Definitions - i

Ice Core

The proportion of sunlight energy that a photovoltaic cell converts to electrical energy.

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Ice Shelf

A thick mass of ice extending from a polar shore. The seaward edge is afloat and sometimes extends hundreds of miles into the sea.

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Adverse effects on the normal functioning of the immune system, caused by exposure to a toxic chemical. Changes in immune function could produce higher rates of infectious diseases or cancer, or more severe cases of those diseases. Immunotoxic chemicals can also cause auto-immune disease or allergic reactions.

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Refers to a surface that promotes storm water runoff instead of infiltration into the ground.

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Incident Light

Light that shines onto the face of a solar cell or module.

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A treatment technology involving destruction of waste by controlled burning at high temperatures; e.g., burning sludge
to remove the water and reduce the remaining residues to a safe, non-burnable ash that can be disposed of safely on land, in some waters, or in underground locations.

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Indian Summer

An unseasonably warm spell with clear skies near the middle of autumn. Usually follows a substantial period of cool weather.

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Indoor Air Quality

The supply and introduction of adequate air for ventilation and control of airborne contaminants, acceptable temperatures and relative humidity.

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Induction Generator

A variable speed multi-pole electric generator.

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Leakage of ground water into a sewage collection system.

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Infra-red Radiation

The heat energy that is emitted from all solids, liquids, and gases. In the context of the greenhouse issue, the term refers to the heat energy emitted by the Earth's surface and its atmosphere. Greenhouse gases strongly absorb this radiation in the Earth's atmosphere, and re-radiate some back towards the surface, creating the greenhouse effect.

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Made from plant sugars from corn. Firstly the sugar is fermented, then transformed into a polymer called polylactide.

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  1. Bacteria or fungi injected into compost to start biological action.
  2. A medium containing organisms, usually bacteria or a virus, that is introduced into cultures or living organisms.

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The proportion of sunlight energy that a photovoltaic cell converts to electrical energy.

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The solar power density incident on a surface of stated area and orientation, usually expressed as Watts per square meter or Btu per square foot per hour. See diffuse insolation and direct insolation.

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Insulating Walls

Insulating walls may use light but effective insulating materials such as fiberglass batts, strawbale or foam; or from heavier materials which have the benefit of good thermal mass, storing heat or coolness, e.g. stone, or earth construction, or insulating concrete forms.

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Intelligent Materials

Materials that are able to adapt to their environment by altering their properties. Examples of intelligent materials include liquid crystal glass which changes from transparent to opaque upon application of a current, and thermo-chromic glazing that changes transparency in response to ambient temperatures.

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Intercropping is the practice of growing two or more crops in close proximity. The most common goal of intercropping is to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land by making use of resources that would otherwise not be utilized by a single crop. Careful planning is required, taking into account the soil, climate, crops, and varieties. It is particularly important not to have crops competing with each other for physical space, nutrients, water, or sunlight. Examples of intercropping strategies are planting a deep-rooted crop with a shallow-rooted crop, or planting a tall crop with a shorter crop that requires partial shade.

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An introduced (non-native) plant that disrupts the local ecosystem and isn't checked by climate, grazing, or other natural means.

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A layer of warm air that prevents the rise of cooling air and traps pollutants beneath it; can cause an air pollution episode.

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The proportion of sunlight energy that a photovoltaic cell converts to electrical energy.

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The proportion of sunlight energy that a photovoltaic cell converts to electrical energy.

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The direct, diffuse, and reflected solar radiation that strikes a surface. Usually expressed in kilowatts per square meter. Irradiance multiplied by time equals insolation.

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Irradiated Food

Food subject to brief radioactivity, usually gamma rays, to kill insects, bacteria, and mold, and to permit storage without refrigeration.

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Lines connecting points of equal temperature on a weather map.

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