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Glossary of Building Rating Terms

Click a term to see its definition.

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Participating Party

Participating party means an enterprise or public body that has committed itself to reaching certain objectives under a voluntary agreement, or is covered by a national regulatory policy instrument. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Passive Design

Passive design is design that does not require mechanical heating or cooling. Homes that are passively designed take advantage of natural climate to maintain thermal comfort. [Source: Your Home (Australian Government Website)]

Passive House

A passive house is a building in which a comfortable indoor climate can be obtained without a traditional heating or cooling system. Compared to traditional building they use far less energy. For most countries these demands are 70–90 % reduced compared to the actual energy efficiency requirements for heating and cooling, but this depends on the actual energy standards. For countries with high energy efficiency requirements it is less. [Source: IEA (Laustsen J.) (2008) Energy Efficiency Requirements in Building Codes, Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings.]

Payback Time

The length of time required to recover the cost of an investment. [Source: BPIE]

Peak Load

The highest electrical demand within a particular period of time. Daily electric peaks on weekdays occur in late afternoon and early evening. Annual peaks occur on hot summer days. [Source: California Energy Commission Glossary]

Performance Based Building Codes


Plus Energy Building

Plus Energy Buildings are buildings that deliver more energy to the supply systems than they use. Over a year, these buildings produce more energy than they consume. [Source: IEA (Laustsen J.) (2008) Energy Efficiency Requirements in Building Codes, Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings.]

Policy Packages

A collection of policies and programmes that support the implementation of a common goal.

Positive Energy Building

A positive energy building is a building that on average over the year produces more energy from renewable energy sources than it imports from external sources. This is achieved using combination of small power generators and low-energy building techniques such as passive solar building design, insulation and careful site selection and placement. [Source: European Commission]

Power to Heat Ratio

Power-to-heat ratio means the ratio of electricity from cogeneration to useful heat when operating in full cogen­eration mode using operational data of the specific unit. [Source: EU Directive 2012/27/EU on Energy Efficiency]

Preferential Loan

Government sponsored initiative to stimulate capital investment, specially in less-developed or high unemployment areas, by advancing loans at below market interest rates. [Source: Business Dictionary]

Prescriptive Building Codes

Prescriptive building codes set standards that specify all of the materials, configurations and processes required to achieve a desired regulatory goal. [Source: Laustsen (2009) Energy Efficiency Requirements in Building Codes, Energy Efficiency Policies for New Buildings]

Primary Energy

Energy from renewable and non-renewable sources which has not undergone any conversion or transformation process. [Source: EPBD recast 2012/31/EU]

Prime Contractors

The prime contractors (including architects) are commissioned by the client to design the construction, to manage the project, to control the performance of the contractors and to propose the acceptance of their work and their payment. [Source: IEA Annex 31 Glossary]

Project Finance

Project finance, by contrast to balance sheet financing (loans, debt and equity), bases its collateral on a project’s cash flow expectations, not on individuals or institutions’ credit‐worthiness. It is off‐balance sheet financing. A typical project finance is divided between debt and equity financing. Debt is usually a conventional commercial bank loan to which a customer pays interest (i.e. thereby paying for the loan and the price of the debt). Lenders normally charge a pre‐determined rate of interest that is set by adding an interest margin to the banks standard inter-bank lending rate, which represents its income. [Source: IEA (2010) Money Matters]

Projected Area of Solar Collecting Elements

Area of the projection of the surface of the element on to a plane parallel to the transparent or translucent part of the element. [Source: International ISO Standard 13790- Energy performance of buildings — Calculation of energy use for space heating and cooling (2008).]

Public Building

Building owned or occupied by any public body. [Source: BPIE]