Energy Efficiency Lingo

Do You Speak Energy?

To really understand your energy bill and make informed choices when you’re buying things that run on electricity, it helps if you’re familiar with energy lingo. The words may sound weird, but their meanings are straightforward. Expanding your vocabulary to include energy jargon makes you a more confident and knowledgeable consumer. Ready for your lingo lesson?


Efficiency is the ratio of output to the input of any system; therefore, energy efficiency refers to using energy in a way where less energy is required to produce the same effect. Energy efficient products and appliances help us use less energy while maintaining our usual standard of living and overall comfort.

Energy Efficient

Products and actions that use less energy due to advanced technology and equipment.


When an ENERGY STAR® label is given to a product or appliance, it shows that it meets government standards for energy efficiency. Click here to learn more about ENERGY STAR® certified products.


EnerGuide is a federally administered program that provides consumers with information about the energy use of various products and appliances. The EnerGuide label helps consumers compare products when they are shopping and understand how much that product will cost them to operate.


A gigajoule is a unit of energy and in Alberta is typically how our natural gas usage is measured on our utility bill. One gigajoule is equivalent to the energy it takes to run 200 loads through your dishwasher or drive a car from Edmonton to Calgary.

Colour Temperature/Kelvins

Kelvin is the standard unit for measuring thermodynamic temperature, and is often used to indicate the colour temperature of lightbulbs.

The primary colour temperatures found in lightbulbs are commonly described on their packaging as soft or warm white (2700K – 3000K), bright or cool white (3500K – 4100K) and daylight (5000K – 6500K). The LED bulb colour that most closely resembles the traditional lightbulb is one with a lower Kelvin number, like warm white.

Kilowatt (kW)

Kilowatt is the standard unit for measuring electricity demand, equal to 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt hour (kWh)

Kilowatt hour (kWh) is the standard unit for measuring electricity consumption, equal to 1,000 watts of power for 1 hour, and it’s how your electricity use is represented on your utility bill. It takes into consideration 2 things: the electricity required to power a device (also known as it’s wattage) and the number of hours that product is used in a day, week or month.

What can you get for a kilowatt hour? Of course, the more efficient your appliances, the more you’ll get, but one general way to think of it is that it takes about one kWh to watch 10 hours of television.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

An LED is a semiconductor device that converts an electric current into visible light. LED bulbs are more efficient and last much longer than either incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Unlike fluorescent bulbs, LEDs do not use mercury, which is toxic and requires proper disposal.


Lumens measure how much light you get from a bulb. More lumens means brighter light, fewer lumens means dimmer light.


A watt is a unit of power. A product’s wattage is the amount of power, or electricity, required to make it work. Energy efficient products require less power to operate, but still provide equal or better output. This translates to lower electricity bills, without sacrificing product quality.