Home > Glossary


Various governmental and sustainability-related terms are used throughout this website, from Acquisition to Zero Net Energy. Click on the blue tabs below to open and access an alphabetical listing of definitions.

A - C

A process to obtain goods/services, through purchase or lease, for the benefit of the State. The process begins with identification of a need and consists of three phases: Acquisition Planning, Acquisition Phase, and Post Award Administration. Sometimes referred to as contracting, purchase or procurement.

The process in which a building’s functional square footage is increased through the construction of a new enclosed room, wing, or section.  This does not include the expansion of a functional area to an adjacent area within the building, which would be considered remodeling.  Additions often, but not always, require creating an opening in the building’s exterior wall for access to the new area.  Additions may also include a new separate building with a short, physically attached connection to the existing, such as through a short breezeway to a new annex. Example:  A state school building needs space for additional classrooms.  A new classroom addition can be attached to the existing building, but since access to the classrooms is from the exterior, a door from the existing building to the new addition is not required. 


One of the State's "super" agencies such as the State and Consumer Services Agency or the Health and Human Services Agency. 2. Sometimes used interchangeably with department.

Air-Handling Units (AHUs)  
Mechanical indirect heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning systems in which the air is treated or handled by equipment located outside the rooms served, usually at a central location, and conveyed to and from the rooms by a fan and a system of distributing ducts. (NEEB, 1997 edition)

Any construction or renovation to an existing structure, other than repair, for the purpose of maintenance or addition.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles  
Low-polluting, non-gasoline fuels such as electricity, hydrogen, propane, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, methanol, and ethanol. In LEED, efficient gas-electric hybrid vehicles are included in this group.

Automatic Fixture Sensors  
Motion detectors that automatically turn on and turn off lavatories, sinks, water closets, and urinals. Sensors can be hard wired or battery operated.

Baseline Year 
The starting year of energy or water use, or greenhouse gas emission reporting, that a facility or department uses for comparison to later years. For example, most state facilities use 2003 as a baseline year for measurement of energy use, and 2010 as a baseline for measurement of water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Basis of Design (BOD)  
The information necessary to accomplish the owner’s project requirements, including system descriptions, indoor environmental quality criteria, design assumptions, and references to applicable codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines.

The process of collecting performance data for a facility and comparing that data to a standard metric, usually the best performance practices for that type of facility. Energy and water benchmarking of state buildings is usually done with the goal of motivating the facility to improve, and allows for comparing progress with other buildings. Benchmarking of state buildings shall use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® for energy and water use, and The Climate Registry for greenhouse gas emissions, using its Climate Registry Information System (CRIS) online database.

Best Management Practices (BMP) 
Best Management Practices (BMP) are ongoing actions that establish and maintains water use efficiency. State agencies should implement the BMPs outlined below. One of the critical practices in effective water management is to designate a water management coordinator to conduct the walk-through inventory, implement the BMP’s and monitor and report water use.

Biofuel-Based Systems  
Power systems that run on renewable fuels derived from organic materials, such as wood by-products and agricultural waste. Examples of biofuels include untreated wood waste, agricultural crops and residues, animal waste, other organic waste, and landfill gas.

Wastewater originating from sources that have a high likelihood of fecal contamination (e.g., toilets).

British Thermal Unit (Btu) 
A measure of heat energy. It takes 1 Btu to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by
1 degree Fahrenheit at sea level. For example, it takes about 2,000 Btu to make a pot of coffee. One Btu is approximately equivalent to 252 calories, 778 foot-pounds, 1,055 joules, and 0.293 watt-hours. (Note: In the abbreviation, only the B is capitalized.)
kBtu = 1,000 Btu
MMBtu = 1 million Btu (sometimes expressed as MBtu)
See Energy Unit Conversions for conversions of various energy types to equivalent Btu."

Real property or the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or possible presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminate.

California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen
The purpose of this code (CCR Title 24, Part 11) is to improve public health, safety and general welfare by enhancing the design and construction of buildings through the use of building concepts having a reduced negative impact or positive environmental impact and encourage sustainable construction practices.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) 
A common unit of measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP). Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly expressed as metric tons of CO2e. The carbon dioxide equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tons of the gas by the associated GWP.

Climate Change  
Any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2008)

Climate Registry, The 
A nonprofit organization that provides meaningful information aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Registry establishes consistent, transparent standards throughout North America for businesses and governments to calculate, verify and publicly report their carbon footprints in a single, unified registry.

Climate Registry Information System (CRIS) 
The Climate Registry’s online greenhouse gas (GHG) calculation, reporting, and verification tool. CRIS also provides public access to The Registry’s verified emission reports.

A building is commissioned when it undergoes an intensive quality assurance process that begins during design and continues through construction, occupancy, and operations. Commissioning ensures that the new building operates as the owner intended and that building staff are prepared to operate and maintain its systems and equipment. (California Commissioning Collaborative Guides for New and Existing Buildings, 2006)

D - F

Demand Response (DR)
Demand Response is controlling electricity loads in buildings in response to an electronic signal sent by the local utility requesting their customers to reduce electricity consumption. (Energy Standards, Section 101 – Definitions and Rules of Construction.)

Referenced on this website are State of California departments that manage state-owned facilities. "Department" can represent any office, department, board, bureau, commission or other organizational entity within State government, and is sometimes used interchangeably with "agency."

Design Appropriate
Design appropriate is a condition in which project actions are consistent with agency building performance policies, and the established building project design or functional program approved by the agency.

Development Footprint  
The total land area of a project site covered by buildings, streets, parking areas, and other typically impermeable surfaces constructed as part of the project

District Energy System  
A central energy conversion plant and transmission and distribution system that provides thermal energy to a group of buildings (e.g., a central cooling plant on a university campus). Central energy systems that provide only electricity are not included.

Ecologically Appropriate Site Features  
Natural site elements that maintain or restore the ecological integrity of the site. Examples include native or adapted vegetation, water bodies, exposed rock, unvegetated ground, and other features that provide habitat value and are part of the historic natural landscape.

Economically Feasible  
A project is economically feasible when the agency project budget included in the 5-year Infrastructure Plan is equal to or exceeds the cost of purchasing professional services, materials and/or equipment for a project included in the approved plan.

A basic unit of nature that includes a community of organisms and their non-living environment linked by biological, chemical, and physical processes.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) 
Commonly referred to as electric vehicle charging station, the term EVSE includes equipment and power connections that deliver energy to charge electric vehicles. 

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 
Includes structures, machinery, and equipment necessary and integral to charge an electric vehicle, including EVSEs, power supply, and data connections, if applicable. Executive Order B-18-12 requires state agencies to evaluate and plan for electric vehicle charging infrastructure at state-owned parking facilities.

EO B-16-12
Among other requirements, Executive Order (EO) B-16-12 orders "that California’s state vehicle fleet increase the number of its zero-emission vehicles through the normal course of fleet replacement so that at least 10 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2015 and at least 25 percent of fleet purchases of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2020. This directive shall not apply to vehicles that have special performance requirements necessary for the protection of the public safety and welfare."

EO B-18-12  
Among other requirements, Executive Order (EO) B-18-12 orders state agencies to implement measures to ensure that state buildings are green and sustainable.

Energy audit  
Identifies how much energy a building uses and the purposes for which it is used,
and identifies efficiency and cost-reduction opportunities. The American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers uses three levels of energy audits: walk-through analysis, energy survey and analysis, and detailed analysis of capital-intensive modifications.

Energy Consumption
See Energy Use.

Energy Efficient State Property Revolving Fund
The Department of General Services Real Estate Services Division received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to establish a revolving loan program to finance energy efficiency projects at state facilities, including those with bond encumbrances.  To be eligible for these low-interest, budget-neutral loans, a department must have an energy project developed to the point where the amount of energy savings that will result from the project implementation is sufficient to make the loan repayments.

Energy Information System (EIS)
The computer hardware, software, and communication systems used in a building to collect, store, analyze, and display building energy data. An EIS supports analysis and operations procedures such as documenting current energy consumption, comparing building operations versus average buildings of the same size and type, carbon foot print tracking, and detection of malfunctioning systems.

Energy Management Plan
The energy management plan for a building or campus is a single document that collects all energy related operations, planning, resources, and other critical information in one place so that building management and building operations staff can effectively coordinate the operations of the building to both meet the primary goals of occupancy comfort and productivity, and optimize the energy consumption of the building.

Energy Management System (EMS)
An Energy Management System (EMS) in a building consists of sensors, automation hardware, and computer software used by building energy managers to optimize the energy consumption of the building while maintaining occupant comfort and productivity. An EMS also provides a record of building behavior that trained building operators can use to identify and prioritize necessary operations and maintenance projects.

Energy Service Company (ESCO or ESCo)
A commercial or non-profit business providing a broad range of energy solutions including designs and implementation of energy savings projects, retrofitting, energy conservation, energy infrastructure outsourcing, power generation and energy supply, and risk management. Services are provided for a set fee, or an amount tied to a facility’s energy cost savings paid for over time.

Energy Standards
“Energy Standards” refers to the California Title 24, Part 6, Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings.

Energy Standards Required Computer Modeling Values
Required computer modeling values are defined in the Alternative Calculation Methods described in the Energy Standards.  Alternative Calculation Methods (ACMs) are certified Energy Commission public domain computer programs or simplified calculation methods; or any other calculation method approved by the Commission.  ACMs are also referred to as compliance software. (Energy Standards, Section 101 – Definitions and Rules of Construction.)

The measure of a building’s energy performance compared with that of similar buildings, as determined by the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. A score of 50 represents average building performance.

ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® (ESPM) 
An online tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to measure and track energy, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. It can be used to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment. State of California departments and agencies have been directed to use the ESPM to document energy and water use data to track progress toward achieving targets of Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-18-12 and Green Building Action Plan.

Energy Unit Conversions 
The following conversion factors are used to combine total energy into common energy units of Btu:
1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity = 3,412 Btu or 3.412 kBtu
1 therm of natural gas = 100,000 Btu or 100 kBtu
1 gallon of propane gas = 91,500 Btu or 91.5 kBtu
A wooden kitchen match produces approximately 1 Btu
A typical household air conditioner uses 5-15 kBtu

Energy Use
The amount of energy consumed in the form in which it is acquired by the user. This includes all forms of energy, including but not limited to electricity, natural gas, propane, and other fuels. Energy, as referenced on this website, includes actual energy sources used at the site or facility and excludes upstream electrical generation and distribution losses.

Energy Use Intensity (EUI)
EUI is an expression of a building’s energy use as a function of its size or other normalizing characteristics. For most property types in the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, the EUI is expressed as energy per square foot per year. A building’s EUI is calculated by dividing the total of all energy sources (electricity, natural gas, propane, etc.) consumed by the building in one year (measured in kBtu) by the total gross floor area of the building (kBtu/square foot).

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) 
The procurement of goods and services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment as compared to other goods and services serving the same purpose (Public Contract Code §12400-12404).

Executive Orders 
A directive issued by the Governor that establishes binding policy for government agencies covered therein. For information on specific Executive Orders, see EO B-16-12 and EO B-18-12.

May refer to facilities as sites where state-owned buildings are located. A facility could include only one structure, or could include an entire campus of buildings and structures.

G - I

Geothermal Energy  
Electricity generated by harnessing hot water or steam from within the earth.

Geothermal Heating Systems  
The use of pipes to transfer heat from underground steam or hot water for heating, cooling, and hot water. The system retrieves heat during cool months and returns heat in summer months.

Graywater (or Greywater)
Wastewater originating from clothes washers, bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, or any other source that has a low likelihood of fecal contamination. Graywater may be treated or untreated prior to reuse.

Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) 
A third-party organization that provides independent oversight of professional credentialing and project certification programs related to green building. GBCI administers certifications and professional designations within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council® LEED® green building program; and ensures precision in the design, development, and implementation of measurement processes for green building performance (through project certification) and green building practices (through professional credentials and certificates).

Green Cleaning  
The use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices.

Green Vehicles  
Vehicles achieving a minimum green score of 45 on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annual vehicle rating guide. For projects outside the U.S., vehicles must achieve an average fuel efficiency (45% highway, 55% city) of 6.5 liters or less per 100 km.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) 
Any gas that absorbs infrared radiation, slowing down the passage of re-radiated heat through Earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide and ozone, as well as other gases, and absorb heat at different rates. Some greenhouse gases are naturally occurring, and others result from human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels.

GS $Mart (pronounced "G S Smart")
This third-party lending program is the Department of General Services Procurement Division's award-winning, innovative concept for government financing. This financial marketplace is designed to facilitate State of California government installment or lease purchases, and meets all requirements of a competitively bid process. The GS $Mart program maintains a pool of qualified lenders and utilizes pre-negotiated terms to obtain interest rates that are typically lower than generally available rates.  Facilities that carry bond encumbrances are unable to participate in the GS $Mart program.

Heat Island Effect  
Refers to the absorption of heat by hardscapes, such as dark, nonreflective pavement and buildings, and its radiation to surrounding areas. Particularly in urban areas, other sources may include vehicle exhaust, air-conditioners, and street equipment; reduced airflow from tall buildings and narrow streets exacerbates the effect.

HVAC Systems  
Equipment, distribution systems, and terminals that provide the processes of
heating, ventilating, or air-conditioning. (ASHRAE 90.1–2007)

Hybrid Vehicles  
The use of a gasoline engine to drive an electric generator and use the electric generator
and/or storage batteries to power electric motors that drive the vehicle’s wheels.

Hydro Energy  
Electricity produced from the downhill flow of water from rivers or lakes.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)  
The nature of air inside the space that affects the health and wellbeing
of building occupants. It is considered acceptable when there are no known contaminants at
harmful concentrations and a substantial majority (80% or more) of the occupants do not express
dissatisfaction. (ASHRAE 62.1–2007)

Industrial Water 
Water provided for specific industrial applications such as heating, cooling, or lubricating equipment.

Integrated Project Delivery 
A collaborative project approach that works to transform the traditional fragmented design and construction process, reduce waste (of time and resources).

Invasive Plants  
Nonnative to the ecosystem and likely to cause harm once introduced. These
species are characteristically adaptable and aggressive, have a high reproductive capacity, and tend to overrun the ecosystems they enter. Collectively, they are among the greatest threats to biodiversity and ecosystem stability.

J - L

Kilowatt (kW) 
One thousand (1,000) watts. A unit of measure of the amount of electricity needed to operate given equipment. On a hot summer afternoon, a typical home with central air conditioning and other equipment in use might have a demand of 4 kW.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) 
The most commonly used unit to measure electricity consumed over time. It means 1 kilowatt of electricity supplied for one hour. In 2013, a typical California household consumed 690 kWh in an average month.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™ (LEED®) 
The nation’s most widely used green building rating system, developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council®, rates buildings for sustainability qualities including energy and water efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, reduced transportation impacts, sustainable sites, and materials efficiency. Using LEED, California’s building managers are able to track progress toward sustainability targets and earn nationally recognized certification.

LEED® Certified 
New or existing buildings, or even neighborhoods, can obtain one or more LEED® certifications by completing and documenting prerequisites and optional credits sufficient to demonstrate certification at one of four levels: LEED Certified™, LEED Silver®, LEED Gold®, or LEED Platinum®. LEED certification is achieved only after the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) reviews applications and documentation and determines whether credits are satisfactorily completed. Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-18-12 requires that new or renovated state buildings over 10,000 square feet and existing buildings over 50,000 square feet achieve LEED certification at a level of Silver or higher.

Leveraged Procurement Agreement (LPA) 
A leveraged procurement is the method used to combine State departments' requirements for the same items or for families of similar items, thus providing standardization and ""leveraging"" the State's buying power to:
1. Achieve lower prices, better terms/conditions, and/or improved service through volume purchasing; and
2. Minimize the administrative costs associated with individual departments having to undergo the acquisition process repetitively to fulfill their individual, ongoing requirements for the same item(s).

Life-Cycle Assessment  
An analysis of the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service.

Low-Emitting Vehicles  
Classified as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board.

Low-Impact Development (LID)  
An approach to managing stormwater runoff that emphasizes on-site natural features to protect water quality, by replicating the natural land cover hydrologic regime of watersheds, and addressing runoff close to its source. Examples include better site design principles such as minimizing land disturbance, preserving vegetation, minimizing impervious cover, and design practices like rain gardens, vegetated swales and buffers, permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting, and soil amendments. These are engineered practices that may require specialized design assistance.

M - O

Major Renovation
A Major Renovation is any alteration or change to an existing building that exceeds 25 percent of the replacement value of the building.

Marine Stewardship Council Blue Eco-Label  
Applies to products that meet certain principles and criteria for sustainable fishing, including sustainable harvest of the target stock, acceptable impact of the fishery on the ecosystem, effectiveness of the fishery management system (including all relevant biological, technological, economic, social, environmental, and commercial aspects), and compliance with relevant laws and standards.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)  
Detailed, written instructions documenting a method to achieve uniformity of performance.

Megawatt (MW) 
One thousand kilowatts (1,000 kW) or 1 million (1,000,000) watts. One megawatt is enough electrical capacity to power approximately 1,000 average California homes.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)  
A filter rating established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

To make modern in appearance, style, or function. In buildings, this typically includes replacement of finishes and some outdated building systems (lighting, HVAC, roofing, etc.), sometimes resulting in improved efficiency.

Modifications and Maintenance Repairs 
Making alterations to an existing structure such that it will be better suited to current needs. This type of work may involve changing the use of interior space by repositioning walls, replacing fixtures, or other such modifications under the $200,000 threshold triggering CALGreen compliance.

Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx)
MBCx is an ongoing monitoring-enhanced building operation procedure based on the concept of initial building commissioning. An MBCx plan for a building incorporates, at a minimum, the following three components: 1) A permanent building energy information system (EIS) and diagnostic procedure at both the whole-building and sub-system levels; 2) An initial whole building commissioning event emphasizing direct measurement as opposed to estimation or assumptions; and 3) On-going operations plans and procedures to ensure efficient building operations based on the data collected from the EIS and to document energy savings. Each component must include appropriate training for building operations and maintenance personnel, documentation of systems and procedures, and a plan for training new personnel to support the ongoing energy management of the building.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)  
A permit program that controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

Native (or Indigenous) Plants  
Plants that are adapted to a given area during a defined time period and are not invasive. In North America, the term often refers to plants growing in a region prior to the time of settlement by people of European descent.

Net Zero Energy 
See Zero Net Energy.

Non-Potable Water 
Water not suitable for human consumption because it contains objectionable pollution, contamination minerals or infective agents, including graywater and blackwater.

Nonwater (or composting) Toilet Systems  
Dry plumbing fixtures and fittings that contain and treat human waste via microbiological processes.

On-Site Renewable Energy 
Renewable energy that is generated within the boundaries of a facility or site, where the energy is consumed.

Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR)  
A written document that details the ideas, concepts, and criteria determined by the owner to be important to the success of the project

Ozone (O3)  
A gas composed of 3 oxygen atoms. It is not usually emitted directly into the air, but
at ground-level it is created by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile
organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. Ozone has the same chemical structure
whether it occurs in the atmosphere or at ground level and can have positive or negative effects,
depending on its location. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

P - R

Peak Watering Month  
The month with the greatest deficit between evapotranspiration and rainfall. This is the month when the plants in the site’s region potentially require the most supplemental water typically a mid-summer month (Sustainable Sites Initiative).

Photovoltaic Cell (PV Cell) 
A semiconductor that converts sunlight into electricity. Also known as solar cells or solar photovoltaics (PVs).

Plug Loads
A plug load is the energy demand resulting from an appliance, piece of equipment or electrical device that is plugged into the electrical system and can be unplugged. Equipment and devices that are hard-wired into the electrical system are not plug loads..

Postconsumer Recycled Content  
The percentage of material in a product that was consumer waste. The recycled material was generated by household, commercial, industrial, or institutional end-users and can no longer be used for its intended purpose. It includes returns of materials from the distribution chain. Examples include construction and demolition debris, materials collected through recycling programs, discarded products (e.g., furniture, cabinetry, decking), and landscaping waste (e.g., leaves, grass clippings, tree trimmings). (ISO 14021)

Potable Water  
Water that meets or exceeds EPA’s drinking water quality standards and is approved for human
consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or
municipal water systems.

Power Purchase Agreement

A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement a developer uses to design, permit, finance, and install a solar energy system using solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources on a customer’s property at little to no cost. The developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed rate that is typically lower than the local utility’s retail rate. This lower electricity price serves to offset the customer’s purchase of electricity from the grid while the developer receives the income from these sales of electricity as well as any tax credits and other incentives generated from the system. PPA benefits include the following:

  • No up-front cost to the interested agency.  
  • Energy price is guaranteed for the term of the contract

Preconsumer Recycled Content 
Formerly known as postindustrial content, preconsumer recycled content is the percentage of material in a product that is recycled from manufacturing waste. Examples include planer shavings,
sawdust, bagasse, walnut shells, culls, trimmed materials, overissue publications, and obsolete
inventories. Excluded are rework, regrind, or scrap materials capable of being reclaimed within the
same process that generated them. (ISO 14021)

Process Energy  
Process Energy is the energy use resulting from an activity or treatment that is not related to the space conditioning, lighting, service water heating, or ventilating of a building as it relates to human occupancy.  A process load is a load placed on the building systems resulting from a process. Examples could include manufacturing equipment loads or other loads serving uses outside of the building. (Energy Standards, Section 101 -Definitions and Rules of Construction.)

Process Water 
Water used for producing a product or product content or water used for research and development, including, but not limited to, continuous manufacturing processes, water used for testing and maintaining equipment used in producing a product or product content, and water used in combined heat and power facilities used in producing a product or product content.

Purchasing Authority 
The authority to conduct acquisitions of information technology goods/services and/or goods (except for competitive purchases of goods $100 or less). Purchasing authority is granted by DGS to departments that meet specific requirements. Delegated purchasing authority must be obtained prior to use of most existing sources such as the State's leveraged procurement agreements (CMAS, Master Agreements including WSCA, Statewide Contracts, Software Licensing program contracts, and State Price Schedules).

Purified Water 
Water that is free of impurities such as microorganisms, particulate matter, and trace elements and chemical compounds responsible for electrical conductivity; primarily used in biological and engineering labs for research purposes.

Rainforest Alliance Certification  
Awarded to farms that protect wildlife by planting trees, control erosion, limit agrochemicals, protect native vegetation, hire local workers, and pay fair wages.

Reclaimed (or Recycled) Water 
Wastewater treated with the intention of reuse, including Direct Potable Reuse, Indirect Potable Reuse, and Non-Potable Reuse.


The process by which a building is returned or updated to a preferable condition for continued use or reuse but does not significantly alter its design, character, and layout.  Rehabilitation includes repairing and updating architectural features, and structural, mechanical, electrical, components to meet modern standards and the current building code but does not include the wholesale replacement or reconfiguration of these items.  The emphasis is on the repair of existing components wherever possible and replacement only when necessary.

Example: A 1970s state office building is to continue being used as an office but some of its elements are out of date, such as non-complying toilet rooms and older HVAC and electrical equipment.  A rehabilitation project will update the condition of these elements mostly through repair without changing the design, layout, or character defining features of the building.

The process by which a building is significantly altered for the same or different use (often called adaptive reuse).  It includes modification, demolition, relocation, or replacement of architectural features, and structural, mechanical, and electrical components and systems specific to the needs of the use and to meet current building code.  Remodeling often changes the design, character, and layout of a building.

Example:  A warehouse building is remodeled to become an office building so the interior elements that were important to the warehouse function (shelving) are replaced by interior walls suitable for an office.  A warehouse retaining its function could also be remodeled to incorporate other functions like offices, manufacturing, or a distribution center.

Renewable Energy
Resources that constantly renew themselves or that are regarded as practically inexhaustible. These include solar, wind, geothermal, small hydroelectric generation and biomass. Although particular geothermal formations can be depleted, the natural heat in the earth is a virtually inexhaustible reserve of potential energy. Renewable resources also include some experimental or less-developed sources such as tidal power, sea currents and ocean thermal gradients.

The process by which a building is substantially updated to modern standards and the current building code within the framework or structural system of the existing building.  Its goal is usually a building that is like new rather than one that is fully repaired or one that has been remodeled.  A renovation project often includes the replacement of entire building systems which may include HVAC, plumbing, electrical, elevator, and fire protection systems, and may also include updating some or all elements of the building shell including new doors, windows, exterior skin and roofing.  These items are installed where the old ones were removed without modifications to the original building support elements such as bearing walls, steel frame, etc.

Example: A 1950s office building has been modified and upgraded over the years but needs further improvements.  A renovation project will retain the original building’s structure and the more recent structural modifications that were completed, but it will provide a total replacement of the buildings non-structural systems with more modern and efficient ones.  The building may not be recognizable after the renovation is complete.

Mostly applied to buildings with a historic designation, restoration is the process of returning a building to its original character or that of a particular period.  Restoration is mostly driven by the building’s architecture, but it can have an impact on the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems of the building depending on the level of authenticity required.  Restoration work is highly precise and often relies on record drawings and photographs of the original building.  Depending on the project, restoration projects can include aspects of other kinds of work including remodeling, adaptive reuse, and additions, however, these are subject to approval by the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO).

Example:  A 1905 historic office building used as a parts store until recently is purchased by the state for conversion to a state office.  A restoration project will return the character defining elements of the building but the building’s interior will need to be remodeled to suit the requirements of a modern state office.  Historic elements in the building will have to be retained like the ornate lobby but other elements may receive approval by the SHPO for replacement such as the outdated plumbing and electrical systems.  New interior walls may be constructed if they don’t have an adverse impact on the building’s interior historic fabric.

Retrocommissioning (RCx) 
Also known as Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx), retrocommissioning is a systematic process for improving the efficiency and operation of a building, and how building energy or water consuming equipment and systems function together. This involves developing a building operation plan that identifies current operating requirements and needs, conducting tests to determine whether building systems are performing optimally in accordance with the plan, and making any necessary repairs or changes to building systems for improved performance and efficiency.

Modifying a building after initially built. This may include changes to systems inside the building (i.e., lighting, mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, structural, etc.) to improve amenities for building occupants or to improve building performance, accessibility or fire and life safety.

S - U

Solar Thermal Systems  
Collect or absorb sunlight via solar collectors to heat water that is then circulated to the building’s hot water tank. Solar thermal systems can be used to warm swimming pools or heat water for residential and commercial use.

State Administration Manual (SAM) 
A manual governing State functions published by the Department of General Services. Provides uniform guidance to State agencies in their fiscal and business management affairs, relative to statewide policies, procedures, law or regulations.

State Contracting Manual (SCM) 
A resource manual which provides uniform guidance to State agencies for the acquisition of goods and services.

State Portfolio 
The executive branch of the State of California owns approximately 1,800 facilities with over 12,000 structures comprising more than 120 million square feet. These buildings are managed by 38 state departments or agencies and are located throughout California. The state also leases over 20 million square feet of buildings.

Statewide Contract 
A contract based on a competitive process providing various goods for a specified period of time at a fixed price. While some of these contracts may be restricted to use by a specific agency, most are available for use by all State and local government agencies.

Sterilized Water 
Water that has been cleaned to remove, deactivate, or kill microorganisms present that may be harmful to humans; primarily used in medical facilities.

Storm Water 
Water that originates during precipitation events.

Sustainable Purchasing Policy  
Gives preference to products that have little to no negative impact on the environment and society throughout their life cycle, and to the companies that supply them.

Sustainable Water Systems 
Water systems or processes that maximize water use conservation or efficiency, optimize water resource management, protect resources in the context of the local watershed, and enhance economic, social and environmental sustainability while meeting operational objectives.

Time Dependent Valuation (TDV)
Time Dependent Valuation (TDV) is the time varying energy caused to be used by the building to provide space conditioning and water heating and specified building lighting.  TDV energy accounts for the energy used at the building site and consumed in producing and delivering energy to a site, including, but not limited to power generation, transmission and distribution losses. (Energy Standards, Section 101 – Definitions and Rules of Construction.)

U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) 
A worldwide 501(c)(3) nongovernmental organization made up of 13,000 member organizations, 76 chapters and thousands of community volunteers working together to move the building industry toward higher sustainability. The USGBC administers the LEED® green building program, and has accredited over 188,000 LEED professionals who help certify buildings using the LEED rating system.

V - X

Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) or Vehicle Kilometers Traveled (VKT)  
The number of miles or kilometers driven by motorists in a specified time period, such as a day or a year, in absolute or per capita terms.

Waste Reduction Program  
Encompasses source reduction, reuse, and recycling. Such a program assigns responsibility within the organization for implementation, lists the general actions that will be taken to reduce waste, and describes tracking and review procedures to monitor waste reduction and improve performance.

A watershed is the area of land that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer, bay, or ocean.

Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) 
A consortium of multiple states that establishes cooperative contracts using a competitive process. Participating state governments join together in order to achieve cost-effective and efficient acquisition of quality products and services through volume discounts.

Y - Z

Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

A zero net energy (ZNE) facility is an energy-efficiency facility that uses no more energy over the course of a year than it produces from renewable sources, calculated on a source energy basis. The priorities for renewable energy generation should first be on-site generation to the extent feasible, followed by, within a multi-building campus, generation from within the owner’s portfolio, and finally from long-term, dedicated community renewable sources. In all cases, renewable energy credits (RECs) must be retired (not sold) for all renewable energy systems. 

ZNE Code Building
A zero net energy (ZNE) code building is one where the net of the amount of energy produced by on-site renewable energy sources is equal to the value of the energy consumed by the building at the level of a single “project” seeking development entitlements and building code permits, measured using the California Energy Commission’s time dependent valuation (TDV) metric.  A ZNE code building meets California energy use intensity (EUI) values by building type and climate zone that reflect best practices for highly efficient buildings posted on the California Energy Commission website (when available).