Acronyms: In the Automobile and Building Industry (with John)

Vince, Tommy, Mick and Nikki stand around the water cooler to have a real guy’s moment. They are talking about cars. Tommy quips, “Dude, my new car has MPFI which makes having ABS and SRS super critical.” Vince replies, “Sweet, my new ride has DOHCs which helps increase my MPG and MPH.” Nikki pops in with, “Well my current ride has VVT AND 4WD!” Not to be outdone, Nick retorts. “Oh yeah, my car has both PDDK and PDAS. “Wow!” the other three proclaim in unison. They were able to get all this car talk in during their short break, but only due to their heavy use of acronyms. The automobile industry has been using these for many, many years. What were they really talking about, you might ask? Here it is:

MPFI – multi-port fuel injection
ABS – antilock brake system
SRS – supplemental restraint system (air bags)
DOHC – Dual Overhead Camshafts
MPG – Miles Per Gallon
MPH – Miles Per Hour
VVT – variable valve timing
4WD – Four-Wheel Drive
PDDK – Porsche doppelkupplung (automatic double clutch transmission)
PDAS – Porsche Dynamic All Wheel Drive Control

In an attempt to make life easier (I assume), the building industry has also joined in using a fair amount of acronyms. Some of the popular current ones are:

SIP – structural insulated panel.

These are commonly made of two layers of plywood sandwiched around a foam core. They can be used for many different applications, such as exterior wall, roof, floor and foundation systems.

ICF – insulated concrete form.

These forms are interlocking modular units (think Legos) that are dry-stacked (without mortar) and filled with concrete. They serve to create a form for the structural walls or floors of a building.

TJI – Truss Joist I-joint.

Has become the “Kleenex” of engineered wooden I-joists.

GLB – glued laminated beam.

By laminating several smaller pieces of timber, a single large, strong, structural member is manufactured from smaller pieces.

OSB – Oriented strand board.

Named so by being formed by layering strands (flakes) of wood in specific orientations.

MDF – medium density fiberboard.

A type of particle board made of small particles of wood (sawdust).

PEX – polyethylene cross-linked.

PEX Tubing is widely used to replace copper in plumbing applications.

VOC – volatile organic compounds.

These are organic chemical compounds which have significant vapor pressures and which can affect the environment and human health.

HVAC – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

This refers to the technology of indoor environmental comfort.

ABS – acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene.

A common thermoplastic used to make light, rigid, molded products such as piping.

LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

An internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

PVC – polyvinyl carbonate.

PVC is widely used in construction because it is cheap, durable, and easy to assemble.

NFRC – National Fenestration Rating Council.

A non-profit organization that provides performance ratings on windows, doors, and skylights.

IBC – International Building Code.

A model building code developed by the International Code Council which has been adopted throughout most of the United States.

CFL – compact fluorescent lamp.

Composed of a gas-filled tube and a magnetic or electronic ballast, CFLs use less power and have a longer rated life than incandescent bulbs.

FSC – Forest Stewardship Council.

An international non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, independent certification and labeling of forest products.

SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

A ratio used to rate the efficiency of air conditioners. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is.

Now that you are up-to-speed on the acronym name-game, the million dollar question is what do Vince, Tommy, Mick and Nikki have in common? Hint: Acronym would be a good band name.