Could The Furniture Of The Future Also Control Temperature?
Designer Jean-Sebastien Lagrange and engineer Raphael Menard are developing a line of furniture that can soak up excess heat to help cool a room down and then releases that heat when the room cools. It has the potential to play a role in reducing reliance on expensive and energy air conditioning systems. The first piece of their “Zero Energy Furniture” is a conference room table.
Underneath an oak tabletop, a mix of materials are combined to form a thermal sponge. A waxy material softens soaking up heat when the temperature exceeds around 22 degrees celsius, when the temperature drops, the material then hardens releasing the stored heat back into the room.
According to Menard and Lagrange, there is a measurable and significant impact on the room’s temperature.
For the system to work most effectively, a level of temperature fluctuation is needed, but initial tests have suggested a 30 per cent energy saving in air conditioning costs when these tables are implemented.
The concept is particularly interesting in relation to the circular economy for a couple of reasons. While the transition to renewable energy is a crucial factor in reducing the global economy’s reliance on finite fossil fuels, there’s also a lot to be gained from optimising energy systems and from designing buildings with effective heat, lighting and energy in mind. It also obviously has the potential to provide businesses and homeowners with a more cost effective option for regulating conditions in their buildings.
Utilising materials in construction, and in household items, that provide temperature control without the energy intensity of AC systems could be a part of the future of design.
Lead image licensed under CC – credit Flickr user: fdecomite