Thermal loads are the amount of energy needed to be added or removed from a space by the HVAC system to keep occupants comfortable. Right-sizing the HVAC system requires understanding the heating and cooling loads within the space. High performance buildings seek to reduce these loads as much as possible, and meet these loads as efficiently as possible.
Knowing how to measure energy use in buildings will help you set better energy efficiency goals. Energy Use Intensity (EUI) normalizes energy use by floor area and is useful for targets and benchmarks. But, when it comes to environmental impacts, you need to look upstream at “source energy.” Also, when it comes to energy efficiency measures, you need to know what end-uses take the most energy.
Energy loads are how much energy your building needs. These demands can be provided by electricity, fuel, or by passive means. Thermal heating and cooling loads are also important concepts that drive how much energy the building’s HVAC system will use.