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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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Target Sectors

The market sector(s) on which an energy efficiency program focuses (e.g., single-family residential, multifamily, commercial, industrial, agricultural, municipal or public).

Technical Standards

The minimum requirements of home energy upgrades to ensure that the work performed is effective, durable, and safe. Specifying standards helps program administrators meet objectives with minimal confusion among contractors. Standards can include quality installation practices and minimum equipment efficiencies. These requirements should form the basis of training and quality assurance.


A diagnostic test and inspection of upgrade work, performed by the installing contractor or an independent inspector, after the energy upgrade has been completed to make sure that upgrades meet specifications and comply with home performance program targets and standards, in particular combustion safety standards.  A test-out is a quality assurance activity and part of an overall quality management system.

Total Resource Cost Test (TRC)

A method for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of an energy efficiency program by comparing the direct costs that both utilities and customers pay with the overall community or regional benefits from energy efficiency; it is the most common cost-effectiveness test used by public utility commissions.

Trade Ally

A third party that promotes the sale of or installs home performance measures for the customer.  Trade allies can include participating contractors, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and engineering or architectural firms.