Subject Index - Government Terms
As a leading, respected national laboratory, NREL must ensure that all of its publications and content are accessible to all people. Specifically, we must ensure that everything is “508 compliant.”
What It Means
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1972 to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. For example, individuals using assistive technology (such as JAWS, a computer screen reader program) can read a document that is 508 compliant.
What It Involves
All graphs, graphics, animations, fact sheets, and so on must be accessible. Further, videos, animations, and audio files must be 508 compliant. These media types require text versions.
Working with a communications representative will ensure that your content goes through the proper process and is 508 compliant before publishing.
**Don’t Forget To Add Alt Text!**
A key part of ensuring 508 compliance involves adding alt text for every figure and photo in technical reports, fact sheets, articles, web pages, social media, and so on. Alt text provides a semantic meaning or description of the image. It can also be read by search engines.
Keep It Simple
Imagine if, instead of reading a document, you had to listen to it being read to you. By keeping this in mind, you can write alt text that is clear and descriptive. To help, see the following examples of alt text—one for a photo and one for an illustration. For more complicated figures or graphs, try to provide a high-level overview of what is being shown (versus describing every detail).
Alt text: Eagle flying out of a cage with wind turbines in the background.
Alt text: Illustration of spar-buoy, barge, and tension-line floating offshore wind turbines in the ocean, with foundations anchoring them to the seabed.
For more information on accessibility and alt text, please review NREL’s Communication Standards.
The Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, equally owned and governed by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle, is the manager and operator of NREL (effective Oct. 1, 2008).
The appropriate term on second and subsequent references is "Alliance" as opposed to the acronym "ASE." Because many companies and groups have ASE as their acronym, this usage will help distinguish the Alliance. Also, because it is used as a proper second reference and not a generic term, the Alliance will remain capitalized for that usage.
After spelling out the full name on first reference, you may use "Recovery Act" in subsequent references instead of the acronym "ARRA." But when using "Recovery Act," do not identify it in parentheses after the full name like you would with the acronym.
Capitalize "U.S. Congress" and "Congress" when referring to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Lowercase "congressional" unless it is part of a proper name.
Use lowercase for "cooperative research and development agreement" because it's not a proper noun. On second reference, you can use the acronym "CRADA."
ENERGY STAR is always in capitals. Use ENERGY STAR® the first time it is used on a page; thereafter, use ENERGY STAR. The ® should be superscript, and there's no space between the ® and ENERGY STAR.
Use a capital letter with "federal" for corporate or governmental bodies that use the word as part of their formal names.
Use lowercase when the word is used to distinguish something from state, county, city, etc. entities.
When used as a noun, “net zero” is two words. It is also two words when referencing the Net Zero Labs program. Hyphenate “net-zero” when it is used as a modifier.
We are close to achieving our emissions goal of net zero.
The goal is to achieve net-zero emissions.
The NREL attribution statement, which recognizes NREL's affiliation with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, is required on all NREL publications. In addition, note that a period is used on the "sentence" version of the statement.
Don't capitalize "renewable energy certificate." It's not a proper noun. Also, this is the term preferred over "renewable energy credit" or "green tags."
Only capitalize "renewable portfolio standard" when a state name precedes it.
Use "Research Support Facility" (RSF), regardless of which phase or wing is cited.
Capitalize "state implementation plan" only when a state or organization name precedes it.
Trademark notice symbols (® or ™) are to be used for the Alliance-owned trademarks listed below. Trademark notice symbols should be used on the first reference in body copy only. Preferred capitalization is as listed.
Do not use trademark notice symbols with third-party products or services.
Alliance-owned registered trademarks include:
- Alliance for Sustainable Energy®
- Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC® (logo/design mark)
- Colorado Center for Renewable Energy Economic Development® (logo/design mark)
- iiESI International Institute for Energy Systems Integration® (logo/design mark)
- INNOVATION® (logo/design mark)
- JISEA Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis® (logo/design mark)
- REopt Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization® (logo/design mark)
- REopt Lite®
- REopt Lite® (logo/design mark)
The Alliance also has authorization from the Department of Energy to assert trademark rights to each name and tagline listed below. Preferred capitalization is as listed. The TM trademark notice symbol should be used instead of the ® trademark registration notice symbol.
- BOTTLE™ and CHANGING THE WAY WE RECYCLE™
- Building Agent™
- Distant Observer™
- New Iglu™
- Open OA™
- SPA™ (Solar Position Algorithm)
- Technology Performance Exchange™
Following is a list of expired and/or abandoned trademarks that no longer use ™ or ® notice symbols.
- ADVISOR 2002
- INNOVATION SPECTRUM
- SROPTTC and BEPTC
Following is a list of commonly used government-owned trademarks that should use the trademark notice symbols. This list is for reference and is not intended to be all-inclusive.
- EnergyPlus® (word and design/logo registered trademarks)
- Home Energy Score™
- HydroGEN Advancing Water Splitting Materials™
- RACE TO ZERO™
- RAPID TOOLKIT®
- Solar Decathlon®
- ENERGY STAR®
This is the preferred term for printed and outreach materials. When spelling it out, "U.S." should precede "Department of Energy" to distinguish it from other state and international departments. However, "U.S." should not be included with the acronym "DOE." Do not include "the" before "DOE."
On first reference, "Energy Department" may be used in communications to the press.
If the possessive is used with the term, the apostrophe should go after "U.S. Department of Energy" and with the "DOE" acronym as well. However, if you can write it in a way that avoids use of the possessive, that is preferred.
Note that for EERE publications, this guidance differs slightly. The EERE Style Guide requests that when introducing the DOE acronym after the spelled-out form of Department of Energy as a possessive, the apostrophe s should be dropped from the acronym in parentheses.
Use lowercase for "work-for-others agreement" because it's not a proper noun. The acronym "WFO" refers only to work for others; therefore, when using the acronym, "WFO agreement" is correct.