Alternative energy: any energy derived from substances other than fossil fuels; not to be confused with renewable energy, derived from natural sources such as water, sun or wind.

Carbon Dioxide: a chemical compound made up of one atom of carbon and two of oxygen (chemical formula CO2).

Carbon Footprint Calculator: an instrument for measuring carbon dioxide emissions: A CFC can make an assessment of how such emissions can be reduced on the basis of our daily behaviour as regards energy saving, transport, food consumption and the purchasing of goods and services.

Car-pooling: used to describe the use of private cars shared between a group of people; this leads to a reduction in individual cost and in CO2 emissions.

Climate change: the variations on a global scale of climatic conditions on Earth; specifically, variations in one or more environmental and climatic parameters such as temperature, precipitation, cloud-cover, ocean temperatures, and the distribution of animal and plant species. Climate changes usually come about from natural causes, but recent scientific opinion holds that such changes are affected by human pollution of the environment.

Composting: a process of treating organic refuse to produce 100% natural fertilizer for agriculture.

Economic sustainability: the ability of an economic system to generate a growth in economic indicators as regards incomes and occupation as sustenance for the population.

Ecosystem: according to the definition of Howard T Odum in 1971, the ecosystem is “any unit
that includes all the organisms that function together in a given area (a biotic community) interacting with the physical environment (the biotype)so that a flow of energy leads to clearly defined biotic structures and cycling of materials between living and nonliving parts”.

Emissions: all the solid, liquid and gaseous substances produced by human activities, which lead to atmospheric pollution.

Environment: all the resources that are indispensible for life on earth of all animal and vegetable species.

Environmental footprint: the impact that human activities have on the ecosystem.

Environmental impact: all human activities that have a positive or negative effect on the environment.

Environmental sustainability: processes set in motion to safeguard and promote the renewal of environmental resources.


Fossil fuel: These comprise all ORGANIC SUBSTANCES (Coal, natural gas and petroleum) which have been formed over millions of years under the earth’s surface, and which, once they have been transformed into more stable forms, are of prime importance for the production of energy. These products can also be described as non-renewable energy sources, since their over-use could render them unavailable to future generations.

Global warming: the increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

Greenhouse Effect: a phenomenon caused by the excessive increase in concentrations of certain gases present in the atmosphere, which leads to the overheating of the planet; these gases include carbon dioxide, methane and nitric oxide.

The Hi-Quad Project: the development of a new form of high-tech road vehicle which can travel short distances at minimum cost and minimum impact on the environment.

Life-cycle: the life cycle of a product has a direct effect on the environment; it involves all its stages from production and distribution to use, recycling and final disposal.

Organic foodstuffs: these are all food products that derive directly from organic agriculture a type of cultivation that avoids the use of chemical substances such as weed-killers, insecticides and pesticides. The aim is to safeguard the health of the consumer by growing food in a natural way.

Organic waste: all waste materials deriving from animals or plants.

Paper: an industrial product produced from various fibrous substances, such as , for example, cellulose, wood and straw, which are then treated with special additives before being turned into sheets of paper.


Recycling: an action carried out on waste materials that involves treating them to obtain materials or substances that can be utilised either for their original application or for other purposes.

Refuse: defined by EU Directive n° 2008/98Ce of November 9, 2008 (published in the Official Journal of the EU L312 of November 22, 2008) as “any substance or object which the holder disposes of, or has the intention or obligation of disposing of”

Separate waste collection: Collecting refuse which has been separated on the basis of its composition; in this way we can separate out waste materials that can be recycled from those which are due for disposal. Separate collection reduces the amount of refuse produced and also reduces the exploitation of natural resources.

Solar energy: a renewable source of energy produced by the sun in unlimited quantities, and which has no harmful effect on the environment.

Sustainable development: a constantly changing process that involves three developmental factors: environmental, social and economic. For a process of development to be defined sustainable, it must be able to ensure that the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the needs of future generations.

Unicusano green philosophy: used to describe all the environment-friendly policies and actions carried out at the university with a view to respecting the environment.

University campus: the term usually applies to an area occupied by university premises, and in some cases includes residential quarters for the students.

Waste disposal: treatment of urban and industrial wastes which allow for recycling, or the elimination of a waste product according to its composition.

Water dispenser: a mechanical or manual provider of purified water.

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