Sharing Transparency for a More Efficient Future

Glossary of Building Rating Terms

Click a term to see its definition.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z
Eco Design Directive

The Ecodesign Directive provides with consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of energy related products (ERPs) through ecodesign. [Source: European Directive]

Eco Innovation

Eco-Innovation is any form of innovation resulting in or aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment, enhancing resilience to environmental pressures, or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources. [Source: European Commission]


An educational building can be defined as a primary or secondary schools, high school, university, research laboratory, professional training centre or others. [Source: BPIE]

EEB Project

Launched in 2006, the Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB) project focused, during its first phase of work, on delivering an understanding of the international building sector’s use of energy. The project produced recommendations and a roadmap for a transformation of the building sector to reach an 80% cut in energy use by 2050, while being economical and socially acceptable. Since early 2011, EEB has been scoping its future phase of work to actually trigger implementation within this complex and fragmented sector. [Source: WBCSD Website]


Efficiency is the extent to which the program has converted or is expected to convert its resources/inputs (such as funds, expertise, time, etc.) economically into results in order to achieve the maximum possible outputs, outcomes, and impacts with the minimum possible inputs. [Source: World Bank]


BBC effinergie ® is a certification system developed by the French Ministry for the Environment that identifies buildings with a very low energy requirement. In order to be elegible for certification a new buildings must achieve: 50 kWhep/m2/year and renovation projects must achieve: 80 kWhep/m2/year. The requirements for BBC-effinergie® certification are calculated on variables to allow for a particular region’s climactic differences. The maximum consumption levels refer to energy use that can be actively influenced by building design : heating, hot water ,Auxiliary appliances for ventilation and heating, lighting (via natural light), air-conditioning. [Source: Effinergie]

Electricity Cogeneration

Electricity from cogeneration’ means electricity generated in a process linked to the production of useful heat and calculated in accordance with the methodology laid down in Annex I. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Emissions Trading

A market-based approach to achieving environmental objectives. It allows those reducing GHG emissions below their emission cap to use or trade the excess reductions to offset emissions at another source inside or outside the country. In general, trading can occur at the intra-company, domestic, and international levels. The Second Assessment Report by the IPCC adopted the convention of using permits for domestic trading systems and quotas for international trading systems. Emissions trading under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol is a tradable quota system based on the assigned amounts calculated from the emission reduction and limitation commitments listed in Annex B of the Protocol. [Source: IPCC - Annex 1 Glossary]


The amount of heat or work delivered. Energy is classified in a variety of types and becomes useful to human ends when it flows from one place to another or is converted from type into another. [Source: UNFCC]

Energy Audit

Energy audit means a systematic procedure with the purpose of obtaining adequate knowledge of the existing energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, an industrial or commercial operation or instal­lation or a private or public service, identifying and quan­tifying cost-effective energy savings opportunities, and reporting the findings. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Energy Certification of Buildings

A process, programme or system to assess and identify a building's energy performance and allow this information to be standardised, displayed and communicated to the real estate market. [Source: Institute for Market Transformation]

Energy Class

An easy to understand metric (e.g. A to G) for indicating the energy performance of a building. [Source: CEN standard - EN 15217 Energy Performance of Buildings - Methods for expressing energy performance and for the energy certification of buildings]

Energy Demand

The amount of energy required by the systems installed in a building to maintain the habitable conditions of the indoor environment. [Source: IEA Glossary]

Energy Distributor

Energy distributor means a natural or legal person, including a distribution system operator, responsible for transporting energy with a view to its delivery to final customers or to distribution stations that sell energy to final customers. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Energy Efficiency

The ratio between the energy services provided and the energy consumed. Something is more energy efficient if it delivers more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input. [Source: IEA Glossary]

Energy Efficiency Directive

This Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the Union’s 2020 20 % headline target on energy efficiency and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date. [Source: European Commission]

Energy Efficiency Improvement

Energy efficiency improvement means an increase in energy efficiency as a result of technological, behavioural and/or economic changes. [Source: Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU]

Energy Efficiency Ratio

The ratio of net refrigeration effect (in Btu per hour) to cooling energy consumption (in watts) under designated operating conditions. EER is stated in units of (Btu/h)/W. Also see net refrigeration effect and cooling energy consumption. (US) [Source: ASHRAE]

Energy Frame

An overall framework establishes the standard for a building’s maximum energy loss. A calculation of the building has to show that this maximum is respected. [Source: Laustsen (2009) Energy Efficiency Requirements in Building Codes, Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings]

Energy from Renewable Sources

Energy from renewable non-fossil sources, namely wind, solar, aero­thermal, geothermal, hydrothermal and ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogases [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU].

Energy Intensity

Efficiency measure calculated by dividing the building's total energy consumption by it's square footage. [Source: Institute for Market Transformation]

Energy Load

An end-use device or customer that receives power from the electric system. [Source: North American Electric Reliability Corporation Glossary]

Energy Management System

Energy management system means a set of interrelated or interacting elements of a plan which sets an energy effi­ciency objective and a strategy to achieve that objective. [Source: Energy Efficiency Directive Directive 2012/27/EU]

Energy Need for Humidification and Dehumidification

Latent heat in the water vapour to be delivered to, or extracted from, a conditioned space by a technical building system to maintain a specified minimum or maximum humidity within the space [Source: International ISO Standard 13790- Energy performance of buildings — Calculation of energy use for space heating and cooling (2008).]

Energy Performance Certificate

A certificate recognised by a Member State or by a legal person designated by it, which indicates the energy performance of a building or building unit, calculated according to a methodology adopted in accordance with Article 3 [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU].

Energy Performance Contracting

Energy performance contracting means a contractual arrangement between the beneficiary and the provider of an energy efficiency improvement measure, verified and monitored during the whole term of the contract, where investments (work, supply or service) in that measure are paid for in relation to a contractually agreed level of energy efficiency improvement or other agreed energy performance criterion, such as financial savings. [Source: Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU]

Energy Performance in Buildings Directive


Energy Performance of Buildings

The calculated or measured amount of energy needed to meet the energy demand associated with a typical use of the buildings, which includes inter alia, energy used for heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water and lighting (EU). [Source: EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU]

Energy Performance Requirment

Minimum level of energy performance that is to be achieved to obtain a right or an advantage: e.g. right to build, lower interest rate, quality label [Source: CEN standard - En 15217 “Energy performance of buildings – “methods for expressing energy performance and for the energy certification of buildings”]

Energy Poverty

A lack of access to modern energy services. These services are defined as household access to electricity and clean cooking facilities (e.g. fuels and stoves that do not cause air pollution in houses). [Source: IEA Glossary]

Energy Savings

An amount of saved energy determined by measuring and or estimating consumption before and after implementation of one or more energy efficiency improvement measure, whilst ensuring normalisation for external conditions that affect energy consumption. [Source: Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU]

Energy Security

The protection of energy sources and infrastructure from risks stemming from natural, economic and/or political factors. [Source: IEA Glossary]

Energy Service

Energy service means the physical benefit,utility or good derived from a combination of energy with energy-efficient technology or with action, which may include the oper­ations, maintenance and control necessary to deliver the service, which is delivered on the basis of a contract and in normal circumstances has proven to result in verifiable and measurable or estimable energy efficiency improvement or primary energy savings. [Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU]

Energy Service Company (ESCO)

A natural or legal person that delivers energy services and/or other energy efficiency improvement measures in a user’s facility or premises, and accepts some degree of financial risk in so doing. The payment for the services delivered is based (either wholly or in part) on the achievement of energy efficiency improvements and on the meeting of the other agreed performance criteria. [Source: ESD, 2006/32/EC]

Energy Service Provider

Energy service provider means a natural or legal person who delivers energy services or other energy efficiency improvement measures in a final customer’s facility or premises. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Energy Services Directive

The purpose of this Directive is to enhance the cost-effective improvement of energy end-use efficiency in the Member States. This will be achieved by providing the necessary indicative targets as well as mechanisms, incentives and institutional, financial and legal frameworks to remove existing market barriers and imperfections that impede the efficient end use of energy. The ESD also aims to create the necessary conditions for development and promotion of a market for energy services and for the delivery of other energy efficiency improvement measures to final consumers. [Source: Concerted Action]

Energy Stakeholders

A person, organisation or group with an interest in the supply and distribution of energy. [Source: GBPN]

Energy Star

ENERGY STAR is a joint EPA-DOE program that encourages energy efficiency by improving the energy efficiency of a wide range of consumer and commercial products, enhancing energy efficiency in buildings, and promoting energy management planning for businesses and other organizations. The energy performance of buildings can be rated on the EPA’s ENERGY STAR 1-100 energy performance scale relative to similar buildings nationwide. [Source: ENERGY STAR]

Energy Sufficiency

The design and use of non-technological solutions to reduce the energy demand of a building. This can include for example adjusting the orientation of a building's windows to maximise natural lighting and solar heating, while balancing optimal natural shading where needed. The human response can also be included, for example wearing warmer clothes in the winter and lighter clothing in the summer. [Source: IEA Glossary]

Energy Use for Space Heating and Cooling

Energy input to the heating or cooling system to satisfy the energy need for heating or cooling, respectively. If the technical building system serves several purposes (e.g. heating and domestic hot water), it can be difficult to split the energy use into that used for each purpose. It can be indicated as a combined quantity (e.g. energy use for space heating and domestic hot water). [Source: International ISO Standard 13790- Energy performance of buildings — Calculation of energy use for space heating and cooling (2008).]

Energy Use for Ventilation

Electrical energy input to a ventilation system for air transport and heat recovery (not including energy input for pre-heating or pre-cooling the air) and energy input to a humidification system to satisfy the need for humidification [Source: International ISO Standard 13790- Energy performance of buildings — Calculation of energy use for space heating and cooling (2008).]


EnerPHit is certification system for quality-approved energy retrofit with Passive House components. This requires either a maximum heating demand of 25 kWh/(m²a) or alternatively the consistent use of Passive House components in accordance with the requirements for PHI certification of components. The heating demand calculated by the PHPP, and the quality of thermal protection of the individual components are indicated in the certificate. [Source: Passivhaus Institut]

Entrusted Party

Entrusted party means a legal entity with delegated power from a government or other public body to develop, manage or operate a financing scheme on behalf of the government or other public body. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Environmental Aspect

The element of an organisation’s activities,products or services that can interact with the environment. [ISO 40, ISO 97b]. In Life Cycle Analysis, an environmental aspect is the elementary flow of resources, emissions and wastes across the boundaries into and out of the system. The potential interaction should be clearly distinguished from impact where an observable change takes place (ISO 97b). [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Effect

The consequence of an environmental intervention in the environmental system. [CML 95] Or measurable or observable change in the environment, human health or natural resource, which may be beneficial or adverse. [ISO 97b] This includes any consequence of the activities, products or services of the organism [i.e. firm or institution] on the environment, whether adverse or beneficial. [AFNOR 93] Effects are physical phenomena, which may induce secondary and further order effects, in a cause-to-effect relationship. [ATEQUE 02] [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Indicator

A specific expression that provides information about an organisation's environmental performance, efforts to influence that performance or the conditions of the environment. Environmental performance indicators (EPI's) are used in relation to the organisation's management and operations. Environmental condition indicators (ECI's) are used to describe the local regional/national or global conditions of the environment in relation to the organisation. [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Interventions

The physical interaction between a system studied and the environment, defined in terms of the extraction of natural resources, or substances emissions to the environment media (air, soil, superficial and ground water), or space occupied by waste, building, and other disturbances (CML 95). [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Issue

The inputs and outputs (from Life Cycle Analysis) and if additionally conducted environmental indicators (from LCIA), which are defined in general terms as being important in the goal and scope definition (ISO 43). [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Labelling

A system or framework which awards an official designation or label for environmental achievement, as sanctioned by an official body. [Source: Institute for Market Transformation]

Environmental Load

An environmental load or impact factor is a chemical substance or a physical non-material flux (e.g. heat, acoustic pressure) emitted by a source into one of the environmental media (air, water, ground) (NIBEL 97). [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Problem

Environmental effects or impacts are generally summarised into general categories, referred to as environmental problems or themes, or impact categories. For instance, UNEP 96 defines the main environment problems used in Life Cycle Assessment as: abiotic depletion, energy depletion, human toxicity, ecotoxicity (aquatic and terrestrial), acidification, nutrification, ozone depletion, global warming and photochemical oxidant formation. [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Environmental Theme

A type of environmental problem scored during an impact assessment.The themes as stated by CML are summarised as depletion, disturbance and pollution. Depletion concerns the theme abiotic depletion, biotic depletion and energy depletion; disturbance, e.g. to ecosystems, has to be described qualitatively; pollution concerns the theme human toxicity, aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity, acidification, nutrification, ozone depletion, global warming, photochemical oxidant formation and smell. Other items sometimes quantified are waste and water use [CML 95]. Environmental problems or themes and impact categories may be considered as synonymous. [Souce: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

EPBD recast directive


Equity Financing

In equity financing, investors provide cash to project developers in exchange for a stake in their project. The most common example of equity financing is private equity. In such deal structures, the investors will typically invest in a project for which he/she has secured an adequate medium‐to long‐term exit strategy that will be profitable. Such exit strategies include the reselling of the share through, for instance, an initial public offering (IPO). [Source: IEA (2010) Money Matters]

EU Policies

The principles that guide decision making within the European Union.


Eurima is the European Insulation Manufacturers Association and represents the interests of all major mineral wool producers throughout Europe. Eurima members manufacture a wide range of mineral wool products for the thermal and acoustic insulation and fire protection of domestic and commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Eurima was established in 1959 to promote improved standards and regulations for the use of insulation materials. More recently, it has developed to reflect the growing environmental concerns of society. [Source: Eurima Website]


EuroACE works together with the European Institutions to help Europe move towards an efficient use of energy in buildings. [Source: EuroACE Website]

European Union

The EU is a unique economic and political partnership between 27 European countries. [Source:]