Whether you live in a desert climate or the tropics, air conditioning has made it possible to thrive almost anywhere in the world, regardless of the heat. However, this cool technology is not always the most energy-efficient option. Air conditioners are responsible for using 5 percent of all the electricity generated within the United States, which totals $11 billion per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s a lot of juice.
High-efficiency air conditioners, on the other hand, can reduce energy use by up to 50 percent. So, keeping sustainability in mind, two Paris-based designers have created a viable solution in the form of a table, according to Dezeen. The first design in the pair’s Zero Energy Furniture line, the designers presented it at Milan Design Week.
The ZEF Climatic Table is the creation of Raphaël Ménard and Jean-Sébastien Lagrange. If you walked by it, you’d likely think it’s just an average dining table, but perhaps that’s the magic of it. With its sleek oak exterior, the table can seamlessly fit into any space. Once the temperature in your room hits 71 degrees Fahrenheit, the product goes into action.
Under a layer of corrugated aluminum, the table houses a special phase-changing material wax that softens at 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches this temperature, it starts to absorb the heat within the room. Essentially, the table takes all of the excess warmth and acts as a separate cooling device. Once the room temperature dips below 71 degrees Fahrenheit, the phase-changing material solidifies and begins to emit the heat it was withholding.
Lagrange and Ménard claim that the table can reduce air conditioning energy consumption by 30 percent. However, they acknowledge that unless the ZEF Climatic Table is in a space with fluctuating temperatures, it may not do much good.
Phase-changing materials have been known for their storage of energy for years; Lagrange and Ménard know that they aren’t necessarily tapping into a unique concept. Regardless, they intend to move forward with the design and selling of the product later in 2015.