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What Is Thermal Load?

Updated: Jan 3

The summer sun might have you thinking about heat more than usual. With long days of sunshine comes an increased thermal load, making your HVACR system work harder to stay cooler. But what is thermal load exactly? Our experts have you covered!

Sun shining on metal roofs next to a factory and palm tress

Thermal load refers to the amount of heat energy added to or removed from a system or object. It is a measure of the heat exchange occurring within a given system. The term is often used in various contexts, such as engineering, physics, and environmental science, to describe the heat-related effects on objects, systems, or environments.

Thermal load can be categorized into two main types:

  • Heat Addition (Positive Thermal Load): This occurs when heat is added to a system, increasing its temperature. For instance, when you heat water on a stove, the thermal load on the water increases as heat is transferred from the stove to the water. This concept is important in designing heating systems, industrial processes, and electronics cooling systems.

  • Heat Removal (Negative Thermal Load): This happens when heat is removed from a system, causing its temperature to decrease. An example of this is the operation of a refrigerator, where the thermal load is the heat extracted from the fridge's interior to keep its contents cold.

In many engineering applications, like HVACR, it's crucial to understand and manage thermal loads. If a system experiences excessive thermal load without adequate cooling, the system could experience overheating and potential damage. On the other hand, generating a specific amount of thermal load is desirable in some cases, such as in processes that require controlled heating or cooling for efficient operation.


Managing thermal load involves considerations such as the object's material properties, the heat transfer rate, the surrounding environment, and the available cooling mechanisms. It's crucial to balance the heat input and output to maintain the desired temperature and prevent adverse effects.


Energy Performance Solutions utilizes ThermalBlock, a thermal radiant barrier developed by Coat Zone, to reduce the thermal load experienced by HVACR systems. By coating rooftops and/or rooftop air-handler cabinets, this innovative coating repels the sun's radiant energy, dramatically lowers the roof, attic, and cabinet interior temperature, and decreases the heat-island effect of dark roofs.

Our team is here to provide solutions for your HVACR needs. Reach out today for a more energy-efficient tomorrow.


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