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icon  Glossary

Select one of the following terms to view it's description.

Air Sealing
Blower Door Test
Back-drafting
BPI Certification
Building Envelope
CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs)
Ducts (or ductwork)
Efficiency First
Energy Audit
ENERGY STAR
Forced Air Heating or Cooling
Greenhouse Gases (GHG)
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
HERS Index
Home Energy Yardstick
HOME STAR
Insulation
Quality Assurance
R-Value
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
Weatherization or Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)


air sealing

Air Sealing

Combined with proper insulation, air sealing plugs holes or cracks that let air into your home. These leaks are common around doors, windows and attics. Sealing can be accomplished with caulk or weatherstripping.

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blower door

Blower Door Test

A blower door test is used locate areas where air leaks occur within home. This powerful fan mounts into the frame of an exterior door. Once energy improvements are done, a blower door is used to ensure air sealing work was done properly.

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Back-drafting

After briefly running a combustion appliance, a Home Performance Contractor can measure how much gas leaks into a home - these leaks can be dangerous and should be properly vented through a chimney or flue.

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BPI Certification

The Building Performance Institute is a national organization that trains and accredits Home Performance Contractors that meet their standards and quality assurance protocols.

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Building Envelope

The outer shell of a building that separates the outside air from the inside air. The envelope usually goes from the attic floor to the basement.

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CFL bulb

CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs)

A single 20-watt CFL provides the same amount of light as a 75-watt incandescent light bulb and lasts up to seven times longer.

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Ducts (or ductwork)

A series of tubes that circulate air from a furnace or air condition system. These tubes move air from rooms back to the main system. For example, when you turn the thermostat higher, the furnace heats the air and sends it out through ducts into rooms and simultaneously pushes cold air out of the rooms back to the furnace.

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Efficiency First

Efficiency First

Efficiency First is a national nonprofit trade association of Home Performance Contractors and associated businesses. 

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energy audit

Energy Audit

An evaluation of a home to see where energy is being lost and how efficiently current heating and cooling systems as well as appliances are operating.

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Energy Star

ENERGY STAR

A program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help consumers make informed decisions about energy efficiency products and energy usage in all types of buildings including homes.

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Forced Air Heating or Cooling

The most common way to heat or cool a home. The air can be filtered and then distributed (forced) through ductwork into your home’s rooms through registers.

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Greenhouse Gases (GHG)

Atmospheric gases, primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, that heat the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Home Performance with Energy Star

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR

A comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and home comfort, while helping to protect the environment. More than 75,000 U.S. homes have undergone energy improvements through HPwES. As of June 2010, over 1,190 Home Performance contractors participate in over 40 programs across the country.

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HERS index

HERS Index

Home Energy Rating System. A rating system developed by the Residental Energy Services Network (RESNET) that scores homes on a scale of 0 to 100. The lower a home’s score, the more efficient it is.

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Home Energy Yardstick

The Home Energy Yardstick is an online tool provided by ENERGY STAR that allows homeowners to enter their current energy usage information and compare their home to other homes.

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HOME STAR

Sometimes called "Cash for Caulkers," this proposed legislation aims to give rebates to homeowners for installing energy efficiency appliances, adding insulation, or other whole-home energy improvements.

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insulation

Insulation

Materials used to keep air from the home inside and keep outside air out and greatly reduces heating and cooling bills.

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Quality Assurance (QA)

A process to ensure Home Performance energy improvements have been done properly and meet safety standards.

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R-Value

Used to measure how well a material resists heat flow. A high R-value means the insulation is keeping heat in your home in cold seasons, and heat out in warm seasons.

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SEER, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

A measure for energy efficiency of an air conditioning system. A high SEER rating means the cooling system will be efficient over an entire season.

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Weatherization or Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

A government program that does energy improvements on homes for families with lower-incomes. 

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