Energy Related Terms Explained

Below are some terms you may encounter while researching energy related products, heating and efficiency:

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AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency): an efficiency rating that measures the efficiency with which gas and other fossil-fuel-burning appliance use their primary fuel source over an entire heating season. It does not take into account the efficiency with which any component of the system, such as a furnace fan motor, uses electricity greenhouse air conditioner. AFUE is expressed as a percentage that indicates the average number of Btu worth of heating comfort provided by each Btu worth of fuel consumed by the system. For instance, a gas furnace with an AFUE of 80% would provide 0.8 Btu of heat for every Btu of natural gas it burned.

Air infiltration: the introduction, usually unintentional, of unconditioned outdoor air into a mechanically heated and/or cooled building. Air infiltration can occur through any opening in the home’s structure, including seams where walls meet other walls, window or door frames, or chimneys; holes where wires or pipes penetrate walls, floors or ceilings/roofs; and between the loose-fitting meeting rails of double-hung windows or a door bottom and door threshold. It is one of the major causes of unwanted heat gain and loss, and personal discomfort in buildings.

Alternating Current (AC) – An electric current that reverses its direction at regular intervals or cycles; In the U.S. the standard is 120 reversals or 60 cycles per second; typically abbreviated as AC

Amp – short for “ampere” – this measures the amount of electricity moving through a wire. Most household appliances use 15 or 20 amps of power. Amps are what give electricity its “shock.”

Biomass Fuel: Any organic (plant or animal) material which is available on a renewable basis, including agricultural crops and agricultural wastes and residues, wood and wood wastes and residues, animal wastes, municipal wastes, and aquatic plants

BTU (British thermal unit): a measurement of the energy in heat. It takes one Btu of heat to warm one pound of water by 1° Fahrenheit. Btu can be used either to define an air conditioner’s cooling capacity (i.e., the number of Btu of heat that can be removed by the system) or a furnace’s heating capacity (i.e., the number of Btu of heat that can be supplied by the system).

Chemical Energy – Energy stored in a substance and released during a chemical reaction such as burning wood, coal, or oil.

Combustion – Chemical oxidation accompanied by the generation of light and heat.

Conduction is the transfer of heat through solid objects such as glass, dry wall, brick and other building materials. The greater the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the faster conduction can occur, increasing a building’s energy gain or loss.

Convection is the transfer of heat to or from a solid surface via a gas or liquid current. Where home heat loss and gain are concerned, heat convection is caused by air (gas) currents that carry heat from your body, furniture, interior walls and other warm objects to windows, floors, ceilings, exterior walls and other cool surfaces.

Conversion- A number that translates units of one measurement system into corresponding values of another measurement system.

Human activities, without doubt, are the cause of global warming; and we are responsible for stopping global warming, especially because it is a possible thing to do. Stopping global warming is not only a possible thing to do, but it is a mandatory thing that every single individual in the world should participate in. We are facing a global problem, which means that there are a lot of us who need to be educated on the issue of global warming in order to make the changes necessary in order to reverse the problem at hand. What exactly do we mean when we state that human activities are the cause of global warming? How is it that our activities have such a big impact on the recent, not to mention terrifying, climate change? All of these questions, and many more, will be explained to you. What if the children that are born today suffer tomorrow because of our actions? Our kids would wish we had made better decisions in order to create a better future for them. Our actions today have an effect on the future of our children tomorrow, and we are the only ones who have the power to make a change. We have a serious problem on our hands; it is called Global Warming. Global warming is hitting the world by storm, literally. Once its effects are felt, there is no way to stop them; the only thing we can do is stop the future effects of global warming from occurring. Every single human being on the face of this earth is in some way responsible for some fraction of the causes of global warming. The same way, every single human being should do something immediately to help stop this disaster which has already gone out of control.

To understand our climate crisis, it is important to know what greenhouse gases are and how they naturally function in our atmosphere. Greenhouse gases consist of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), methane, nitrous oxide, and the most important of them all, carbon dioxide (CO2). Greenhouse gases permit light that is emitted from the sun to enter the atmosphere; however they also lock in some infrared radiation which warms up the air in the atmosphere. These are all natural gasses, and this is a natural process which is called the greenhouse effect. The natural amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere work to help the Earth’s surface maintain an average temperature of about 59 degrees Fahrenheit. This natural amount of heat that is trapped in our atmosphere allows us to breathe clean air, have clean water, and have normal weather. We will focus mainly on CO2 emissions since they account for about 80% of all greenhouse emissions. Out of all of the greenhouse gasses, humans create more CO2. Our climate crisis stems from excess CO2, which is the byproduct of human activity being released into our atmosphere. Excess emissions of CO2, as well as other greenhouse gasses, act as a blanket and trap heat in out atmosphere, thus creating global warming which is the reason for our unimaginable climate change. According to The Stop Global Warming campaign, “More carbon dioxide is now in the atmosphere than has been in the past 650,000 years.” (“Stop Global Warming Virtual March.”)

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