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Active Solar Heater: A solar water or space-heating system that uses pumps or fans to circulate the fluid (water or heat-transfer fluid such as diluted antifreeze) from the solar collectors to a storage tank subsystem.

Alternative Fuels: A popular term for "non-conventional" transportation fuels derived from natural gas (propane, compressed natural gas, methanol, etc.) or biomass materials (ethanol, methanol).

Ampere: A unit of measure for an electrical current; 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 Energy Efficiency Ratings: The ratings under which specified appliances convert energy sources into useful energy, as determined by procedures established by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Backdrafting: The flow of air down a flue/chimney and into a house caused by low indoor air pressure that can occur when using several fans or fireplaces and/or if the house is very tightly sealed.

Bioconversion: The conversion of one form of energy into another by the action of plants or microorganisms. The conversion of biomass to ethanol, methanol or methane.

British Thermal Unit (Btu): The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit; equal to 252 calories.

Btu: The abbreviation for British thermal unit(s).

Building Energy Ratio: The space-conditioning load of a building.

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Calorie: The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a unit of water, at or near the temperature of maximum density, 1 degree Celsius (or Centigrade [C]); expressed as a "small calorie" (the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree C), or as a "large calorie" or "kilogram calorie" (the amount of heat required to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree C); capitalization of the word calorie indicates a kilogram-calorie.

Carbon monoxide: A colorless, odorless but poisonous combustible gas with the formula CO. Carbon monoxide is produced in the incomplete combustion of carbon and carbon compounds such as fossil fuels (i.e. coal, petroleum) and their products (e.g. liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline) and biomass.

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Demand: The rate at which electricity is delivered to or by a system, part of a system or piece of equipment expressed in kilowatts, kilovolt-amperes or other suitable unit, at a given instant or averaged over a specified period of time.

Deregulation: The process of changing regulatory policies and laws to increase competition among suppliers of commodities and services. The process of deregulating the electric power industry was initiated by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. (See also Restructuring)

Direct Access: The ability of an electric power consumer to purchase electricity from a supplier of his or her choice without being physically inhibited by the owner of the electric distribution and transmission system to which the consumer is connected.

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Electricity Grid: A common term referring to an electricity transmission and distribution system.

Electric Rate: The unit price and quantity to which it applies as specified in a rate schedule or contract.

Electric Utility: A corporation, person, agency, authority or other legal entity that owns and/or operates facilities for the generation, transmission, distribution or sale of electricity primarily for use by the public. However, in deregulated markets, electric utilities do not generate electricity and often do not sell electricity.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER): The measure of the instantaneous energy efficiency of room air conditioners; the cooling capacity in Btu/hr divided by the watts of power consumed at a specific outdoor temperature (usually 95 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): This is an independent regulatory agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that has jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, natural gas pricing, oil pipeline rates and gas pipeline certification. It also licenses and inspects private, municipal and state hydroelectric projects and oversees related environmental matters.

Fuel Oil: Any liquid petroleum product burned for the generation of heat in a furnace or firebox or for the generation of power in an engine. Domestic (residential) heating fuels are classed as Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and industrial fuels as Nos. 4, 5 and 6..

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Geothermal Heat Pump: A type of heat pump that uses the ground, ground water or ponds as a heat source and heat sink, rather than outside air. Ground or water temperatures are more constant and are warmer in winter and cooler in summer than air temperatures. Geothermal heat pumps operate more efficiently than conventional or air source heat pumps.

Greenhouse Gases: Those gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, tropospheric ozone, methane and low-level ozone that are transparent to solar radiation, but opaque to long-wave radiation, and which contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Green Pricing: A practice engaged in by some regulated utilities where electricity produced from clean, renewable resources is sold at a higher cost than that produced from fossil or nuclear power plants, supposedly because some buyers are willing to pay a premium for clean power.

Grid-Connected System: Independent power systems that are connected to an electricity transmission and distribution system (referred to as the electricity grid) such that the systems can draw on the grid's reserve capacity in times of need, and feed electricity back into the grid during times of excess production.

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Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) System: All the components of the appliance used to condition the interior air of a building.

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Independent Power Producer: A company or individual that is not directly regulated as a power utility. These entities produce power for their own use and/or sell it to regulated utilities.

Integrated Resource Plan (IRP): A plan developed by an electric utility, sometimes as required by a public regulatory commission or agency, that defines the short- and long-term capacity additions (supply side) and demand-side management programs that it will undertake to meet projected energy demands.

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Low-E Coatings & (Window) Films: A coating applied to the surface of the glazing of a window to reduce heat transfer through the window.

Low-Emissivity Windows & (Window) Films: Energy-efficient windows that have a coating or film applied to the surface of the glass to reduce heat transfer through the window.

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Mean Power Output (of a Wind Turbine): The average power output of a wind energy conversion system at a given mean wind speed based on a Raleigh frequency distribution.

Movable Insulation: A device that reduces heat loss at night and during cloudy periods and heat gain during the day in warm weather. A movable insulator could be an insulative shade, shutter panel, or curtain.

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Natural gas: A hydrocarbon gas obtained from underground sources, often in association with petroleum and coal deposits. It generally contains a high percentage of methane, varying amounts of ethane, and inert gases; used as a heating fuel.

Natural Ventilation: Ventilation that is created by the differences in the distribution of air pressures around a building. Air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure with gravity and wind pressure affecting the airflow. The placement and control of doors and windows alters natural ventilation patterns.

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Passive/Natural Cooling: To allow or augment the natural movement of cooler air from exterior, shaded areas of a building through or around a building.

Power: Energy that is capable or available for doing work; the time rate at which work is performed, measured in horsepower, watts or Btu per hour. Electric power is the product of electric current and electromotive force.

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Rate Schedule: A mechanism used by electric utilities to determine prices for electricity; typically defines rates according to amounts of power demanded/consumed during specific time periods.

Restructuring: The process of changing the structure of the electric power industry from one of guaranteed monopoly over service territories, as established by the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, to one of open competition between power suppliers for customers in any area.

Roof Ventilator: A stationary or rotating vent used to ventilate attics or cathedral ceilings; usually made of galvanized steel or polypropylene.

Retailer: A firm (other than a refiner, reseller or reseller/retailer) that carries on the trade or business of purchasing energy products and reselling them to ultimate consumers.

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Solar energy: Electromagnetic energy transmitted from the sun (solar radiation). The amount that reaches the earth is equal to one billionth of total solar energy generated, or the equivalent of about 420 trillion kilowatt hours.

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Thermal Efficiency: A measure of the efficiency of converting a fuel to energy and useful work; useful work and energy output divided by higher heating value of input fuel times 100 (for percent).

Transmission: The process of sending or moving electricity from one point to another; usually defines that part of a utility’s electric power lines from the power plant buss to the last transformer before the customer's connection.

Utility: A regulated entity that exhibits the characteristics of a natural monopoly. For the purposes of electric industry restructuring, "utility" refers to the regulated, vertically integrated electric company. "Transmission utility" refers to the regulated owner/operator of the transmission system only. "Distribution utility" refers to the regulated owner/operator of the distribution system which serves retail customers.

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Wind Energy: Energy available from the movement of the wind across a landscape caused by the heating of the atmosphere, earth and oceans by the sun.

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Zoning: The combining of rooms in a structure according to similar heating and cooling patterns. Zoning requires using more than one thermostat to control heating, cooling and ventilation equipment.

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