• Credit: Courtesy See-ming Lee via Flickr under Creative Commons license.

What do MEC, NPP, and RTFM mean? Here's a hint: They're not texting shorthand; they're building science acronyms. Some, like NZE (or net zero energy) may be common vocabulary for some practitioners, but others such as, say, SDO (Standards Development Organization, an ANSI designation), may not be as commonly known. And then there's the challenge of subtlety. An REC, for example, or more specifically its plural form, RECs (renewable energy credits, for those of you wondering), is not the same as RECS (Residential Energy Consumption Survey). With all the jargon floating out there, it could make you think you need a PhD to keep track of it all.

Luckily, one PhD has taken the challenge on. For the past few years, energy consultant and RESET-certified trainer Allison Bailes (who has a PhD in physics) has been compiling a master list of must-know building science (aka BS) acronyms and initials that are handy for all green building practitioners to know. So far, he has compiled 153 terms and not only lists the top 50 over at Green Building Advisor, but also offers up a full downloadable list or Excel sheet. (PS: He's also categorized common HERS lingo on his site, Energy Vanguard.)

My favorite of them all? SWAG, or scientific wild-ass guess.

And speaking of linguistics, we're still keeping a running list of overused or outdated green building terms that we started at the end of last year. Add your picks to the mix here.