Thermal Loads are the amount of heat energy required to add or remove from a space in order to maintain a desired room temperature. The Heating Load would be the amount of heat energy added, and Cooling Load the amount of heat energy removed. Since thermal loads are the primary cost for most building type, engineers can use them to calculate operational costs.

Maintaining lower thermal loads are imperative to a high performance building. Higher thermal loads are attributed to the high energy usage required to regulate them, as well to the heating and cooling requirements handled by heavy use air-conditioning systems. High thermal loads are also results project's climate zones; irregular or extreme temperatures on the outside make it make to keep temperatures acceptable inside. 

Thermal mass also greatly impacts thermal load, as a poorly insulated wall assemblies, thermal bridging around windows, or other infiltration issues with floors, ceilings, and roofs require more active strategies to regulate temperature. 

Combat high thermal loads in the early design phases by revisiting shading strategies, passive strategies, facade materials and thermal mass.

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