U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy


Use the glossary to access terms and definitions related to residential energy efficiency programs. Click the letters below to find your terms. Letters that do not appear currently do not have glossary terms related to them.

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Formal, third-party verification that an individual has demonstrated the competencies and skills required to perform the functions associated with a specific job or task.

Close Rate

An arrangement that associates a single service with more than one brand.  In the context of energy efficiency programs, an organization might encourage the use of its brand by a partner or contractor in marketing materials.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)

A specialized financial institution that works in market niches that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. CDFIs provide a range of financial products and services in economically distressed target markets, such as mortgage financing for low-income and first-time homebuyers and not-for-profit developers, flexible underwriting and risk capital for needed community facilities, and technical assistance, commercial loans and investments to small start-up or expanding businesses in low-income areas. CDFIs include regulated institutions such as community development banks and credit unions, and non-regulated institutions such as loan and venture capital funds.


A company that provides specific services to customers that directly improve energy efficiency or home performance, including energy assessments and installation of measures.

Conversion Rate

A ratio used to monitor the progress of leads, or customers, along a program's upgrade process.  In home performance, this calculation most commonly compares the number of assessments conducted to the number of upgrades completed.  Also known as "close rate."

Cooperative Advertising

A form of cost sharing where the total cost of advertising is shared by more than one party that may benefit from the advertising. Cost sharing may extend to design fees, collateral production, and traditional media placements as well as more non-traditional initiatives such as participation in trade shows, lawn signs, or other tactics.

Corrective Action

Action taken by a program or contractor to address deficiencies in an upgrade, identified through the quality assurance process.

Cost-benefit Analysis
Cost-effectiveness Test

Analysis of the benefits associated with a program or measure’s outputs or outcomes compared to the costs to produce them. Cost-effectiveness tests typically determine the relationship of a program’s benefits and costs as a ratio. This test is generally undertaken to compare one program or program approach to other approaches to determine the relationship among the options. Also known as "cost-benefit analysis."

Credit Enhancement

Funds made available to lenders to pay for losses incurred when borrowers do not make the loan payments within the specified time period and are considered in default, typically when no payment has been received for 90 to 120 days. Credit enhancements are typically provided to lenders by third parties - usually governments - to reduce lenders’ costs and risk enough to encourage them to make loans that they otherwise would not make or to do so at lower interest rates.