As utilities and energy speakers for oil, gas, and electric companies, we’re often asked to help make sense of future trends and innovations. But just as often, audiences have questions surrounding some of the most common industry terms utilized in the space – and how they can operate in a more green and eco-friendly fashion. To help make sense of the growing jumble of terms associated with the space, we’ve put together the following quick cheat sheet to common phrases. The good news: While utilities and energy speakers may tend to pepper keynote speeches with the terminology below, you don’t have to be an oil, gas, or electrical engineer to make sense of them.


Carbon Emissions – Vehicles like cars, jeeps, and trucks; aircraft such as private jets and commercial planes; and industrial structures from office buildings to factories and manufacturing plants tend to emit carbon dioxide greenhouse gas that can filter into the wild and cause negative effects on the environment. If left unchecked, these gaseous emissions (carbon emissions) can operate to our detriment.


Carbon Footprint – Think of your carbon footprint in simple terms as how much carbon dioxide that you find yourself emitting out into the environment. This is typically done by way of everyday activities like driving to work, flying around the world, or operating a piece of machinery. Your carbon footprint in many ways as a measurement that lets you see how much impact that you’re having on Earth’s atmosphere and environment – and how you can work to offset it.


Carbon Neutral – If you’re carbon neutral, you’ve effectively reduced your impact on the planet and environment (at least from a greenhouse gas emissions standpoint) to virtually nil.


Energy Efficiency – This term refers to the practice of using less energy than typical to produce similar results. It can refer to heating, cooling, and other common needs. In essence, the more energy-efficient you are, the less power you consume and lower your effects on the environment.


Global Warning – Noticed any change in the weather this year? From rising heat waves to shifting patterns in many areas of the country, much of it is happening because – due to pollution and other factors – the Earth’s temperature is warming. This global warming is negatively impacting the environment, and causing vast changes in the shape of local ecosystems. Its effects are only expected to increase in coming years.