Energy Saving Glossary

Learning the language of energy savings

You may discover new terminologies as you navigate your Energy Champion journey.

Adding these terms to your vocabulary can empower you to more confidently understand and implement solutions for your home and budget. From better understanding your utility bills, to discovering the right tools to improve your home's energy efficiency, our Energy Saving Glossary is here to help.

Sort Alphabeticals

Variable rate

A variable rate means that when you sign a contract with a utility company, the amount you pay per kilowatt hour (kWh) fluctuates based on current market conditions. This means that the amount you pay per kilowatt hour will change over time based on variables such as supply and demand. The commodity charge on your utility bill may change as a result, regardless of the amount of energy you use.


A utility is an organization that supplies communities with electricity, natural gas, and water and sewage services.


A thermostat is a device used to control the temperature inside your home.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy from sources that can be replenished, or renewed, at a rate that keeps up with consumption In simple terms, this means it does not run out. Examples of renewable energy include energy from solar or wind.


A rebate is when you receive a portion of your money back after spending it on an eligible purchase. Applying for rebates can help you save money. There are many government programs that offer rebates on necessary, useful, or suggested products, such as energy retrofits or electric vehicles.

Non-renewable energy

Non-renewable energy refers to finite energy sources that cannot be replenished at the rate of consumption. Fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, or coal, are examples of non-renewable energy sources because they are being used faster than they can be naturally replenished, or the resource cannot be replenished and is finite.

Kilowatt (kW)

A kilowatt (kW) is a measure of how much power (energy per unit of time) an electric appliance consumes. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a way to measure the amount of energy/electricity used in one hour.

Gigajoule (GJ)

A gigajoule is a unit of measurement for energy consumption and is how we measure natural gas. One gigajoule (GJ) equals one billion joules (J). One gigajoule of natural gas is equivalent to approximately 277 kilowatt hours of electricity.


A furnace is what heats your home. Most furnaces in Canada use natural gas (though there are some electric ones). The air circulates through the house in air ducts.

Fixed rate

A fixed rate means that when you sign a contract with a utility company, the amount you pay per kilowatt hour (kWh) will remain the same, or ‘fixed,’ throughout your contract. This does not mean that your bill will be the same every month (that is called an equal payment plan). Remember, the rate is based on cost per unit of energy and the amount of energy you use every month (for example, how often you turn on the lights or how much you’re heating your home) may change from month to month.

Energy Saving Measures

Energy Saving Measures include measures taken to save energy, improve energy efficiency, and lower energy bills. Energy Saving Measures include everything from installing weather stripping and water saving showerheads, to implementing behavourial changes such as turning on a kitchen fan instead of opening windows when cooking during the winter.

Energy poverty

Energy poverty is the experience of being unable to afford to comfortably heat or cool your home. It does not only refer to those without access to reliable energy, such as electricity or heating, but also includes households who pay a disproportionate amount of income to energy bills. In Canada, when a household spends 6% or more of their income on energy, they are considered to be living in energy poverty.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is the process of reducing how much energy is required to provide a product or service. By finding ways to perform the same task, such as lighting your home, while consuming less energy, you can lower your utility bills. Unlike energy conservation (above), which involves using less of a particular energy source, energy efficiency is about maximizing energy when something is being used. For instance, rather than turning lights off, you can install LED lightbulbs, which are just as bright, but use less energy.

Energy conservation

Energy conservation involves reducing wasteful or unnecessary energy consumption. Turning off lights when you are not home or unplugging appliances when they’re not in use are examples of energy conservation.


Home appliances are machines used to help with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and keeping our food fresh. A microwave is an example of an appliance.

Consumer protection

Consumer protection refers to regulatory measures and policies that safeguard consumers' rights and interests by preventing service providers, such as utilities, from conducting unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business.


n places where people live and work, like houses, schools, and offices, energy refers to power produced from a range of resources (such as electricity, wind, solar, or natural gas) to provide light and heat, or to work machines.