Sharing Transparency for a More Efficient Future

Glossary of Building Rating Terms

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The backers include the funders not involved in the ownership development, e.g. the bankers and the insurers which help among others the building owners and the contracting authorities, (investors and private individuals). [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Balance Sheet Financing

In such transactions, the lender earns money through the amount of interest associated with the loan. The interest rate is in direct proportion to the risk associated with the project, i.e. the higher the risk, the higher the interest rate. [Source: IEA (2010) Money Matters]


An obstacle or impedement to the implementation of energy efficiency policies [Source: GBPN]

Basic Building Products

Building product shaped on site, constituted either by constituents mixed on site, or by mix of constituents prepared off site. [Source: IEA Annex 21 Glossary]


Process of building energy performance measurement, consisting of assessing a building’s pattern of energy consumption (with an energy rating) then comparing it against its historical usage (also internal benchmarking) or to consumption patterns of similar buildings (also external benchmarking). Benchmarking can be used to compare performance over time, within and between peer groups, or to document top performers. [Source: L. Pérez-Lombard, J. Ortiz, R. González, I. R. Maestre. A review of benchmarking, rating and labelling concepts within the framework of building energy certification schemes, Energy and Buildings, Volume 41 (2009) 272–278].

Bioclimatic Design

Bioclimatic design/architecture is designing a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site, taking advantage of free available renewable resources, e.g., using sunlight through passive solar, and reducing the impact on energy demand for heating and cooling by appropriate orientation, lay out and compact shape of the building. [Source: Isover Saint Gobain Glossary]


The region of the earth's crust and atmosphere occupied by living organisms. Modelling the biosphere thus involves predicting all of the loadings, effect potential and impacts external to the system. [Souce: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Blower Door Test

A home performance test conducted by a contractor (or energy auditor) to evaluate a home’s air-tightness. During this test a powerful fan mounts into the frame of an exterior door and pulls air out of the house in order to lower the inside air pressure. While the fan operates, the contractor can determine the house’s air infiltration rate and better identify specific leaks around the house. [Source: ACEEE Glossary]


The combined boiler body-burner unit, designed to transmit to fluids the heat released from burning. [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU]

Bottom Up Models

Models reresent reality by aggregating characteristics of specific activities and processes, considering technological, engineering and cost details. [Source: IPCC - Annex I Glossary]


The Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) is dedicated to improving the energy performance of buildings across Europe, and thereby helping to reduce CO2 emissions from the energy used by buildings. BPIE acts both as an international centre of expertise on all aspects of energy efficiency and energy performance in European buildings, and as the European centre for a Global Buildings Performance Network created by ClimateWorks.


BREEAM is an environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes. [Source: BREEAM Website]


The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of liquid water by 1 degree Fahrenheit at the temperature at which water has its greatest density (approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit). [Source: ACEEE Glossary]

Buidling Energy Modelling

Building energy estimation using a computer model of energy flow and processes. [Source: USGBC]

Building Component

Heterogeneous or complex shaped building product, which is a final product, involving one or several basic building materials, complementary products for implementation and packaging products. [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Building Element

Homogeneous simple shaped building product, which is a final product, involving a basic building material, complementary products for implementation and packaging products. [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Building Energy Consumption

The building energy consumption is the amount of energy consumed in the form in which the user acquires it. The term excludes electrical generation and distribution losses. [Source: BPIE Glossary]

Building Energy Efficiency Codes

Energy efficiency codes set minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design and construction/renovation of new and existing buildings. [Source: Cochrane & Dunn (2010), Energy Codes 101: A Primer for Sustainability Policy Makers, Working Paper, Reservation Green Lab].

Building Energy Label

Building Energy Labels are a best-known information policy tool for providing information on the energy efficiency of buildings. [Source: IEA]

Building Energy Rating

The features of an energy efficiency assessment including the nature of comparison, energy use assessment method and building inputs. An energy rating’s terms of comparison can be relative to other buildings or to an absolute score (ie. technical or statistical) its energy use assessment method either based on forecasted consumption (asset/calculated/predictive) or actual consumption (operational/measured/performance-based); individualized building inputs can use either standardized or customized (standard or tailored) values. [Source: Institute for Market Transformation]

Building Energy Use

The amount of energy consumed in the form in which it is acquired by the user. The term excludes electrical generation and distribution losses. [Source: BPIE Glossary]

Building Energy Use Scenarios

Buildling energy use scenarios present the potential trends of building energy use under different decision regimes. [Source: Urge-Vorsatz, D. (CEU) (2012) Best Practice Policies for Low Carbon and Energy Buildings-Based on Scenario Analysis]

Building Envelope

The integrated elements of a building which separate its interior from the outdoor environment [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU].

Building Half-Product

Building product sized on site, involving one or several basic building materials, complementary products for implementation and packaging products. [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Building Manager

The building managers manage their own assets (e.g. the public sector housing) or the assets of others (e.g. condominiums). [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Building Owners

The person or entity that holds legal title to the building.

Building Parts

The different parts making up the building shell including windows, walls, roofs and floors. [Source: IEA Glossary]

Building Renovation Policies

Policies that govern the energy efficient renovation of the existing building stock. [Source: GBPN]

Building Services

Services provided by the technical building systems and by appliances to provide the indoor climate conditions, domestic hot water, illumination and other services related to the use of the building.[Source: International ISO Standard 13790- Energy performance of buildings- Calculation of energy use for space heating and cooling (2008)]