Active energy - Electricity used to operate resistive loads such as incandescent lighting and heating elements. Also called real energy.


Active Heating System -  A solar water or space-heating system that moves heated air or water using pumps or fans.


Air-Conditioning - Cooling and dehumidifying the air by a refrigeration unit powered by electricity or natural gas. This definition excludes fans, blowers, or evaporative cooling systems (swamp coolers) that are not connected to a refrigeration unit.


Alternating Current - An electric current that reverses its direction at regular intervals or cycles.


Ampere - Unit of measure for an electrical current. It's the amount of current that flows in a circuit at an electromotive force of one Volt and at a resistance of one Ohm. Abbreviated as Amp.


Appliance - A piece of equipment, commonly powered by electricity, used to perform a particular energy-driven function. Examples of common appliances are refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers, conventional ranges/ovens and microwave ovens, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, toasters, radios, and televisions.



Base load: The sum of the loads in facility that cannot be used for demand management. These are typically key processes or minimum equipment operating levels required to maintain building comfort, production levels or product quality.


Billing period: The time period over which the utility assesses billing charges. Most utilities use a billing period of one month.



Carbon Dioxide - A colorless, odorless noncombustible gas with the formula CO2 that is present in the atmosphere. It is formed by the combustion of carbon and carbon compounds (such as fossil fuels and biomass) and by respiration, which is a slow combustion in animals and plants, and by the gradual oxidation of organic matter in the soil.


Circuit(s) - A conductor or a system of conductors through which electric current flows.


Climate Change - A term used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistencies, but especially to significant change from one prevailing climatic condition to another. In some cases, "climate change" has been used synonymously with the term "global warming". Scientists, however, tend to use the term in a wider sense inclusive of natural changes in climate, including climatic cooling.


Coal - A fossil fuel formed by the breakdown of vegetable material trapped underground without access to air.


Cogeneration - The production of electrical energy and another form of useful energy (such as heat of steam) through the sequential use of energy.


Combustion - Chemical oxidation accompanied by the generation of light and heat.


Consumption: The amount of electricity supplied to a customer over the billing period. Utilities typically measure electricity consumption in kilowatts-hours (kWh). Ten 100 watt light bulbs operating for one hour consume 1KwH, 10 x 100 watts x 1 hour = 1,000 Wh = 1 kWh. One 100 watt light bulb operating for 10 hours consumes 1kWh, 1 x 100watts x 10 hours = 1,000 Wh = 1 kWh.


Controllable object: A load within a facility that can be used to reduce a facility's demand. Examples of controllable objects include heaters, furnaces, chillers and compressors.



Deforestation - The net removal of trees from forested land.


Demand: The amount of energy consumed over a specific time interval. Virtually all commercial and industrial customers pay demand charges on their utility bills. Utilities typically calculate demand as the amount of active energy consumed over a 15 minutes to 1 hour time interval. Ten 100 watt light bulbs operating for one hour create a demand level of 1 kW, (10x 100 watts x 1 hour)/1 hour = 1000W = 1kW


Demand management - An approach to reducing energy costs by reducing a facility's peak demand which lowers utility bill demand charges.


Demand response - The ability of a facility to reduce demand levels over a specific time period or over the long term. Curtailment is a short term demand response action to an emergency situation. Sustained demand response is an overall lowering of peak demand levels over the long term.


Dynamo - A device that changes mechanical energy into electrical energy.



Electrical Energy - The energy associated with electric charges and their movements.


Electricity - A form of energy characterized by the presence and motion of elementary charged particles generated by friction, induction, or chemical change.


Electricity Generation - The process of producing electric energy or the amount of electric energy produced by transforming other forms of energy, commonly expressed in kilowatthours (kWh) or megawatthours (MWh).


Electric Motor - A device that takes electrical energy and converts it into mechanical energy to turn a shaft.


Electric Power - The amount of energy produced per second. The power produced by an electric current.


Embedded operational intelligence: Technology that incorporates a user's unique understanding of their facility's operation into predictive energy management software, resulting in an intelligent automation solution enabling savings without negative impact to facility processes.


Emission - A discharge or something that is given off; generally used in regard to discharges into the air or releases of gases to the atmosphere from some type of human activity (cooking, driving a car, etc). In the context of global climate change, they consist of greenhouse gases (e.g., the release of carbon dioxide during fuel combustion).


Energy Consumption - The use of energy as a source of heat or power or as a raw material input to a manufacturing process.


Energy Efficiency - Refers to activities that are aimed at reducing the energy used by substituting technically more advanced equipment, typically without affecting the services provided. Examples include high-efficiency appliances, efficient lighting programs, high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems or control modifications, efficient building design, advanced electric motor drives, and heat recovery systems.



Filament - The fine metal wire in a light bulb that glows when heated by an electric current.


Flat-plate solar connector - A device designed to capture the sun energy and to produce low temperature heat energy. It is commonly used as a collector in solar heating systems.


Fossil Fuels - Fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) that result from the compression of ancient plant and animal life formed over millions of years.


Fuel - Any material that can be burned to make energy.


Fuel cycle - The entire set of stages involved in the utilization of fuel, including extraction, transformation, transportation, and combustion.


Fuel Oil - Oil that is used for fuel and that usually ignites at a higher temperature than kerosene.


Furnace - An enclosed structure in which heat is produced for the purpose of heating a house or a building.



Generator - A device that turns mechanical energy into electrical energy. The mechanical energy is sometimes provided by an engine or turbine.


Generating capacity - The amount of electrical power a power plant can produce.


Geothermal energy - The heat energy that is produced by natural processes inside the earth. It can be generated by hot springs, hot water reservoirs found deep below the ground, or by running through the rocks.


Global Warming - An increase in the near surface temperature of the earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is today most often used to refer to the warming some scientists predict will occur as a result of increased anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.


Greenhouse Effect - The effect of the earth's atmosphere, due to certain gases, in trapping heat from the sun; the atmosphere acts like a greenhouse.


Greenhouse Emissions - Waste gases given off by industrial and power plants, automobiles and other processes.


Greenhouse Gases - Gases that trap the heat of the sun in the earth's atmosphere, producing the greenhouse effect. The two major greenhouse gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide. Lesser greenhouse gases include methane, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrogen oxides.



Heating Equipment - Any equipment designed or specifically used for heating ambient air in an enclosed space. Common types of heating equipment include: central warm air furnace, heat pump, plug-in or built-in room heater, boiler for steam or hot water heating system, heating stove, and fireplace.


Hydroelectric power plant - A power plant that uses moving water to power a turbine generator to produce electricity.


Hydropower - Energy that comes from moving water.



Incandescent Light Bulb - An incandescent bulb is a type of electric light in which light is produced by a filament heated by electric current. The most common example is the type found in most table and floor lamps. In commercial buildings, incandescent lights are used for retail light applications, hotels and motels. This includes the very small, high-intensity track lights used to display merchandise or provide spot illumination in restaurants.


Induction - The process of producing an electrical or magnetic effect through the influence of a nearby magnet, electric current or electrically charged body.


Interval data: data provided by a utility which shows a facility's energy consumption over time. Interval data is typically measured every 15 minutes to 1 hour.



Joule - A metric unit for measuring work and energy, named after James Joule. It is equal to the work done when a one ampere current is passed through a resistance of one ohm for one second



Kilowatt (kW) - The unit of measure for demand or power. See Demand. Utility demand charges are typically rated in kW.


Kilowatt-hours (kWh) - The unit of measure for consumption. See Consumption. Utility consumption charges are typically rated in kWh.



Load - The amount of electric power required by equipment or a process. It Is also used to generically describe specific equipment or types of equipment.


Load factor - The ratio (%) of the average demand during the billing period to the peak demand occurring during that same billing period. High load factors indicate a stable demand level. Low load factors are indicative of highly variable demand levels. Low load factors typically indicate good potential for demand management and cost savings.


LED (Light-Emitting Diode) -Electronic semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. LEDs are considerably more efficient than incandescent bulbs and rarely burn out. They are used in many applications such as flat-screen video displays and increasingly as general sources of light.



Natural Gas - An odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-toxic clean-burning fossil fuel. It is usually found in fossil fuel deposits and used as a fuel.


Nonrenewable - Fuels that cannot be easily made or "renewed." We can use up nonrenewable fuels. Oil, natural gas, and coal are nonrenewable fuels.


North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) - A classification system that categorizes establishments into groups with similar economic activities. The structure of the Northern American Industry Classification System, adopted by Statistics Canada in 1997 to replace the 1980 Standard Industrial Classification, was developed by the statistical agencies of Canada,Mexico and the United States.



Ohm - The unit of resistance to the flow of an electric current.


Oil - The raw material that petroleum products are made from. It is a black liquid fossil fuel found deep in the Earth. Gasoline and most plastics are made from oil.



Passive heating system - A mean of capturing, storing, and using heat from the sun.


Peak demand - The maximum demand level at a facility during the utility billing period. Demand rates are applied to the facility's peak demand level to create the demand charges on utility bills.


Photovoltaic cell - A device usually made from silicon which converts some of the energy from light (radiant energy) into electrical energy. Another name for a solar cell.


Photovoltaic Conversion - The process by which radiant (light) energy is changed into electrical energy.


Pipeline, Distribution - A pipeline that conveys gas from a transmission pipeline to its ultimate consumer.


Plasma - A high-temperature, ionized gas composed of electrons and positive ions in such number that it is electrically neutral.


Power - The rate at which energy is transferred. Electrical energy is usually measured in watts. Also used for a measurement of capacity.


Power degradation - The loss of power when electricity is sent over long distances.


Power factor - The ratio (%) of reactive energy to total energy. Total energy is the combination of active and reactive energy used at a facility. Utilities typically use a billing adjustment based on power factor to charge for above average reactive energy use. All else being equal, a facility operating a large number of motors would have a lower power factor than a facility with fewer motors.


Power-generating efficiency - The percentage of the total energy content of a power plant's fuel which is converted into electric energy. The remaining energy is lost to the environment as heat.


Power Plant - A facility where power, especially electricity, is generated.



Radiant energy - Any form of energy radiating from a source in waves.


Reactive energy - Electricity used to generate magnetic fields in inductive loads, such as motors or compressors. Utilities have to generate reactive energy as well as active energy in order to reliably provide power to their customers.


Real energy - See active energy.


Receiver panel (Solar) - A panel that contains a battery of solar cells.


Recycling - The process of converting materials that are no longer useful as designed or intended into a new product.


Renewable energy sources - Fuels that can be easily made or "renewed." We can never use up renewable fuels. Types of renewable fuels are hydropower (water), solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. 



Solar Cell - An electric cell which changes radiant energy from the sun into electrical energy by the photovoltaic process.


Solar Energy - The radiant energy of the sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.


Solar spectrum - The total distribution of electromagnetic radiation emanating from the sun.


Steam - Water in vapor form, used as the working fluid in steam turbines and heating systems.


Steam Generator - A generator in which the prime movers (turbines) are powered by steam.



Thermal Energy - The total potential and kinetic energy associated with the random motions of the molecules of a material.


Transformer - A device which converts the generator's low-voltage electricity to higher-voltage levels for transmission to the load center, such as a city or factory.


Transmission (Electric) - The movement or transfer of electric energy over an interconnected group of lines and associated equipment between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery to consumers or is delivered to other electric systems. Transmission is considered to end when the energy is transformed for distribution to the consumer.


Transmission Line - A set of conductors, insulators, supporting structures, and associated equipment used to move large quantities of power at high voltage, usually over long distances between a generating, receiving point and major substations or delivery points.


Transmission System (Electric) - An interconnected group of electric transmission lines and associated equipment for moving or transferring electric energy in bulk between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery over the distribution system lines to consumers or is delivered to other electric systems.


Turbine - A device which blades are turned by a force such as wind, water, or high pressure steam. The mechanical energy of the spinning turbine is converted into electricity by a generator.



Utility Generation - Generation by electric systems engaged in selling electric energy to the public.



Volt (V) - The volt is the International System of Units (SI) measure of electric potential or electromotive force. A potential of one volt appears across a resistance of one ohm when a current of one ampere flows through that resistance. Reduced to SI base units, 1 V = 1 kg times m2 times s-3 times A-1 (kilogram meter squared per second cubed per ampere).


Voltaic Electricity - Electricity produced by chemical action.


Voltage - The difference in electrical potential between any two conductors or between a conductor and ground. It is a measure of the electric energy per electron that electrons can acquire and/or give up as they move between the two conductors.



Watt: The unit of measure for demand or power. See demand. 1,000W=1 kilowatt kW. 1,000,000 W = 1MWh


Wind - The term given to any natural movement of air in the atmosphere. A renewable source of energy used to turn turbines to generate electricity.