Glossary

A list of commonly used acronyms and abbreviations.

AC
alternating current: electric current which reverses direction approximately 60 times a second
AFUE
annual fuel utilization efficiency: rating that describes how efficient a heating system is over an entire heating season
BTU
British thermal unit: the amount of energy needed to cool or heat 1 pound of water by 1°F
BTU/h
British thermal units per hour: amount of British thermal units (the amount of energy needed to cool or heat 1 pound of water by 1°F) consumed in 1 hour
CFC
chlorofluorocarbon: a gas once commonly used in aerosols and refrigerants
CFL
compact fluorescent lamp: an energy-efficient light that uses up to 75 per cent less electricity than an incandescent bulb
CFM
cubic feet per minute
CF4
carbon tetrafluoride: an organic, colorless, odourless, and non-flammable greenhouse gas
CH4
methane: a hydrocarbon gas that is odourless, colorless, and flammable
CO2e
carbon dioxide equivalent: a standard measurement used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential
CSA
Canadian Standards Association
DC
direct current: electric current that flows in 1 direction only
ELF
extremely low frequency: radio waves with frequencies from 3 to 30 Hz
EMF
electric and magnetic field: energy fields generated by the transmission of electricity or use of electrical devices (e.g. lighting or computers)
GHG
greenhouse gas: a gas in the atmosphere that traps energy from the sun
GWh
gigawatt-hours: electric power consumption of 1,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
HVAC
heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
HVDC
high voltage direct current: the transmission of direct current electricity, usually over long distances
Joule
joule: a standard unit of electrical energy equal to the work done when a 1 ampere current passes through a resistance of 1 ohm for 1 second
kV
kilovolt: a unit of potential energy equal to 1,000 volts
kVA
kilovolt-ampere: a unit of power equal to 1,000 volt-amperes
kW
kilowatt: a unit of power equal to 1,000 watts
kWh
kilowatt-hour: 1,000 watts of electrical energy produced in 1 hour
LGD
local government district
low-e
low emissivity: usually referring to windows coated with a thin, invisible, metallic layer that allows heat in and keeps UV rays out
MBH
a standard unit of electrical energy equal to 1 thousand British thermal units (BTU) per hour
MVA
megavolt amperes: a standard unit of electrical energy equal to 1 million volt-amperes (1 volt-ampere is equal to 1 watt)
MW
megawatt: a standard unit of electrical energy equal to 1,000,000 watts
MWh
megawatt hour: 1,000,000 watts of electrical energy produced in 1 hour
N2O
nitrous oxide: a colourless, non-flammable greenhouse gas
PCB
polychlorinated biphenyl: an industrial chemical found to be an environmental pollutant, and after 1970, regulated by the Canadian government
PUB
Public Utilities Board: a provincial regulator for electrical and gas/propane utilities, construction and operation of natural gas and propane pipelines, and registered natural gas brokers
R-value
resistance value: a measure of the ability to slow heat flow – high R-value numbers mean better insulation
SF6
sulphur hexafluoride: an inorganic, colorless, odourless, and non-flammable greenhouse gas
U-value
a measure of heat passing through a window or wall – low U-value numbers mean less heat loss