Adjustable speed drive

An electronic device that controls the rotational speed of a piece of motor-driven equipment (e.g., a compressor, fan, or pump)

Air Handling Unit (AHU)

An equipment package that includes a fan or blower, heating and/or cooling coils, air filtration, etc. for providing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to a building.

Certified Energy Manager (CEM)

International professional designation available through training and testing by the Association of Energy Engineers

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

The effect of a light source on color on a scale of 1 to 100 where 100 represents no color distortion

Electric Distribution Company

Local regulated electric utility company

Energy Savings Performance Contract

A way to finance and implement capital improvement project by using utility cost savings to cover project costs

Energy Conservation Measure (ECM)

An energy audit recommendation

Energy Management System

Computerized system for fully automatic control of HVAC, lighting, refrigeration, etc. for temperature management, comfort and energy savings


The amount of dissolved calcium salts and/or magnesium present in water

Heat recovery ventilator

A device that captures heat from exhaust air from a building and transfers it to the fresh air entering the building to preheat the air and thus reduce energy consumption and cost

HVAC systems

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

A unit of electric energy consumption equal to that consumed in using a power level of one kilowatt (1,000 watts) for a length of one hour

Load factor

The average percentage of capacity of a utility that is used over a given period of time such as a month or year

Low-E coating (for windows)

A coating applied to the surface of window glazing to reduce heat transfer through the glazing by reducing the emissivity


A measurement of light

Lumens Per Watt

Method to compare the energy efficiency of various types of lighting. Higher lumens per watt ratio indicate more light for less KWH consumption

Measurement and Verification (M&V)

A process capable of keeping an Energy Performance Contract fair to all parties

Outside Air

Fresh air taken from outside that has not previously circulated through the HVAC system

Occupancy Sensor

A control device that senses the presence of a person in a given space and is commonly used to control lighting.  Occupancy sensors are sometimes used to control HVAC in some building types

Power Factor (PF)

The ratio of power actually being used in an electric circuit, expressed in kW, to the power that is apparently being drawn from the power source, expressed in kilovolt-amperes (kVA)

Reactive Power

Electrical power strictly used to develop magnetic field


A measure of thermal resistance used to compare insulating values. The higher the R-value number of a material, the better its insulating properties and the slower the heat flows through it

Real-Time Pricing (RTP)

The instantaneous pricing of electricity based on the cost of the electricity at the time it is used by the customer


The process of monitoring the condition of equipment through the measurement and analysis of heat. Typically conducted through the use of infra-red cameras and associated software

U-Factor or U-value

A measure of how well heat is transferred by a window, thus affecting heating and air conditioning costs. U-factor is the inverse of R-value. The lower the U-factor, the better the window will retain heat on a cold day or cooling on a hot day

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