURING PRODUCTION. FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF HUMAN HISTORY, AGRICULTURE CAN BE DESCRIBED AS ORGANIC; ONLY DURING THE 20TH CENTURY WAS A LARGE SUPPLY OF NEW SYNTHETIC CHEMICALS INTRODUCED TO THE FOOD SUPPLY. THIS MORE RECENT STYLE OF PRODUCTION IS REFERRED TO AS "CONVENTIONAL." UNDER ORGANIC PRODUCTION, THE USE OF CONVENTIONAL NON-ORGANIC PESTICIDES, INSECTICIDES AND HERBICIDES IS GREATLY RESTRICTED AND SAVED AS A LAST RESORT.

  38. Green Terms OZONE: OZONE IS A COLORLESS, ODORLESS REACTIVE GAS COMPRISED OF THREE OXYGEN ATOMS. IT IS FOUND NATURALLY IN THE EARTH’S STRATOSPHERE, WHERE IT ABSORBS THE ULTRAVIOLET COMPONENT OF INCOMING SOLAR RADIATION THAT COULD BE HARMFUL TO LIFE ON EARTH.  OZONE IS ALSO FOUND NEAR THE EARTH’S SURFACE, WHERE POLLUTANTS EMITTED FROM SOCIETY’S ACTIVITIES REACT IN THE PRESENCE OF SUNLIGHT TO FORM THE GAS.

  39. Green Terms PASSIVE SOLAR: PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN REFERS TO THE USE OF THE SUN'S ENERGY FOR THE HEATING AND COOLING OF LIVING SPACES. PASSIVE SYSTEMS ARE SIMPLE, HAVE FEW MOVING PARTS, AND REQUIRE MINIMAL MAINTENANCE AND REQUIRE NO MECHANICAL SYSTEMS. OFTEN THE THERMAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MATERIALS ARE EXTENSIVELY USED, OFTEN TERMED AS THERMAL MASS DESIGN.

  40. Green Terms R-VALUE: THE R-VALUE IS A MEASURE OF THERMAL RESISTANCE USED IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. THE BIGGER THE NUMBER, THE BETTER THE BUILDING INSULATION'S EFFECTIVENESS. R- VALUE IS THE RECIPROCAL OF U-VALUE. OFTEN USED AS A MEASURE OF BULK INSULATION PRODUCTS, SUCH AS BATT INSULATION. THUS R=1/U.

  41. Green Terms RADIANT BARRIER: A DEVICE DESIGNED TO REDUCE OR STOP THE FLOW OF RADIANT ENERGY (HEAT). USUALLY, IN CONSTRUCTION, THE RADIANT BARRIER IS A FILM OR SHEET MATERIAL WHICH REFLECTS HEAT EITHER OUT OF THE BUILDING IN HOT CLIMATES, OR BACK INTO THE BUILDING IN COLD CLIMATES.

  42. Green Terms RADIANT FLOOR HEATING: A HEATING SYSTEM THAT WARMS THE FLOOR, WHICH RADIATES HEAT TO THE WHOLE HOUSE. IT IS USUALLY SET INTO A THIN LAYER OF CEMENT ON TOP OF THE FLOOR STRUCTURE AND FUELED WITH GAS-FIRED BOILERS OR GEOTHERMAL SOURCES. SMALL AREAS CAN BE HEATED WITH ELECTRICAL “BLANKETS” SET UNDER THE FLOORING.

  43. Green Terms RAINWATER HARVESTING: RAINWATER HARVESTING REFERS TO THE ACT OF “KEEPING” RAINWATER THAT FALLS ON YOUR ROOF FOR USE LATER. IT IS COLLECTED IN A CENTRAL TANK, THEN PIPING IS INSTALLED TO GET WATER WHERE NEEDED. THIS IS OFTEN DONE TO REDUCE A BUILDING'S DEPENDENCE ON PIPED 'TOWN WATER' OR TO PROVIDE FRESH WATER WHERE TOWN WATER IS NOT AVAILABLE.

  44. Green Terms RECYCLING: RECYCLING INVOLVES PROCESSING USED MATERIALS INTO NEW PRODUCTS TO: PREVENT THE WASTE OF POTENTIALLY USEFUL MATERIALS, REDUCE THE CONSUMPTION OF FRESH RAW MATERIALS, REDUCE ENERGY USAGE, REDUCE AIR POLLUTION (FROM INCINERATION), WATER POLLUTION (FROM LANDFILLING) BY REDUCING THE NEED FOR "CONVENTIONAL" WASTE DISPOSAL, AND, LOWER GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AS COMPARED TO VIRGIN PRODUCTION. RECYCLING IS A KEY COMPONENT OF MODERN WASTE MANAGEMENT AND IS THE THIRD COMPONENT OF THE "REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE" WASTE HIERARCHY.

  45. Green Terms RENEWABLE ENERGY: ENERGY OBTAINED FROM SOURCES THAT ARE ESSENTIALLY INEXHAUSTIBLE, UNLIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE FOSSIL FUELS, OF WHICH THERE IS A FINITE SUPPLY. RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY INCLUDE WOOD, WASTE, GEOTHERMAL, WIND, PHOTOVOLTAIC, AND SOLAR THERMAL ENERGY.

  46. Green Terms SICK BUILDING SYNDROME: BUILDING WHOSE OCCUPANTS EXPERIENCE ACUTE HEALTH AND/OR COMFORT EFFECTS THAT APPEAR TO BE LINKED TO TIME SPENT THEREIN, BUT WHERE NO SPECIFIC ILLNESS OR CAUSE CAN BE IDENTIFIED. COMPLAINTS MAY BE LOCALIZED IN A PARTICULAR ROOM OR ZONE, OR MAY BE SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE BUILDING.

  47. Green Terms SMART METER: A SMART METER IS A FORM OF ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION METER THAT IS ABLE TO MEASURE YOUR ELECTRICITY USAGE IN MULTIPLE TIME BANDS AND IS COMPUTER BASED. ALSO THEY WILL USUALLY SUPPORT 'FEED IN' MEASUREMENT OF LOCALLY GENERATED ELECTRICITY BACK INTO THE ELECTRICAL SUPPLY GRID; I.E. ANY SPARE ELECTRICITY GENERATED BY SOLAR PANELS.

  48. Green Terms SOLAR ENERGY: ELECTROMAGNETIC ENERGY TRANSMITTED FROM THE SUN (SOLAR RADIATION). THE AMOUNT THAT REACHES THE EARTH IS EQUAL TO ONE BILLIONTH OF TOTAL SOLAR ENERGY GENERATED, OR THE EQUIVALENT OF ABOUT 420 TRILLION KILOWATT-HOURS.

  49. Green Terms SOLAR GAIN: SOLAR GAIN (ALSO KNOWN AS SOLAR HEAT GAIN OR PASSIVE SOLAR GAIN) REFERS TO THE INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE IN A SPACE, OBJECT, OR STRUCTURE THAT RESULTS FROM SOLAR RADIATION. THE AMOUNT OF SOLAR GAIN INCREASES WITH THE STRENGTH OF THE SUN, AND WITH THE ABILITY OF ANY INTERVENING MATERIAL TO TRANSMIT OR RESIST THE RADIATION. OBJECTS STRUCK BY SUNLIGHT ABSORB THE SHORT-WAVE RADIATION FROM THE LIGHT AND RE-RADIATE THE HEAT AT LONGER INFRARED WAVELENGTHS. WHERE THERE IS A MATERIAL OR SUBSTANCE BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE OBJECTS STRUCK THAT IS MORE TRANSPARENT TO THE SHORTER WAVELENGTHS THAN THE LONGER, THEN WHEN THE SUN IS SHINING THE NET RESULT IS AN INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE - SOLAR GAIN.

  50. Green Terms SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM: A SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM CONSISTS OF A COLLECTOR, HEAT TRANSFER CIRCUIT AND HOT WATER STORAGE SYSTEM. THESE CAN EITHER BE COMBINED INTO ONE SYSTEM OR INTO 3 SEPARATE COMPONENTS DEPENDING ON YOUR EXACT NEEDS. THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT COMMERCIAL SUPPLIERS.