Guide to Green Terminology
Job candidates from all disciplines who are exploring the new cleantech, greentech, carbon-neutral world for career opportunities will likely run smack into a tall Tower of Ecobabble.
Scaling this "ginormous" mound of jargon can be daunting due to both the wide range of industries going green, and the highly specialized nature of many renewable-energy jobs
The solar field alone is highly fragmented and fraught with esoteric terms from engineering, thermodynamics, and architecture. Photovoltaics has its own lexicon, as does the green building certification process, weatherization, and others.
Then there are the acronyms and ever-changing slang terms for every branch of the green economy – confused?
Research is the first step in any job quest; learning the lingo has always been a key to career success.
However, inappropriately throwing around newly-acquired catch phrases at a conference is a perfect way to be labeled a neophyte.
If you’re rebranding yourself to enter the green job market, learn some general terms used in the broad green arena, and study acronyms that are relevant to the focus of your job search. Then, start listening carefully to the experts in your particular field of interest; see how they integrate ‘insider’ terms into their speeches, blogs, written articles and tweets.
Blogs and associations’ online forums, as well as conferences and trade shows, are ideal places to pick up subtle mentions of buzzwords and hot issues that can help you better comprehend the state of the art.
Check out the Beginner's Glossary of Green Industry Terms for a compendium of terms that are basic in the green world.
Below is an introductory list of some popular acronyms.
Alphabet Soup of Acronyms:
ANWR: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
BIPV: Building-integrated Photovoltaics
CO: Carbon monoxide
DOE: U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. Federal Government)
EIA: Energy Information Administration (U.S. Federal Government)
FERC: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (U.S. Federal Government)
GW: Gigawatt (1,000,000,000 watts)
IEA: International Energy Agency
KWh: Kilowatt hour - 1000 watts applied for one hour or 1 watt applied for 1000 hours
LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. A leading certification process by the U.S. Green Building Council that evaluates new buildings constructed to common green standards.
LEV: Low-emission vehicle
MW: Megawatt (1,000,000 watts)
PPM: Parts per million
REC: Renewable Energy Credit
VOC: Volatile organic compounds. Toxins commonly found in conventional paints, sealers, and finishes.
ZEV: Zero-emission vehicle
© Copyright, 2009, Kathleen Lyons. Job-Hunt's Green Jobs Job Search expert, Kathleen Lyons, is a workforce training and performance support specialist. She believes that the emerging green economy offers huge opportunities for both white- and blue-collar job seekers to find satisfying and meaningful work. Kathleen holds membership in the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), Co-op America, The International EcoTourism Club and the Cape & Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative.