Acronym for British thermal unit, which is a measure of the capacity of a heating or cooling system; the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water through a change of 1 degree.
The British thermal unit (Btu or BTU) is a traditional unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is part of the United States customary units. Its counterpart in the metric system is the calorie, which is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Heat is now known to be equivalent to energy, for which the SI unit is the joule; one BTU is about 1055 joules. While units of heat are often supplanted by energy units in scientific work, they are still important in many fields. As examples, in the United States the price of natural gas is quoted in dollars per million BTUs.