Much like the proverbial wheel, it’s virtually impossible to reinvent the table.
This piece of furniture, which has served us for thousands of years, is so useful because of its simplicity. When you think about it, a table is just a flat surface and four legs.
Yet one French duo recently did the unthinkable, reinventing the table by turning it into a zero-electricity climate control solution for the home. It’s a table that could cut your energy costs by an astonishing 60%.
According to a May 19 Business Insider article, Paris-based industrial designer Jean-Sébastien Lagrange teamed up with French engineer Raphaël Ménard to design the Zero Energy Furniture Climatic Table, or the ZEF Climatic Table, as a way to address climate change and the energy crisis.
“We wanted to see if it was possible to address climate and energy issues on a furniture scale,” Lagrange explained.
Currently, two out of three American households are equipped with an air conditioning system. These air conditioners are notorious energy consumers, costing Americans $11 billion each year and spewing out greenhouse gases that are thousands of times more powerful at trapping heat within the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
To combat these pressing problems, the ZEF Climatic Table — which, with its solid oak top and four legs, looks just like any other table — absorbs and stores excess heat, and releases this heat when the room gets cold. The table requires no electricity to do this.
Phase-changing materials (PCMs) placed between the table’s solid oak top and anodized aluminum bottom essentially absorb excess heat like a sponge. When the room reaches 71 degrees Fahrenheit, the table’s PCMs will soften to take in any excess heat. When the temperature falls, these PCMs harden and contract, releasing the heat stored within.
Lagrange and Ménard explained that this table is most useful for households in climates where the temperature changes drastically in short spans of time. When the nighttime temperature is much cooler than the daytime temperature, the ZEF Climatic Table is able to work best and make indoor climate consistent.
The two plan to design and produce even more Zero Energy Furniture in the future, Business Insider reports, meaning you might soon be saving hundreds of dollars every year in heating and cooling costs.