Glossary
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  • a

  • Air Source Heat Pump
    Air Source Heat Pumps absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, warm air convectors and hot water in your home. It extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. It can get heat(...)
  • Arduino
    Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online.(...)
  • b

  • BIM (Building Information Modeling)
    BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that equips architecture, engineering, and construction professionals with the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. The National Building Information Model Standard Project(...)
  • Black Eyed Susan
    Plant Name : Rudbeckia fulgida Height : 2'-3" Light Conditions : Sun Blooms : Summer Color : Yellow Notes : Self Sows
  • Blower Door
    A machine used to test the airtightness of buildings or of smaller spaces within buildings. A blower door is mounted in an opening such as a window or door and then uses a fan to pressurize or depressurize the measured space. The more airtight the space, the less air is needed from the blower(...)
  • Blower Door Test
    Test used to determine a home’s airtightness: a powerful fan is mounted in an exterior door opening and used to pressurize or depressurize the house. By measuring the force needed to maintain a certain pressure difference, a measure of the home’s airtightness can be determined. Operating the(...)
  • Building Enclosure
    The system or assembly of components that provides environmental separation between the conditioned space and the exterior environment. Note: The enclosure is a special type of environmental separator. Environmental separators also exist within buildings as dividers between spaces with(...)
  • Building Envelope
    Exterior components of a house that provide protection from colder (and warmer) outdoor temperatures and precipitation; includes the house foundation, framed exterior walls, roof or ceiling, and insulation, and air sealing materials. Source: Green Building Advisor
  • c

  • CAD (Computer-Aided Design)
    CAD, or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CAD software replaces manual drafting with an automated process. AutoCAD software was the first CAD program, and it is still the most widely used CAD(...)
  • CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing)
    CAD/CAM refers to computer software that is used to both design and manufacture products. CAD/CAM applications are used to both design a product and program manufacturing processes, specifically, CNC (computer numerical control) machining. CAD/CAM software is most often used for machining of(...)
  • CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing)
    CAM software is used to design and manufacture products. CAM software uses the models and assemblies created in CAD software to generate tool paths that drive the machines that turn the designs into physical parts. Source: http://www.autodesk.com/solutions/cad-cam,(...)
  • Cellulose
    Cellulose is made from recycled newsprint and other recycled paper with one of the highest percentages of post-consumer waste content of any insulation. It is treated with recognized safe fire retardants. Cellulose insulation is blown onto attic floors, into wall and ceiling cavities, or is(...)
  • Certified Passivehouse Consultant
    An individual who has trained (taken a Passivehouse-Institute-of-the United States [PHIUS]-recognized Certified Passive House Consultant [CPHC] course and PHIUS CPHC examination) and qualified in the principles and methodology needed to design a Passivehouse. Source: PHIUS
  • Climate
    The exterior environmental conditions that will impose a load on the building enclosure, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, and solar radiation. Dividing a map into climate zones allows designers, code bodies, and others to make recommendations based on expected regional(...)
  • d

  • Dense Pack Insulation
    A method of insulation application that results in insulation that is less prone to air filtration and settling. Source: www.buildingscience.com.
  • e

  • Ecocor
    Ecocor is a construction firm that designs, manufactures, delivers and assembles high performance buildings throughout North America.  Ecocor is a partner with RPA in prefabricated Passive House model homes.  
  • Energy
    Energy is a measurable quantity of heat, work, or light. Potential energy is stored energy, like a cord of wood. Kinetic energy is transitional energy, like a flame. Source: Residential Energy
  • Energy Audit
    An energy audit is an assessment of the insulation, building structure, heating and hot water systems and electrical use. It is a practical way to protect your biggest asset, save money and live healthier. Our approach to auditing is based on the House as a System concept, balancing air(...)
  • Energy Star
    The Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with the Department of Energy, has created a brand that identifies the most energy-efficient products on the American market. Source: Residential Energy
  • ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator or Enthalpy Recovery Ventilator)
    Exchanges the energy contained in air exhausted from a building and uses this to heat or cool the building’s incoming outdoor ventilation air. Source: Zehnder Passive House Blog
  • f

  • Flashing
    "Flashing refers to thin continuous pieces of sheet metal or impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure from an angle or joint. Flashing generally operates on the principle that, for water to penetrate a joint, it must work itself upward against the force of(...)
  • h

  • HERS (Home Energy Rating System)
    A standard for measuring a home's energy efficiency. Developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). Source: Building Science Corporation
  • HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator)
    Also known as HRV, mechanical ventilation heat recovery, or MVHR, is an energy recovery ventilation system using equipment known as a heat recovery ventilator, heat exchanger, air exchanger, or air-to-air heat exchanger which employs a counter-flow heat exchanger (countercurrent heat exchange)(...)
  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning)
    HVAC equipment performs heating and/or cooling for residential, commercial or industrial buildings. The HVAC system may also be responsible for providing fresh outdoor air to dilute interior airborne contaminants such as odors from occupants, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) emitted from(...)
  • i

  • IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
    The quality of air within buildings, in regard to both health and comfort. Indoor air often contains a complex mixture of contaminants and common pollutants, including smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and molds. The level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in indoor air also relates to IAQ, and(...)
  • IOT (Internet Of Things)
    The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects including devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. Source: Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative
  • m

  • Mineral Wool
    A substance resembling matted wool and made from inorganic mineral material, used chiefly for packing or insulation. Source: www.cellulose.org.
  • p

  • Passive House
    Passive House” is today’s most energy efficient building standard. Buildings that meet the Passive House standard use 80% less energy for heating and cooling than conventional buildings yet are markedly more comfortable and healthy than traditional buildings. A Passive House conserves(...)
  • Passive Solar
    Utilizing solar in passive manner such as with thermal masses or solar light tubes instead of actively with photovoltaic panels or solar hot water systems. Source: Energy Audit Blog
  • Passivhaus Standard
    A residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt,(...)
  • PHI (Passivhaus Institut)
    The Passive House Institute (PHI) is an independent research institute lead by Dr Wolfgang Feist with a continuously growing interdisciplinary team of employees.  PHI has played an especially crucial role in the development of the Passive House concept. The first pilot project (Kranichstein(...)
  • PHIUS (Passive House Institute of the US)
    Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) is a 501(c)3 organization committed to making high-performance passive building principles the mainstream best building practice, and the mainstream market energy performance standard.  PHIUS has trained more than 1,700 architects, engineers, energy(...)
  • Prefab
    1. A building, manufactured in standardized parts or sections ready for quick assembly and erection. 2. A structure fabricated at an offsite location and brought to the site as fully assembled for installation. 3. A broad term that encompasses several different types of building.(...)
  • PV (Photovoltaic)
    Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a(...)
  • r

  • Rainscreen
    The outer layer of cladding of a rainscreen wall system. "Rainscreen walls consist of the outer layer of cladding (the rainscreen), an air cavity, and a drainage plane on a rigid, water-resistant, and airtight support wall. Simple rainscreen walls, such as brick cavity walls and furred-out(...)
  • Raised Heel Energy Truss
    A truss with a raised heel height, or the depth of the attic space at the eaves (the vertical distance from the top plate to the underside of the roof sheathing), measured at the outside wall. This leaves more room for insulation. Source:(...)
  • Randek
    Randek develops, manufactures and markets high-performance machines and systems for prefabricated house manufacturing. The product range consist of: cut saws, wall floor and roof lines, roof truss system, butterfly tables and special machines. The automation level stretches from fully(...)
  • Rater
    An individual, certified to perform Building Energy Efficiency Ratings for the building type and in the rating Class for which the Rater is certified. There are three classes of residential Rater certification: Class 3 - requiring the certified capability to complete Ratings based on(...)
  • RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network)
    In April 1995, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and Energy Rated Homes of America founded the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to develop a national market for home energy rating systems and energy efficient mortgages. Source: Building Science Corporation
  • s

  • Sarking Membrane (WRB)
    A layer of flexible insulation typically installed under roof tiles when a home is being constructed.  It consists of aluminum foil laminated onto paper or plastic backing with a flame retardant adhesive and fiberglass reinforcing mesh, and is manufactured in sheet form. Sarking performs a(...)
  • Sustainable
    A resource, energy or material which can be extracted and used in a manner which is viable over an indefinite period. Compare with finite resources like petroleum. Source: Energy Audit Blog
  • t

  • Thermal Comfort
    Defined by Dr P. Ole Fanger as "the condition of mind which expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment."  Dr Fanger identified thermal comfort as being determined by: air temperature, 'radiant' temperatures (the temperatures of walls, floor and ceiling), air movement (draughts),(...)
  • v

  • Vented Cladding
    Wall cladding separated from the framed wall by an air cavity, allowing for ventilation. Source: www.buildingscience.com
  • z

  • ZEB (Zero Energy Building)
    An energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy. Source: US Department of Energy
  • ZEH (Zero Energy Home)
    Any house that averages out to net zero energy consumption. A zero energy home produces as much energy over a year as it consumes, typically using photovoltaics, or combined heat and power (CHP) to generate electricity on site. In a zero energy home, efficiencies in the building enclosure and(...)
  • ZNE (Zero Net Energy)
    See Zero Energy Home (ZEH) and Zero Energy Building (ZEB). Source: Building Science Corporation