Services

Residential

Commercial

Green Jobs

Glossary of Useful Terms:

Access Green
A District based Certified Business Enterprise that is one of the Mid Atlantic area’s leading providers of energy efficiency and conservation solutions, from residential to commercial, and from the private sector to work with governments. Access Green is also firmly committed to lifting up underserved communities through workforce development programs.

Air Barrier
Any part of the building shell that offers resistance to air leakage.

Air Exchange
The total amount of times air within a building or defined space is replaced. (usually via air leakage or ventilation)

Air Sealant
Item used to prevent air leakage, including weather stripping, draft barriers, caulk, foam and insulation.

Backer Rod
A backer rod is designed for use prior to caulking to fill gaps and openings larger than 1/2″ × 1/2″. It also prevents 3 point bonding, constructed of non-absorbent, closed cell polyethylene material.

Blower Door
A device consisting of a fan, removable panel and gauges used to measure and locate air leaks.

BPI (Building Performance Institute)
The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is a national standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work.

Btu (British Thermal Unit)
A quantity of heat energy equal to about 1055 Joules. This is the amount required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Building Performance
Building performance, or home performance, is a comprehensive whole-house approach to identifying and fixing comfort and energy efficiency problems in a home. Building performance institutes implement a series of technical standards for home performance and retrofits that are recognized nationwide. They are also responsible for endorsing companies, authorizing professional individuals, and creating certifiable industry programs. Examples of such institutes include the Building Performance Institute (BPI) and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

Bundled Efficiency Program
A program that offers education on energy systems in a building and how they work, as well as actual service offerings into a touch-point.

Ccf (Hundred cubic feet)
Measure of natural gas roughly equivalent to 100,000Btus. (See Therm)

Carbon Footprint
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons or pounds of carbon dioxide. (CO2)

CFL Bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp)
Compared to incandescent bulbs, spiral and tubular CFL bulbs give off the same amount of visible light, use less power and have a longer life. Will save on average $30 over the life of the bulb and 2000 times its weight in greenhouse gases.

Combustion
Burning or rapid oxidation, accompanied by release of energy in the form of heat and light.

Combustion Appliance
Any appliance that uses the combustion process to generate energy.

DIY Projects
“Do It Yourself” projects in and around the home; typically requiring very basic knowledge or skills to perform the work.

Energy Audit
An assessment of the energy needs and efficiency of a building.

Energy Factor (EF)
An overall energy efficiency rating of a water heater, or how much hot water you get out for how much energy is put in.

Energy Information Administration (EIA)
An agency in the US Department of Energy that provides policy-neutral data, forecasts, and analyses to promote sound policy making, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

Energy
The capacity of a body or system to do work.

Exfiltration
Air escaping from a building. (see Air Exchange)

Fenestration
Window and door openings in a building shell.

HERS
Acronym for Home Energy Rating System: a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to determine a building’s energy efficiency level. The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient the building is.

Heat
The state of a body or item perceived as having or generating a relatively high degree of warmth.

HVAC
Acronym for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning.

Infiltration
Air flow into a building from outside. (see Air Exchange)

Insulation
Material with relatively high thermal resistance.

Joist
Horizontal wood framing member that supports a floor or ceiling.

Kilowatt
A unit of electric power representing a rate of 1,000 Joules/second.

KWh (kilowatt hour)
A unit of electric energy equivalent to 3412 Btus.

Power
A supply of electricity or other means of energy.

Party Wall
A dividing partition between two adjoining buildings (or units) that is shared by the tenants of each residence or business.

Plumbing Chase
A hollow wall area accommodating piping used for drain waste or vent in plumbing systems.

R-Value
A term predominantly used in the building industry to describe the thermal resistance properties of certain insulation materials.

Shell
A building’s foundation, bottom floor, exterior walls and roof assembly.

Smoke Stick
A means of making a smoke cloud to measure the velocity of air and thus pinpoint areas of air leakage.

Therm
A unit of energy equaling 100,000 Btus.

Thermal envelope
The physical separator between the interior and exterior environments of a building, serving as an outer shell to maintain and facilitate climate control.
Also known as a Building Envelope.

Thermal Imaging Analysis
A technique used to identify hidden forms of air leakage and poor insulation using an infrared camera.

Unconditioned Space
A space that is neither directly nor indirectly conditioned space, which can be isolated from conditioned space by partitions and/or closeable doors.

Vapor Retarder
Any material, typically a plastic or foil sheet, which resists diffusion of moisture through wall, ceiling and floor assemblies of buildings.