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Explanation of terms used in the Energy Efficiency Industry

There’s so many terms specific to the Energy Efficiency industry that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Here’s a list of some of the ones we use, plus what they mean.

TermDefinition
α (greek alpha)The Solar Absorptance of a surface – based on the colour of the surface (lighter is lower).
ABCBThe Australian Building Codes Board
ABSAThe Australian Building Sustainability Association. Previously known as the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors.
Accredited SoftwareFor Residential buildings, this means BERS Pro V4.2.
For Commercial buildings, this means DesignBuilder.
AFRCThe Australian Fenestration Rating Council. Also used to reference the thermal performance values of glass.
Approved ProceduresNatHERS-approved National Procedures
AssessorResidential Thermal Performance Assessor, or Licensed operator of Commercial Building Assessment software.
BCAThe Building Code of Australia (National Construction Code)
Brick VeneerA wall constructed of brick or block, with timber or metal frame, airspace & plasterboard or Fibre-Cement lining.
Building EnvelopeThe extent of the conditioned space – may include spaces that are “accidentally” conditioned.
Building FabricRoof, Ceiling (including Roof lights), Walls & Floor
Cavity PanelA wall constructed of metal or Fibre-Cement cladding, with a timber or steel frame, airspace & plasterboard or Fibre-Cement lining.
Certified AssessorsSomeone who has passed the ABSA Assessor Exam, and signed a Code of Conduct & has Professional Indemnity Insurance.
CladdingExternal facing material with or without an airspace.
Commercial Building SoftwareSoftware that complies with the ABCB Protocol for Building Energy Analysis Software 2006.1
Concrete BlockConcrete Block – all cores filled
Concrete Block (Lightweight)Hollow Concrete Block
Concrete PanelSolid reinforced concrete tilt panel.
DesignBuilderApproved Software for Commercial buildings. Uses the EnergyPlus calculation engine, developed by the US Department of Energy.
DTSDeemed-To-Satisfy – a method of assessment (formally Deemed to Comply).
EEREnergy Efficiency Ratio – output energy divided by total input energy (including controls & circulation fans)
ElementsItems in Section J – Building Fabric, Glazing, Air-conditioning, Artificial Lighting
FCFibre-Cement
FoilReflective foil insulation. Its effective R-value is determined by its emittance, angle, air space thickness & the direction of heatflow
HVACHeating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning. The equipment used to heat & cool a building, including any ducting for fresh air.
InsulationA material designed to resist the transfer of heat. The main types are Fibre (loose, bulk, batts), foam (fill, boards) or foil (anti-glare, laminated)
J6BCA Section J, Part J6 – Artificial Lighting DTS provisions
JP1BCA Section J, Performance Requirement – design & services that facilitate efficient use of energy in a building.
JP2BCA Section J, Performance Requirement – services that facilitate maintenance & service of systems incorporated in the building.
JP3BCA Section J, Performance Requirement – services that facilitate heating for a conditioned space. Must source energy from low greenhouse gas intensity source, or have an on-site renewable energy source.
JV3BCA Section J, Verification Method (thermal calculation) that compares the Total Building Energy of the proposed building with a Reference Building
kWhKilowatt-hours – a unit of electrical energy. 1 kilowatt-hour = 3.6 MegaJoules
LiningInternal wall sheeting, usually fixed to the frame of the studs
LowEGlass with a low emittance (a lower U-value)
MEPSMinimum Energy Performance Standards, a requirement that all air-conditioning & heating equipment must meet certain energy efficiency levels. See energyrating.gov.au for more info.
NatHERSThe Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme
NCCThe National Construction Code – BCA Volumes 1 & 2 and the National Plumbing Code.
Partially conditionedA space that draws its fresh air (e.g. for exhaust make-up) from a conditioned space.
PlasterboardGypsum core board lined on both sides with paper
Reference BuildingA building with the same dimensions & glazing sizes as the proposed building but with all Elements complying with the DTS requirements.
Residential SoftwareSoftware that complies with the NatHERS Protocol for House Energy Rating Software (e.g. BERS Pro V4.2).
RPEQRegistered Professional Engineer Queensland
R-valueThe thermal resistance of a component (this could be just the material only, or the total system’s thermal resistance).
Section JBCA Volume 1 Energy Efficiency Provisions, generally for commercial buildings
SHGCSolar Heat Gain Coefficient – the amount of solar energy that passes through a piece of glazing into the room.
Star RatingAn Energy Efficiency assessment of a residential building. An in-depth thermal calculation using Accredited Software, Approved Procedures & Certified Assessors.
Thermal BreakSeparating insulation between external cladding & supporting frames or studs that share the internal lining (ceiling or wall). Must be at least R0.2 for metal frames – can be avoided by cross battens (e.g. horizontal battens on vertical studs).
Total R-valueAggregate R-value of the individual composite layers of materials in a system, including air spaces & air films.
U-valueThermal Conductance of a composite element. For Glazing, this can be glass-only (g) or glass+frames (w=window).
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