Glossary

The following is a compilation of building energy-code related terms and acronyms used on the Building Energy Codes website and throughout the building construction industry.

Select a letter to navigate through the glossary:

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SBCCI

The Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc.

Screw Lamp Holders

A lamp base that requires a screw-in-type light such as an incandescent or tungsten-halogen bulb.

Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (cooling)

The total cooling output of an air conditioner during its normal annual usage period for cooling divided by the total electric energy input during the same period in consistent units (analogous to the HSPF but for IP or other consistent units).

Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (heating)

The total heating output of a heat pump during its normal annual usage period for heating divided by the total electric energy input during the same period in consistent units (analogous to the HSPF but for IP or other consistent units).

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

The total cooling output of an air conditioner during its normal annual usage period for cooling, in Btu/h (W), divided by the total electric energy input during the same period, in watt-hours, as determined by DOE 10 CFR Part 430, Subpart B, Test Procedures. New equipment ranges from about 10 to 16 SEER. Higher SEER ratings indicate more efficient equipment.

Semiheated Space

An enclosed space within a building that is heated by a heating system whose output capacity is greater than or equal to 3.4 Btu/ft2 of floor area but is not a conditioned space.

Service Agency

An agency capable of providing calibration, testing, or manufacture of equipment, instrumentation, metering, or control apparatus, such as a contractor, laboratory or manufacturer.

Service Equipment

The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker or switch and fuses and accessories, located near the point of entrance of supply conductors to a building or other structure (or an otherwise defined area) and intended to constitute the main control and means of cutoff of the supply. Service equipment may consist of circuit breakers or fused switches provided to disconnect all underground conductors in a building or other structure from the service-entrance conductors.

Service Water Heating

Heating water for domestic or commercial purposes other than space heating and process requirements.

Set Point

Point at which the desired temperature (°F) of the heated or cooled space is set.

Setback

Reduction of heating (by reducing the set point) or cooling (by increasing the set point) during hours when a building is unoccupied or during periods when lesser demand is acceptable.

Shading Coefficient (SC)

The ratio of solar heat gain through fenestration, with or without integral shading devices, to that occurring through unshaded 1/8-in.-thick double-strength glass.

Simulation Program

A computer program that is capable of simulating the energy performance of building systems.

Single Family

A detached residential building, irrespective of height, including duplexes.

Single-Rafter Roof

A subcategory of attic roofs where the roof above and the ceiling below are both attached to the same wood rafter and where insulation is located in the space between these wood rafters.

Single-Zone System

An HVAC system serving a single HVAC zone.

Single-Zone Units

Unitary HVAC systems that serve a single zone. Single-zone systems can provide either heating or cooling, but they provide supply air at the same volume and temperature to the entire zone that they serve.

Site-Recovered Energy

Waste energy recovered at the building site that is used to offset consumption of purchased fuel or electrical energy supplies.

Site-Solar Energy

Thermal, chemical, or electrical energy derived from direct conversion of incident solar radiation at the building site and used to offset consumption of purchased fuel or electrical energy supplies. For the purposes of applying this standard, site-solar energy shall not include passive heat gain through fenestration systems.

Skylight

A fenestration surface having a slope of less than 60° from the horizontal plane. Other fenestration, even if mounted on the roof of a building, is considered vertical fenestration.

Skylight Well

The shaft from the skylight to the ceiling.

SL

Standby loss.

Slab Edge

Slab edge refers to the perimeter of a slab-on-grade floor, where the top edge of the slab floor is above the finished grade or 12 in. or less below the finished grade. The slab perimeter should include the length of all edges of a slab foundation that are part of the building envelope and are less than 12 in. below grade (i.e., all edges separating conditioned space from unconditioned space).

Slab on Grade Floor Insulation

Insulation around the perimeter of the floor slab or its supporting foundation when the top edge of the floor perimeter slab is above the finished grade or 12 in. (305 mm) or less below the finished grade.

Slab-On-Grade Floor

That portion of a slab floor of the building envelope that is in contact with the ground and is either above grade or is less than or equal to 24 in. below the final elevation of the nearest exterior grade.

SMACNA

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association.

Solar Energy Source

Source of thermal, chemical, or electrical energy derived from direct conversion of incident solar radiation at the building site.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is the glazing's effectiveness in rejecting solar heat gain. SHGC is part of a system for rating window performance used by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). SHGC has replaced the older index, shading coefficient (SC), in product literature and design standards. If you are using glass whose performance is listed in terms of SC, you may convert to SHGC by multiplying the SC value by 0.87.

Space

An enclosed space within a building.

Split System

Split-system HVAC equipment has the indoor and outdoor coils within separate cabinets. For a cooling only system, the outdoor cabinet would contain the condenser coil and the indoor cabinet would contain the evaporator coil.

Standard Truss

Any construction that does not permit the roof/ceiling insulation to achieve the required R-value over the exterior walls.

Steel-Framed Wall

A wall with a cavity (insulated or otherwise) whose exterior surfaces are separated by steel framing members (i.e., typical steel stud walls and curtain wall systems).

Story

Portion of a building that is between one finished floor level and the next higher finished floor level or the roof, provided, however, that a basement or cellar shall not be considered a story.

Substantial Contact

A condition where adjacent building materials are placed so that proximal surfaces are contiguous, being installed and supported so they eliminate voids between materials without compressing or degrading the thermal performance of either product.

SWEEP

Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

Switched Receptacles

Components that allow the ability to turn power on and off to an electrical outlet by using a control switch.

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