Get to Know Our Industry Terms

A Handy List of Energy Management Industry Terms, Part 1

Based on questions we receive and conversations we have with customers, we’ve compiled a handy list of industry terms. In this post, we present:

  • Networking Terms
  • Technology Terms
  • Industry Integration Terms
  • The EMS Proposal Process Terms
  • HVAC Terms

Next month, in Part 2, we’ll present Communication Protocol Terms.

Networking Terms


Acronym for “Intermediate Distribution Frame” (IDF closet-racks)

IP Address

In general, an IP address is assigned to every device on an Ethernet network. Like the street address for your home, an IP address identifies network computers. At Telkonet, IP addresses are used on wired ethernet networks and Wi-Fi networks.


MAC Address

Short for “Media Access Control” Address; it has nothing to do with Apple Mac computers. There are millions of networkable devices in existence worldwide, and each device needs a unique MAC address.  It is a hardware identification number that uniquely identifies each device on a network. 


Acronym for “Main Distribution Frame” (MDF Closet – Racks). Typically, an MDF is a closet that houses a site’s network servers and other network appliances.


In an EMS networked property, devices operate as part of an energy savings network, or “platform”; a main site that connects all applicable equipment together.


In a non-networked property, smart devices do not operate on an EMS platform; each room is stand-alone and operates independently of the other rooms.

Technology Terms


Software that is loaded on a hardware device for low-level control of that device. Examples include washing machines, traffic lights, and even energy management in-room controllers.


Acronym for  “Internet of Things”.


Acronym for “Over The Air”. Sometimes firmware is loaded and/or updated on devices using a process of sending en masse over a wireless connection to such devices.


Acronym for Personal Area Network. A Zigbee PAN is made up of a Zigbee Controller (the NT8000 Gateway in Telkonet’s platforms) with multiple routers in a mesh network.


Acronym for “Passive Infrared” sensor; a PIR sensor that detects motion and heat. All Telkonet occupancy sensors sense occupancy using PIR.


Along with Tera Term, is an open-source free software tool we use to make high-level configuration changes.

Industry Integration Terms


A communication protocol that can be used to interface EcoCentral or the new Rhapsody platform with a building management system (boiler & chiller). BACnet allows intelligent systems from various industries and manufacturers to exchange data such as temperatures, setpoints, schedules, trend logs, and alarms, and coordinate equipment operation to achieve optimum building performance.


Acronym for “Property Management System“; software used by hotels for administrative tasks such as checking guests in and out, reporting, etc.; energy management systems can integrate with PMS systems to better communicate room status changes when guest events occur, such as a check-in/check-out. When events are transmitted to the platform, the EMS software can change the state of the room status (sold/unsold) for example.

The EMS Proposal Process-Terms


Formal document used to provide a customer a detailed cost when labor is included in the project.


Acronym for “Quick Savings Analysis”; a QSA report demonstrates what Telkonet can potentially provide in energy savings. Telkonet creates the report from typical energy costs based on the customer equipment type, the ratings on the makes and models of equipment at the property, and real info pulled in from local weather stations, thereby proposing estimated savings for their property with our equipment.


Site Survey

Detailed report of site conditions used in the process of developing a proposal and scope of work.

HVAC Terms


Acronym for “fan coil unit“.

IR Emitter

Small, wired transmitter for repeating an infrared signal from your remote to an isolated piece of A/V equipment.


Acronym for “Low Voltage Whip”.


Heating and cooling systems that allow occupants to control the temperature in individual rooms or spaces. A mini-split system is a packaged system that includes the condensing unit (outdoor unit) and the evaporator (indoor unit).


Plenum-rated cable has a special insulation that has low smoke and low flame characteristics. Used in any air handling spaces.


Acronym for “Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner“; is a common, self-contained type of HVAC unit used mostly to heat or cool a single living space (e.g. hotels, student housing, etc.) using only electricity.


Acronym for Variable Refrigerant Flow. VRF is a ductless HVAC system that can heat and cool buildings simultaneously. The condensing unit is typically on the roof, and refrigerant pipes run through the building. Popular in Europe for decades, VRF technology has been gaining popularity in the U.S. 

If you’re ready to discuss your next EMS project, we’d love to talk with you. Get in touch with us. Email  or call us at 800-703-9398.