Green Glossary
Term Definition
Blackouts Lack of electrical power on an electrical system because of failure on that system.
Brownouts A reduction or cutback in electric power, especially as a result of a shortage, a mechanical failure, or over-use by consumers.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) A standard unit for measuring the quantity of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at or near 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Building Automation System (BAS) A computerized system of controlling building systems for optimizing operational efficiencies.
Cogeneration The simultaneous production of electric power and thermal energy from the same fuel, as in burning natural gas, coal, oil, or wood to generate electricity and using waste heat produced to create steam for an industrial process.
Conservation The act or process of reducing resource requirement or consumption. In the energy industry, conservation usually refers specifically to energy conservation, but it can also refer broadly to conservation of any resource used in energy production and delivery.
Curtailment The voluntary reduction of energy use to alleviate strains on supply and delivery systems.
Decatherm 1,000,000 BTU’s.
Demand-side Management (DSM) The use of processes and equipment to reduce electric customers’ use of electricity or to shift use The use of processes and equipment to reduce electric customers’ use of electricity or to shift use away from periods of high electrical demand. DSM is an alternative to building additional generating units.
Deregulation The process of removing regulations or other barriers that may restrict an industry.
Distributed Generation Small, modular electricity generators sited close to the customer load can enable utilities to defer or eliminate costly investments in transmission and distribution (T&D) system upgrades and provides customers with better quality, more reliable energy supplies, and a cleaner environment.
Electrical Grid The layout of an electrical distribution system. The network of wires and equipment over which electricity travels from supplier to customer.
Energy Service Company (ESCO) A business that contracts with customers to install energy-efficient and other demand-side management measures in facilities.
Fuel Cells A fuel cell is a high-efficiency electrochemical energy conversion device, which can generate electricity and produce heat with the help of catalysts.
Green Building Buildings that are built using methods that minimize the environmental impact. Includes buildings that have been certified by LEED or others that use recognized eco-building approaches, as well as local suppliers.
Green Power Green Power is a term used to describe electricity produced by sources that are less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels. While there is no strict definition of Green Power, generally renewable sources such as solar, wind power, geothermal biomass, and small hydroelectric are considered to be Green Power sources.
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) LEED is a voluntary national standard for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for high performance, sustainable buildings. LEED standards are currently available for (1) new construction and major renovations, (2) operation of existing buildings, and (3) interior projects for commercial buildings.
Off-Peak Period of relatively low system demand. These periods often occur in daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns; these off-peak periods differ for each individual electric utility.
On-Peak Periods of relatively high system demand. These periods often occur in daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns; these on-peak periods differ for each individual electric utility.
Power Grid The network of transmission lines that link generating plants in a region with local distribution networks to help maximize service reliability.
Power Pool An arrangement between two or more electrically interconnected utilities to coordinate operation, planning, or maintenance of their generating and transmission facilities to obtain the most reliable and economic operation of the combined systems.
Tariff A published volume of rate schedules and general terms and conditions under which a product or service will be supplied.
Therm 100,000 BTU’s.

References and Sources

  1. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services’ Facilities Strategic Energy Plan, August 23, 2004.
  2. U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
  3. Ohio Department of Development, Office of Energy Efficiency.