In plain English!

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.  Albert Einstein

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"

Leonardo de Vinci

Here I will share with you the plain English version of the terminology and jargon used to describe Renewable Technologies and Energy Efficiency.

I plan to update regularly, but if you come accross any terms in the meantime that you would like explained, please ask. I will try to describe the meaning in plain terms, and if I can’t, I will  put you in touch with someone who does understand it well enough or is more sophisticated than I am!!


I’ll start, as most people do with ABC…

Air: The mixture of gases that surrounds the earth and forms its atmosphere, composed of, by volume, 21 percent oxygen, 78 percent nitrogen.

Airtightness: Airtightness is the amount of air leakage and/or air infiltration in a building i.e draughts. Airtightness is measured in ACH – Air changes per hour.  In contrast to controlled ventilation, air leakage is the migration of uncontrolled air to and from a building, which does not have a design purpose such as providing fresh air.

Aerobic: Life or biological processes that can occur only in the presence of oxygen



Blower Door: A blower door is a large calibrated fan that is temporarily mounted in a house door to measure the Airtightness of the house.  

Biomass: Biomass is natural material, that was alive or created during our lifetimes. When burned, biomass materials release heat.  Biomass energy uses natural materials like trees and plants.  Examples of biomass include wood pellets, wood chips, wood logs.

BioFuels: Biomass  converted to liquid or gaseous fuels such as ethanol, methanol, methane, and hydrogen.

Calorific Value: The heat liberated by the combustion of a unit quantity of a fuel under specific conditions; measured in calories.

Carbon Monoxide CO: A colorless, odorless but poisonous combustible gas. Carbon monoxide is produced in the incomplete combustion of carbon and carbon compounds such as fossil fuels and biomass,  i.e solid and liquid fuels

Carbon Dioxide CO2 : A colorless, odorless noncombustible gas  that is present in the atmosphere. It is formed by the combustion of carbon and carbon compounds (such as fossil fuels and biomass), by respiration of humans and animals,  and by the gradual oxidation of organic matter in the soil.

Any Questions?

Next post I will continue with the alphabet, so feel free to ask if there’s any terms you need explained starting with DEF..

Also, for more information on some of the subjects touched on today check out

2 Responses to In plain English!

  1. Mizz Winkens says:

    Well it certainly makes me look at the “calorific value” of that chocolate bar I ate last night in an entirely different light!!! : ) seriously though….great post!

  2. Pat Murphy says:

    Thanks Karen! Your praise means a lot. I will be updating soon, and I will be asking you to have a looksee again. Pat

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