If you’re already involved in sustainability issues, you already know the jargon, the lingo, the short forms and acronyms that come with the territory. If you’re not, this list might come in handy.
CFCs: Chlorofluorocarbons. Most commonly used as a refrigerant; brand name Freon. Nasty stuff that has been mostly phased out in Canada thanks to the Montreal Protocol, but are still kicking about elsewhere.
CHP: Combined heat and power. As the name suggests, a system that generates both thermal energy (heat) and electricity.
ESCO: Energy services company. A business that provides energy and energy efficiency solutions; some companies base service fees on an agreed-upon percentage of the resulting energy savings, in other words, they take the risk along with the client.
GHG(s): Greenhouse gas emissions. We’re talking that legendary combo of water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone baby!
GWP: Global warming potential. Compares how different greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere. All GHGs have a GWP (sounds like a dating ad) but not all are equal. Nitrous oxide, for example, has a GWP 310 times greater than carbon dioxide.
HOV: High occupancy vehicle. A dedicated traffic lane for cars with 2+ people; driver tip: mannequins don’t count.
LED: Light emitting diode. A semiconductor device that emits visible light when an electric current passes through it. Most of the LED info you’ll find here is in relation to lighting retrofits.
IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Thousands of scientists around the world assess every scrap of climate change information out there. Think how depressing a job that must be the next time you complain about no-name coffee at work.
PV: Photovoltaic. Semiconducting materials convert solar energy into direct current electricity. Not to be confused with solar thermal, which uses solar energy to heat water.
TDM: Transportation demand management. A system for influencing travel behaviour through policies, programs, services, products, incentives and disincentives. Providing safe sidewalks and bike lanes, charging drivers more for parking or for entering certain areas of a city, and allowing employees to telework are just some examples of TDM measures.
VOC(s): Volatile organic compound(s). The life-long members of the Smog Gang. These carbon-containing gases and vapors are found in gasoline fumes, solvents, carpet, paint and office equipment. These horrid things can be carcinogenic and neurotoxic to humans, among, you know, other species.