The WegoWise Glossary: Your Guide to Understanding Efficiency Jargon

by ‐ Tags: alternative energy, water efficiency, green living

If you want to participate in the ongoing conversations regarding sustainability and energy consumption it is important to enter into those discussions with the proper lingo at your disposal. Here are some basic terms to put on your first set of flashcards.


Benchmarking, in the utilities sense of the word, is a simple compare and contrast analysis between the utilities that you use in your building and the utility usage of buildings with similar characteristics, such as size, heating system and climate.

Utility Tracking:

Utility tracking is recording utility usage and cost data over time for the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of energy and water performance in your building or set of buildings.

Energy Audit:

In the world of energy management, an audit is a step in the right direction to see how and where you could be saving money and energy. An energy audit is a comprehensive assessment of how much energy the building in question is consuming.  Keep in mind, an audit by itself will not save you any money or energy, but it will illuminate the next logical step towards savings and efficiency. Audits can be conducted by the individual property manager/homeowner or by a professional.  Often, buildings are benchmarked to help identify buildings most in need of an audit.


The United Nations has defined sustainability, as the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Heating/Cooling Degree Day:

HDD and CDD are measurements calculated to determine the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building based on a particular day and region. If you want to crunch some numbers here is the algorithm.

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The process of making a building more resistant to the elements and, in turn, enabling it to use less energy. This can mean making the building better able to retain heat in the winter, and making the building cooler in the summer. This is a simple step that any home or property owner can take to make their building more efficient. This could be replacing drafty doors and windows or installing a sump pump to protect the building from surface or ground water. 


A retrofit is the addition of new technologies to an existing building that make it operate more efficiently. It’s a simple concept that you can read more about in other blog posts.