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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Secondary Market

A financial market where existing loans can be sold to investors. The loans can be sold as “whole” (individual) loans or grouped into a pool of loans that can be sold as a security.


A housing unit, detached or attached, that provides living space for one household or family.

Societal Cost Test (SCT)

A cost-effectiveness test that measures the net economic benefit to the utility service territory, state, or region, as measured by the total resource cost test, plus indirect benefits such as environmental benefits.

Source Energy

The amount of fossil fuels and electricity plus the losses associated with the production of electricity (i.e., losses that occur in the generation, transmission, and distribution). Also known as "primary energy."


People or organizations which have an interest in the program, but do not play a direct role in program delivery, such as local political leaders, environmental or housing advocacy groups, and energy efficiency equipment providers.

State Energy Program (SEP)

A program through the U.S. Department of Energy that provides financial and technical assistance to states through formula and competitive grants. States use their formula grants to develop state strategies and goals to address their energy priorities. Competitive grant solicitations for the adoption of energy efficiency/renewable energy products and technologies are issued annually based on available funding. States provide a 20% match under SEP annual formula allocations. SEP emphasizes the state's role as the decision maker and administrator for the program activities within the state.