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EEEJ Glossary

The EEEJ glossary is a list of commonly used environmental justice terminology and associated definitions. This list was created with the intention of making discussions about energy codes more accessible. As our conversations expand, the EEEJ glossary will grow to represent those changes. You can also view the full Title 24 Glossary of Terms.

Capacity Building
Activities such as training, workshops, resources, and other strategies that can assist the public (especially under-served and under-represented community members), so that they are able to participate in a public decision-making process in a meaningful way. Capacity building is important for making decisions that can improve the health and wellbeing of communities in need (National Council of Nonprofits 2023).
Community Based Organizations (CBO)
Public or private nonprofit organization of demonstrated effectiveness that— (A) is representative of a community or significant segments of a community; and (B) provides educational or related services to individuals in the community.
Decision-making Process
The processes where institutions, governments, and companies make decisions that affect the environment. These decisions can be in public policy, urban planning, local government, and many other forms. It is “by strengthening community capacity, advancing authentic participation, and building democratic power” we seek to increase impacted communities’ input in these decisions. (Freudenberg, Pastor and Israel 2010).
Disproportionately Impacted Populations (DIPs)
Similar to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) definition, DIPs refer to the populations throughout California that “most suffer from a combination of economic, health, and environmental burdens. These burdens include poverty, high unemployment, air and water pollution, presence of hazardous wastes, as well as high incidence of asthma and heart disease” (CPUC 2021). DIPs also incorporate race, class, and gender since these intersecting identity factors affect how people frame issues, interpret, and experience the world.
Energy Democracy
Energy democracy is the “notion that communities should have a say and agency in shaping and participating in their energy future” (Initiative for Energy Justice n.d.)
Energy Equity and Environmental Justice (EEEJ)
EEEJ is a broad term that combines energy equity and environmental justice into one phrase for Title 24. The CEC defines energy equity as “the quality of being fair or just in the availability and distribution of energy programs” (CEC 2018). American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) defines energy equity as that which “aims to ensure that disadvantaged communities have equal access to clean energy and are not disproportionately affected by pollution. It requires the fair and just distribution of benefits in the energy system through intentional design of systems, technology, procedures, and policies” (ACEEE n.d.). Title 7, Planning and Land Use, of the California Government Code defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races, cultures, incomes, and national origins, with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (State of California n.d.).
Energy Sovereignty
Energy sovereignty is the right of individuals, communities, and people to pursue an inclusive energy system that can create a sustainable and just energy landscape that empowers communities, protects the environment, and fosters social equity (Timmermann and Noboa 2022). In March, 2023, the California Energy Commission (CEC), “approved a resolution recognizing and committing the agency to support California tribal energy sovereignty and independence” (CEC 2023).
Frontline Communities
Communities who experience disproportionately high burdens from energy or environmental hazards, a current and/or historical lack of access to the benefits of clean energy, and underrepresentation in planning and decision-making processes. (Callahan, et al. 2021).
Heat Islands
“Heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. Urban areas, where these structures are highly concentrated and greenery is limited, become ‘islands’ of higher temperatures relative to outlying areas” (U.S. EPA 2023).
Income Inequality
The inequitable distribution of income which affects social, political, and economic power and subsequently creates inequitable systems and living conditions. In California, income inequality is growing, and is especially present within Black and Latino families (Thorman, Payares-Montoya and Herrera 2023).
Just Transition
“Maximizing the social and economic opportunities of climate action, while minimizing and carefully managing any challenges including through effective social dialogue among all groups impacted, and respect for fundamental labor principles and rights” (International Labour Organization 2023). The Just Transition in energy is an economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy. Moving to a more just and democratic energy system.
Marginalized Communities/ Populations/Peoples
Elderly; People with disabilities; Immigrant; Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC-American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Black, not of Hispanic origin; or Hispanic) ;People experiencing homelessness; Latinx ; Low- and moderate-income households; People who lack connectivity (stable internet); Young children/infants; Pregnant people; People with chronic health conditions (esp those who rely on energy for a medical device); Adults without a high school diploma/GED; Energy burdened, Linguistic isolation.
Meaningful Involvement
“Potentially affected community residents have an appropriate opportunity to participate in decisions about a proposed activity that will affect their environment and/or health; the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision; the concerns of all participants involved will be considered in the decision-making process; the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected” (U.S. EPA 2023).
Overburdened Community
BIPOC populations or geographic locations in the United States that “potentially experience disproportionate environmental harms and risks” (U.S. EPA 2023). These communities bear a greater vulnerability to environmental hazards and cumulative environmental risks.
“The ability to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to the impacts from climate change is called climate resilience” (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions 2019). Resiliency is being prepared for and adapting to severe weather, ocean warming and acidification, extended periods of drought and extreme temperatures, and other deleterious effects of climate change.
Thermal Comfort
Thermal comfort is a person’s comfort with the temperature within a building or environment. Despite the name, it not only affects comfort, but also productivity and even health and well-being, so satisfaction with the thermal environment is very important (Chow 2022).

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