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Glossary of Terms

Below are the specific definitions of terms as used in the NextGen Energy Program.

Carbon neutral: Balancing the generation of emissions with an equal amount of emission removals, usually through the purchase of verified carbon offsets, so that the remaining balance of emissions in the atmosphere is zero.

Decarbonization: Moving away from reliance on fossil fuels in the campus energy system, decreasing, to the greatest degree possible, its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Electricity: A source of energy used to provide electrical power.

Financial sustainability: Ensuring a balance between financial resources and the university’s academic mission to students and the environment.

Greenhouse gas emissions: Gases that enhance the natural greenhouse effect of the atmosphere, which are emitted primarily through the burning of fossil fuels in human-driven activities. Common greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide and methane.

Hot water: A source of energy used for heating or domestic use.

Net Zero: Reducing emissions to the greatest degree possible until they are zero or close to zero, and offsetting emissions that are unable to be abated.

Public-private partnership (P3): A transaction (or an agreement) between a governmental entity and a private sector partner to provide goods and/or services.

Steam: A source of energy used for heating, sanitizing, or conversion to chilled water for cooling.

Sustainability: Minimizing energy use to produce heating and cooling in the NextGen Energy Program.

Tri-generation: The simultaneous production of heating, cooling and electricity using a single fuel source.

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