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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Earned media

Publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, in contrast to paid media which refers to publicity gained through advertising.

Energy Advisor

"Energy efficiency program staff person who serves as a liaison between the program or contractor and the customer to help the customer through the upgrade process. Customer services can range from providing independent technical advice to serving as the customer’s primary point of contact for all program services.  Also known as “energy concierge,” “energy coach,” or “energy ambassador.”

Energy Ambassador
Energy Assessment
Energy Assessor
Energy Coach
Energy Concierge
Energy Efficiency

The concept of using less energy to provide the same service.

Energy Efficiency Measure

The installation or modification of equipment or other building components, in order to improve a building’s energy efficiency (e.g., insulation, air sealing, duct sealing, appliance replacement). Also known as "improvement measure" or "measure."

Energy Efficiency Upgrade
Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM)

A mortgage that credits a home's energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.

Energy Modeling

The process of calculating a building’s energy loads and predicting energy consumption for that building based on known data such as the physical characteristics of the building and operating conditions.  This process is usually completed using computer software but may also be calculated using manual algorithms.  Modeling includes whole building simulations as well as less complex measure-specific calculations. Also known as "modeling."

Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC)

A contract between two or more parties where payment is based on achieving specified results, typically guaranteed reductions in energy consumption or operating costs. Payments are often based on the cost savings associated with the anticipated results. ESPCs are most commonly used in combination with commercial building upgrades.

Estimated Energy Savings

Predicted energy savings from an upgrade, calculated using various approaches (e.g., modeled savings, deemed savings, hybrid methods) that uses information about the quantity and type of building improvements and engineering estimates of pre and post energy consumption. Energy savings estimates may differ from actual energy use due to weather, occupant behavior, installation quality, and other factors.

Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification (EM&V)

The process of determining and documenting the effects of an energy efficiency program. The term “evaluation” refers to any real time and/or retrospective assessment of the performance and implementation of a program. “Measurement and verification” is a subset of evaluation that includes activities undertaken in the calculation of energy and demand savings from individual sites or projects.

Existing Homes Market

The buying and selling of existing homes, a subset of the housing market which also encompasses new homes.