— A —

AC filter whistle
A clogged or dirty filter on your furnace or air conditioner can rob your system of efficiency and make your system work harder. Installing an air filter whistle may help. (more)

Act On Energy
When it comes to saving energy, your actions matter. ActOnEnergy.com is focused on providing information and programs to our customers in Illinois and Missouri to help you save today, and keep saving long into the future - for life.

Aerator
An aerator is often found at the tip of an indoor water faucet or inside a shower head. Without an aerator, more hot water is used than actually needed, causing energy to be wasted. (more)

AFUE
AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) is a rating that shows the energy efficiency of a furnace. The higher the AFUE number, the better the efficiency. A 90% AFUE furnace uses 90% of the fuel for heat; 10% is lost out the chimney. A 95% AFUE rated furnace uses 95% of the fuel for heat; 5% is lost out the chimney. (more)

Air compressor
An air compressor takes in air at atmospheric pressure and delivers it at a higher pressure either for home or for business/manufacturing use. Keep the compressor, piping, hoses, and air tools in working order, to assist in detecting unnecessary leaks, saving you energy.

Air conditioner
An air conditioner is a device used in cooling an area. Replacing an air conditioning unit with a high efficiency or ENERGY STAR® certified model could cut cooling costs. (residential or business)

Air purifier
A device which removes contaminants from the air. Air purifiers are commonly marketed as being beneficial to allergy sufferers and asthmatics, and at reducing or eliminating second-hand tobacco smoke. Dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mite feces can act as allergens, triggering allergies in sensitive people. (more)

Air sealing
Cracks and other openings throughout your home can cause infiltration or air leaks. Properly sealing these cracks can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve durability and create a healthier home environment. (more)

Alternating current
Also known as AC power, alternating current is electricity that reverses direction within a circuit. The electricity we use in our homes does this 120 times per second. The 120 directional changes make up 60 cycles per second and is measured in hertz.

Amps
An amp is a unit of electrical current.

Appliance recycling
If an appliance is at the end of its life cycle, or to a point it costs more to operate than replace it, consider recycling. It is recommended older larger appliances (especially refrigerators and freezers) be taken out of service and recycled prior to their having an actual mechanical failure. (more)

Appliance timer
A timer can be used on appliances, lighting, and electronics. Used wisely, it can also be an energy saver and safety unit. (more)

Appliances
A piece of equipment, commonly powered by electricity, used to perform a particular energy-driven function. Examples of common appliances are refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers, conventional ranges/ovens and microwave ovens, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, toasters, radios, and televisions. (more)

Appliances, smart
Manage your energy costs by investing in smart appliances. Smart home appliances use computer and communications technology to enhance functions, be more energy-efficient and cost-efficient. (more)

Attic blanket - radiant barrier
An attic blanket is a radiant barrier film placed in the attic against the rafters (not on top of the insulation). The blanket reflects solar heat, allowing the home to be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. (more)

Attic entrance/access
An attic entrance, also known as an attic access opening, is a door or hatch opening the home to the attic. A poor fitting attic access door may allow drafts to leak inside your home wasting energy by increasing heating and cooling costs. (more)

Attic fan - gable, power vent
An attic fan, also known as a power vent, is a ventilation fan which regulates the heat level of a building's attic by exhausting hot air. A thermostat is used to automatically turn the fan off and on, while sometimes a manual switch is used. An attic fan can be gable mounted or roof mounted. A gable is the generally triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof. Attic fans are intended to cool hot attics by drawing in cooler outside air from attic vents (soffit and gable) and pushing hot air to the outside. However, if your attic has blocked soffit vents and is not well-sealed from the rest of the house, attic fans will suck cool conditioned air up out of the house and into the attic. This will use more energy and make your air conditioner work harder, which will increase your summer utility bill. You don't want your unfinished attic cooled by your air conditioner. To prevent this, make sure the attic is properly insulated and well-ventilated using passive vents and natural air flow. View the Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR. (more)

Attic insulation
Properly insulating and air sealing your attic will help reduce your energy bills. Attics are often one of the easiest places in a house to insulate, especially if you'd like to add insulation. (more)

Attic ventilation
Ventilate comes from the Latin word for "to fan." Simply put, it's the action of moving air. Out with the hot. In with the cool. And that's exactly how ventilation works. It provides conditions that allow air to flow. Every time stale, overheated air in your home or attic is vented out and fresh air is pulled in to replace it, you have what is known as an "air exchange." It's a process that provides a steady, high volume of air movement. Think about it as a system of components, all sized and positioned to provide constant intake and exhaust of air. (more)

Audit
An energy audit is an energy conservation inspection or survey, combined with an analysis, of the electric and natural gas flows for a home, building, process or system. The audit is conducted to find ways to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without causing a negative affect. Audit recommendations on ways to use less energy may include, but not limited to, caulking, window weather stripping, window insulation, door weather stripping, ceiling or wall insulation, windows, low flow shower heads, faucet aerators, gas water heater wrap, switch and outlet insulation, and hot water system whether electric or gas. The purpose of the audit is to calculate energy savings from making improvements. (more)

Auditor
Energy auditors, also known as building analysts or consultants, are usually certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). Their purpose is to identify any issues or areas where energy is wasted and make recommendations for improvements. (more)

Auditor, BPI certified - energy
Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI), certified energy auditors have gone through rigorous written and field exams based on nationally recognized standards. Exams are given in all 50 states and five foreign countries through independent test centers. BPI certifies individuals to verify they are highly trained and skilled in performing energy audits and ready to be part of the home performance contractor workforce. Certification is based on testing protocols set by the American National Standards Institute. (more)

Awning, solar
A solar awning provides the same shading effect as a normal awning but also provides the benefit of providing electricity on sunny days. (more)

Awnings
Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in your home. You can use an awning to shade west- or south-facing windows, doors and even have them custom-made for larger areas shading your entire house. (more)


— B —

Ballast
An electrical device designed to control the current delivered to a fluorescent or HID lamp. Most ballasts convert the line voltage into the proper voltage and waveform the lamp needs to start and operate the lamp. (more)

Baseboard electric heating
Electric baseboard heating converts nearly 100% of the electricity it uses into heat. However, according to the Department of Energy, using electricity as a fuel is often more expensive than heat produced using combustion appliances, such as natural gas, propane and oil furnaces. (more)

Basement insulation
A properly insulated basement can save you money on heating and provide a dry, comfortable living space. In most cases, a basement with insulation installed on its exterior walls should be considered a conditioned space. Even in a house with an unconditioned basement, the basement is more connected to other living spaces than to the outside. (more)

Battery chargers
Battery chargers recharge batteries found in cordless devices like power tools, cameras, laptops and cell phones. ENERGY STAR certified battery chargers can use 35% less energy than standard models. (more)

Battery, Lithium Ion
A lithium ion battery, sometime called a Li-ion battery or a LIB, is a rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge, and back when charging. Lithium ion batteries are commonly used in electronics. (more)

BEV
An all battery electric vehicle (BEV). A plug-in vehicle (PEV) has a battery which charges by plugging into an electrical outlet to store electricity, providing power to an efficient electric engine. (more)

Bio walls
Living walls (also called green walls, green facades, bio walls or vertical vegetation walls) have vegetation growing directly onto a building or home, or on a separate structure that can be freestanding or attached to a wall. Today living walls are re-entering the spotlight as an environmentally friendly way to reduce energy costs. (more)

Biomass
Any organic (plant or animal) material which is available on a renewable basis, including agricultural crops and agricultural wastes and residues, wood and wood wastes and residues, animal wastes, municipal wastes, and aquatic plants.

Black box
A Power factor correction device - also called “black box" - is installed in a home's electrical system to help control power factor and reduce kVAR-hour usage. If Ameren is your electric supplier, Ameren bills by kilowatt-hour, not kVAR-hour usage. Therefore, these devices do not help Ameren customers reduce their energy bill. However, if your utility company bills you by kVAR-hour usage, these devices could possibly save you money on your electric bill. (more)

Blanket, attic - radiant barrier
Often called an attic blanket, it is a radiant barrier placed in the attic to reflect the solar heat helping make the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The technology for the blanket was developed by NASA over 40 years ago. (more)

Blower door test
A diagnostic tool measures the degree of air tightness of a home or small building by pinpointing drafts from the outside. Usually performed by a trained energy auditor, the test uses a high velocity fan to create a vacuum on the structure allowing you to feel and detect air leaks coming in from outside while your heating or air conditioning systems are running. (more)

Blown insulation
An insulation product composed of loose fibers or fiber pellets that are blown into building cavities or attics using special pneumatic equipment.

Blue jean insulation
Denim that ends up in a landfill is now being recycled. It is cut into strips, imprinted with fire retardant (boric acid), combined with cotton fibers, and made into denim Insulation. The denim and cotton act as good insulators because of the looser structure, or breathability, of the fabric compared to tighter weaves. (more)

Boiler - residential
A closed loop system in which water is heated for heating purposes. (more)

Boiler furnace
A residential heating system designed to heat water to warm your living space for comfort. (more)

BPI (Business Performance Institute)
A leading developer of technical standards for home performance and weatherization retrofit work recognized across North America. Using these standards, BPI developed training programs, professional credentialing for individuals and company accreditations. (more)

BPI certified energy auditor
Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI), certified energy auditors have gone through rigorous written and field exams based on nationally recognized standards. Exams are given in all 50 states and five foreign countries through independent test centers. BPI certifies individuals to verify they are highly trained and skilled in performing energy audits and ready to be part of the home performance contractor workforce. Certification is based on testing protocols set by the American National Standards Institute.

BTU
A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Bug retardant insulation
Insulation for attics, walls, crawl spaces, new construction, and various other areas is now available with a bug retardant boric acid treatment. Boric acid, the active ingredient in retardant insulation, is commonly found in household products such as saline eyewash solution, detergents and the food we eat. Although deadly to many insects, boric acid is acceptable for use around pets and people. (more)

Building controls
The ability to control the comfort level inside a building envelope whether for heating or for cooling. (more)

Building envelope
The separation between the interior and the exterior environments of a building. It serves as the outer shell to protect the indoor environment as well as to facilitate its climate control. (more)

Bulb
A term used to describe a compact fluorescent light (CFL), light emitting diode (LED) or an older incandescent light bulb or lamp. (more)

Business shutdown, energy savings ideas
Whether you’re shutting down for maintenance, company vacation, long weekend, or a holiday there are ways to save energy while you are away. (more)


— C —

Cable box
A set-top box is a cable, satellite, Internet or other device that receives a television signal and delivers that signal to a customer’s television, DVR or sound recording system. Using an older model that is not ENERGY STAR certified will cost you more money to operate. (more)

Calculators, energy
Energy calculators from the Department of Energy (DOE) allow customers to enter their own values, such as utility rates and hours of use, to help estimate energy and cost savings for energy-efficient products. Some of the links listed on the DOE website are web-based tools while others are Excel spreadsheets provided by ENERGY STAR® which can be downloaded for future viewing. Find a list of calculators on the DOE website.

Car - electric
A plug-in vehicle (PEV) has a battery which charges by plugging into an electrical outlet to store electricity, providing power to an efficient electric engine to move the wheels. There are two basic types of plug-in electric vehicles: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and All-Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). (more)

Car charging station
A device or station that provides power to charge the batteries of an electric vehicle. These chargers are classified according to output voltage and the rate at which they can charge a battery. (more)

Carbon dioxide
A colorless, odorless noncombustible gas with the formula CO2 that is present in the atmosphere. It is formed by the combustion of carbon and carbon compounds (such as fossil fuels and biomass) and by respiration, which is a slow combustion in animals and plants, and by the gradual oxidation of organic matter in the soil.

Carbon footprint
The total set of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person. Learn more about your own carbon footprint.

Caulking
Filling a crack or seam with a thick paste-like substance to make it watertight or airtight and used around doors and windows to stop air infiltration. (more)

Ceiling Fan
Fans, no matter whether they are sitting on a table, mounted on a pole or the wall, sitting on the floor, or mounted on the ceiling, create a wind chill effect that will make you feel more comfortable in your home or business. Whether they are used at night with the cool night air or during the day with your air conditioner, ceiling fans, according to the Department of Energy, are considered the most effective type of fan to lower air conditioning costs. (more)

CFL
CFL stands for compact fluorescent light bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps. These bulbs use much less energy than other types of light bulbs - and don't waste energy by giving off heat. Learn more about CFLs for your home or business. Discover CFL recycling options.

CFL cleanup
CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury so if a bulb breaks in your home, mercury vapor may continue to release from the bulb unless it is cleaned up properly.

  1. People and pets should leave the room. Turn off your AC, furnace, and fans and open the window to air out the room for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Use stiff paper, cardboard, sticky tape, a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipes for hard surfaces to collect all the broken glass and visible powder.
  3. If you can, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken for several hours leaving AC, furnace, and fans off and place broken CFL and clean up materials in a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag and dispose of properly.
Please refer to the EPA website on steps to clean and dispose of a broken bulb.

CFLs, dimmable
Dimmable CFLs are designed to work specifically in circuits or light fixtures with dimming capabilities. Dimming options help you choose the right light level while saving energy. (more)

CFLs, floodlamp
A reflector CFL, or “R” series lamp, are used for recessed can lights, track lighting, dimming applications and in outdoor fixtures. CFL reflectors are available in a variety of sizes, finishes and wattages (more)

CFLs, reflector
A reflector CFL, or “R” series lamp, are used for recessed can lights, track lighting, dimming applications and in outdoor fixtures. CFL reflectors are available in a variety of sizes, finishes and wattages (more)

CFL recycling
Compact fluorescent lights contain trace amounts of mercury vapor--it's what makes these bulbs so energy efficient. On average, each CFL contains about 5 milligrams of mercury vapor--an amount equal to the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It's important to know that CFLs are safe to use and pose no danger when used properly. (more)

CFL, 3-way
Three-way CFLs are used in fixtures or lamps with a three-way switch to allow different levels of light. As with all CFLs, these bulbs use less energy than the traditional incandescent bulb. (more)

Chargers

Battery chargers recharge batteries found in cordless devices like power tools, cameras, laptops and cell phones. ENERGY STAR certified battery chargers can use 35% less energy than standard models. (more)

Chest Freezer
A freezer can be upright or horizontal and is designed to maintain a temperature below freezing for longer storage of perishable food items. If you purchased your freezer before 1993, it may cost you an extra $35 annually on your utility bills compared to a new ENERGY STAR certified model. If you bought your freezer circa the 1980s, it's costing you an extra $70 each year. (more)

Chimney balloon
A fireplace, wood- or pellet- burning stove usually has a damper located in the chimney or flue pipe just above the firebox. Made to withstand the heat of the fire, the damper is opened and closed to allow smoke to go out the chimney. If the damper is open without a fire burning, air inside your home could create a draft and may be going out the chimney, wasting energy. (more)

CHP
Stands for combined heat and power. Rather than drawing energy from the grid, CHP is the use of a heat engine or power station which can simultaneously generate both heat and electricity on site.

Circuit
A circular path in which electricity travels.

Climate change
Changes in temperature, rainfall, wind, and other aspects of the earth’s climate that last for an extended period.

Climate control
Climate control refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period - decades or longer.

Clothes dryer
An appliance used in drying cloths that uses large amounts of energy and one of the largest energy users in your home, (more)

Clothes dryer - heat pump
The hot, humid air from the tumbler is passed through a heat pump where the cold side condenses the water vapor into either a drain pipe or a collection tank and the hot side reheats the air. In this way not only does the dryer avoid the need for ducting, but it also conserves much of its heat within the dryer instead of exhausting it into the surroundings. Heat pump dryers can therefore use less than half the energy required by either condensation or traditional dryers. (more)

Cold cathode fluorescent lamp/CCFL/Dimmable CFL
A dimmable cold cathode fluorescent lamp, or CCFL, is older technology used for back-lighting the computer screen but is making its way into decorative and area lighting. Newer CCFL type bulbs have advantages such as being instant-on like an older traditional incandescent and have dimming capabilities. CCFLs are compatible with timers, photocells, and dimmers and they have a very long life expectancy. Dimmable CFLs are designed to work specifically in circuits or light fixtures with dimming capabilities. Dimming options help you choose the right light level while saving energy. (more)

Combined heat and power
Also known as CHP. Rather than drawing energy from the grid, CHP is the use of a heat engine or power station which can simultaneously generate both heat and electricity on site.

Combustion turbine
A rotary engine that extracts energy from a flow of combustion gas (or renewable fuel source). It has an upstream compressor coupled to a downstream turbine and a combustion chamber in between.

Commutated Motor
Electrically Commutated Motor, known as an ECM, is also called a brushless (BL) motor or brushless direct current (DC) motor. This type of DC electronic motor uses an electronic commutation system as it maintains a stationery magnet, or stator, in a constant polarity, while rotating magnet or rotor switches from north to south to south to north changing polarity to keep the rotor turning. It is powered by direct current and does not make use of brushes or any other type of mechanical commutator. (more)

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
Lights that use less energy than regular light bulbs. See residential or business.

Compressed air
An air compressor takes in air at atmospheric pressure and delivers it at a higher pressure either for home or for business/manufacturing use.

Compressed natural gas vehicle (CNG vehicle)
A natural gas vehicle, or NGV, is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) as a clean alternative to other automobile fuels. (more)

Computers & electronics - Residential Savings Tips
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the average energy costs for computer systems, home entertainment systems, and other electronics for a residential customer could be as much as 6% of your energy bill. Appliances, battery chargers, TV’s, video game stations, printers, scanners, DVD players and more all play a role in wasting energy and increasing your energy bill. For ways to save, see our residential savings tips. (more)

Concrete forms
Insulating concrete forms are forms for poured concrete walls, which remain as part of the wall once the concrete has cured. These walls provide a stable backing for drywall on the inside for siding or brick on the outside of a home. (more)

Console - video game
A video game console is an interactive entertainment system, that when connected to a television or monitor, displays a video game. When left on, video game consoles can cost over $150 a year in energy costs. (more)

Continuous modulating burner
A modulating burner in a business, commercial or industrial application is a smaller burner used along with a main burner to increase energy efficiency. When demand is high, a smaller modulating burner can be used to work along with the main burner. When demand is low, the smaller modulating burner may take the place in operation using less fuel while meeting the steam or water needs. (more)

Convection oven
A convection oven cooks similar to a conventional oven. The heat is generated by either electricity, natural gas, or propane, and all types of food can be prepared.The main difference between a convection oven and a conventional oven is that the hot air inside a convection oven is circulated by a fan to evenly distribute the heat around all the food. Even distribution allows more even cooking, ability to lower cooking temperature, and shorter cooking time saving energy. (more)

Cooking - Residential savings tips
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the average residential home cooking costs may be as much as 4% of your energy bill. Everyday cooking appliances, such as your oven, microwave, toaster oven, induction cook top, crock pots and more may all play a role in using extra energy and costing you money. For ways to save, see our residential savings tips. (more)

Cooktops (induction cooktops)
Induction cooktops use a magnetic field to heat up the entire cookware, heating food more evenly and efficiently compared to gas or electric heat sources. (more)

Cool roof
A cool or white roof is a roofing system that can reflect the sun's rays, reducing the heat transfer to a building. Cool roofs offer both immediate and long-term savings in building energy costs. (more)

Cooler curtains
A barrier, usually clear, placed over the opening of a food cooler in a grocery store. This curtain helps retain the cool air inside the cooler reducing energy usage and may qualify for a business electric incentive.

Cooling - Residential savings tips
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the average residential home cooling costs could be up to 9% of your energy bill. An open fireplace damper, plugged blower filter, drafts around doors and windows, and even flowers and bushes can block the air flow around your outside AC unit, wasting energy and costing you money. For ways to save, see our residential savings tips. (more)

Copy machine
Copy machines print paper copies of documents and other visual images quickly and cheaply. A scanner is a device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting or an object, converting it to a digital image. Making the right equipment choice can reduce energy costs. (more)
Energy Advisor Learning Center - Terms A, B, C
 
 
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