Air-conditioning systems are undoubtedly some of the most energy-consuming techs around the house or the office. As soon as the temperature goes just that little bit above normal and the air-con is on, as if opening a window is a crime, and the electricity bill immediately jumps sky-high.
Tired of wasting energy with temperature regulating gadgets, a duo of bright minds, industrial designer Jean-Sébastien Lagrange, and engineer Raphaël Ménard, came up with the ultimate alternative to an air-con- the Zero Energy Furniture (ZEF) Climatic Table. Made of solid oak, anodized aluminum, and some phase-changing materials in between, ZEF can substantially reduce electricity usage and temperature regulating needs.
As you might have already guessed, the key to ZEF’s functionality is hidden in these phase-changing materials (PCMs). When the temperature of the room reaches 71 degrees F (22 C), the materials begin to soften and absorb all heat above that. When the temperature goes below these values, the materials harden again and release the trapped heat thanks to the anodized aluminium.
The inventors describe the ZEF table as a thermal sponge. It absorbs excess heat, and releases it back once the surrounding is cool. They claim that the table can reduce the needs of heating by up to 60% and the cooling demands by 30%. The table is especially useful in spaces where there is frequent change in temperature, or in places where air-conditioning is not available or not wanted by all users of the space (office or home).
It makes perfect sense. Every household has a table, and every household can benefit from a technology that can bring down the electricity usage. This is why other designers have also looked into giving this household necessity another purpose. You probably remember the solar table that harvests electricity and powers devices.
I hope the guys do not stop here, and do carry on with more projects of this kind. Next on their agenda- new-generation lighting designs.
Image (c) Colombe Clier, VIA 2015