Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Glossary of Terms


appliance: A device or machine for performing a specific task

Kitchen home appliances


bill: An itemized statement of goods or services

blades: A broad flat surface; found on turbines

Blades on a turbine

boiler: A tank in which water is turned to steam for heating or power generation

Gas boilers in gas boiler room for steam production


check sheet: Form used during Watt Watchers of Texas patrols to record energy usage data

coal: A black combustible solid used to provide heat during power generation


compact fluorescent lamp (CFL): A type of fluorescent lamp which screws into a regular socket or plugs into a small light fixture, that uses less energy than a typical incandescent bulb but more than an LED bulb

compact fluorescent lamp (CFL)

conserve: To keep from being lost, damaged or wasted; saved

cost benefit analysis: The process of weighing the total expected costs vs. the total expected benefits of one of more actions in order to choose the most profitable option

crisis: A time of great danger whose outcome decides whether possible bad consequences will follow


dial: The face of a meter or gauge on which a pointer indicates an amount

A clock face is a type of dial

draft: Breeze that occurs in a closed space. Air is leaking in from the outside causing the space to be less efficient.


efficiency: Ability to produce a desired effect or product with a minimum of effort, expense, or waste.

electric outlets: Areas where appliances can be plugged in to receive electricity.

Electrical outlet

electricity: An electric current supplied by a public utility for lighting or heating.

energy: The capacity of a physical system doing work.

Energy Star: A voluntary partnership with equipment manufacturers across a variety of industries to reduce the power consumption and the pollution associated with the use of electricity.


fluorescent light: A glass tube/bulb that is coated with a fluorescent substance that gives off light when the mercury vapor inside the tube is acted upon by a current.

Fluorescent tube


gas: The fluid form of a substance which can expand indefinitely (not a solid or a liquid)

generator: A machine for producing electricity



high pressure steam: Water is heated to create steam and is then forced against the blades of a turbine at high pressure to power a generator


incandescent: Glowing with intense heat; shining brightly; a lamp in which the light is produced by a filament of conducting material contained in a vacuum and heated to incandescence by an electric current

Incandescent light bulb

insulate: To cover with a non-conductive material in order to prevent the passage or leakage of electricity or heat

insulation: Any material used to insulate

Worker installing insulation


kilowatt: A unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts

kilowatt-hour (kWh): A unit of electrical energy or work equal to the power supplied by one kilowatt for one hour


lifetime cost: The cost of an appliance over the lifetime of the appliance

light emitting diode (LED): An electronic component that gives off light when activated. LED bulbs are more efficient than incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs.

LED light bulb


meter: An instrument for measuring and recording the quantity or rate of flow of gas, electricity or water

Natural gas meter

miles per gallon (mpg): the number of miles a vehicle can drive using one gallon of fuel


oil: Any of various kinds of greasy combustible substances obtained from mineral sources; petroleum

organize: To provide with structure


periodic appliance: An appliance that is used once in a while such as the washing machine or dishwasher

plug sealer: Used to insulate the opening around a switch or plug so that air cannot escape into the walls.

power generation: The process of creating electricity from an energy resource

power management: A process that allows monitors and computers to enter low power states when they are sitting idle

pounds per square inch (psi): a unit of measure used for pressure


rate of return: The quotient of the annual dollar savings divided by the system’s total installed dollar cost. Expressed as a percent.


save: To preserve for future use; to avoid expense

screen saver: A program used on a computer monitor to protect the screen from burn in. Not necessary with newer computers

simple payback: The quotient of the total installed cost divided by the first year’s dollar savings of an appliance

spend: To use up, consume, exhaust or wear out

strategy: A plan or action

survey: A detailed inspection by gathering information through observations

switch plate: The cover over an electrical switch such as to turn on the lights

Light switch. The switch plate is the plate around the switch.


tally: An account or score

temperature: A measurement of heat

thermostat: Apparatus for regulating temperature

Digital thermostat

tire pressure gauge: Apparatus used to measure the pressure inside a tire

Tire guage

turbine: An engine or motor having a drive shaft driven by the impulse of steam, wind, or flowing water against the curved blades of a wheel.

A disassembled steam turbine in a power plant


under-inflated: Not enough air inside an object.

A severely under-inflated tire

utility: A company providing services such as water, electricity or gas


waste: To use up or spend without real need

wind turbine: A generator operated by the winds’ rotation of large blades; used as a source of power

Wind turbines
Watt Watchers of Texas is a Partner Program of Smart Energy Education.
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