Energy Efficiency Terms

Energy Management Dictionary: 30 Terms to Know

When talking about energy management, there are some words or terms that always come up.

The following is a dictionary with some of the relevant terms that will help you throughout the energy management process. Even though we have tried to make it as complete as possible, we would like to continually update this version with words you would like us to include.

If there’s a word you think fits well in the energetic literature please mention it in a comment. We will gladly expand this Energy Management Dictionary with as many terms as the energy efficiency community considers necessary.

Energy Management Terms

Baseline – Level of energy consumption used as a reference when calculating savings on energy efficiency projects. It is established by collecting data on buildings’ energy performance in a period of 12-36 months. A baseline is the theoretical consumption of a company which reflects a complete operating cycle with its maximum and minimum consumption.

Carbon footprint – Total amount of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) produced to support human activities directly or indirectly. It is expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide.

ECM (Energy Conservation Measures) – Any type of project carried out to reduce the amount of energy used by a given process, technology or facility.

EMIS (Energy Management Information System)  Performance management system that allows organisations to plan, make decisions and take action to manage energy use and cost. The system makes its energy performance visible to different levels of the organisation by using energy and utility data. An EMIS is part of a complete EMS.

Energy consumption Quantity of energy applied. It is measured in Kilowatt-hour (kWh), or 1000 watts of electricity being used for 1 hour.

EMS (Energy Management System) – Tool used by a company that seeks to improve its energy performance. The system engages employees across the organisation to use recollected energy usage data and cooperate in the process. An Energy Management System improves operational efficiency, decreases energy consumption and diminishes environmental impacts.

EnPIs (Energy Performance Indicators) – Indicators defined by an organisation that measure energy performance.

ESCO (Energy Service Company) – Entity that delivers an extensive range of energy services. These services include: implementation of energy efficiency projects, energy conservation and energy supply, among others.

Europe 2020 – 10-year growth strategy of the European Union proposed in March 2010. It aims for the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by setting 5 objectives to be reached by 2020. The objectives, over which each member state has adopted its own targets are related to: employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy.

Fossil fuels Coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These hydrocarbons are formed over hundreds of millions of years in the Earth’s crust by the exposure to heat and pressure of the remaining plants and animals. The burning of fossil fuels to create energy is also responsible for the emission of carbon dioxide. This activity produces about double the amount of carbon dioxide that what natural processes can absorb, contributing to global warming.

Gateway – Device that by means of a connection to the Internet links two different networks. These devices collect data periodically and send it over the connected network.

Greenhouse gases – Gas molecules that trap the sun’s heat preventing the Earth from freezing. The ones present in the Earth’s atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapour. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to the greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse effect Process beneficial to the Earth when it occurs naturally since it keeps it warm. It consists of greenhouse gases absorbing some of the radiation generated by the sunlight’s energy and warming the atmosphere to a suitable temperature. The process becomes altered and harmful, contributing to global warming when human activities increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

HVAC (Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning)  A system that provides good indoor air quality by means of adequate ventilation and thermal comfort.

IPMVP (International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol) – Internationally recognised protocol that assists in validating savings when deploying energy reduction projects. The protocol allows the quantification of energy savings performance of energy conservation measures (ECMs).

ISO 50001:2011 International and voluntary standard created as a global response to climate change. It chases a reduction of companies CO2 emissions by giving companies a framework on how to succeed with an EnMS. The standard is based in ISO’s Plan, Do, Check, and Act approach.

Joule (J)  Standard unit of energy or work, equal to the work done by the force of one newton when its point of application moves through a distance of one meter in the direction of the force.

Load curve – Graphical representation of the variation in energy demand over a period of time.

Megawatt – One million watts.

Negawatt – Unit of power representing an amount of energy saved (in Watts), which is the result of energy conservation or increased energy efficiency.
Newton (N) Derived unit of force. One Newton is the force needed to accelerate 1 kilogram of mass at the rate of 1 meter per second squared.

Passive consumption – Energy consumed during non-productive hours or throughout the day due to passive loads.

Peak energy times  Hours of the day when the demand on the electric grid is higher. The times vary by location and season and usually, electricity is more expensive at these hours.

Power factor – An indicator of the efficiency of the power being used. A power factor of 1 means 100% of the supply is being used efficiently. A 0,5 power factor means the use of the power is being wasteful.

Reactive power  The power generated by machines or appliances when voltage and current go up and down at different times. This power represents nothing useful and should be reduced.

Reactive penalties  A reactive power charge that electricity supply companies add to the bill whenever the power factor falls below a previously set figure.

SEU (Significant Energy User) – Indicates the equipment that has been identified as consuming a significant proportion of an organisation’s total energy demand.

Sub-metering – Allows you to monitor individual loads to account for the actual energy consumption.

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) – Computer system for collecting and analysing real time data. It is used to automate or monitor industrial processes to assist in making decisions by providing real time operational data.

Utility meter – A metering device used to measure either electricity usage, the volume of fuel gases, water usage, or heat.

Watt (W) – Derived unit of power (Joule per second). A Watt expresses the rate of energy conversion with respect to time.

Case Studies to complete the Energy Management Dictionary:
Energy Efficiency in RestaurantsHow to save energy in Hotels

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