As we all know energy issues are bothering the whole world these days. Are your electricity bills hitting the roof? We’re sure they are. What if we were to tell you that there’s a way to save up to 60% of the energy? It seems like an impossible thing, but designers Raphael Menard and Jean-Sebastien Lagrange have created the Zero Energy Wax Table. This table absorbs and releases thermal energy depending on the temperature of the room.
This table is the first design in Menard and Lagrange’s Zero Energy Furniture range, with a solid oak top, corrugated anodised aluminium underside and oak trellis style legs. From the top, the table looks fairly ordinary, but when the room around it heats up, the table automatically starts to cool the air. When it gets cold, the table warms things back up. It is designed to absorb excess heat when the temperature in the room exceeds 22 degrees Celsius. It also releases the heat back into the space when the temperature drops below 22 degrees, working like thermostat controlled heating. Its makers claim the design could cut energy bills by 60%.
Phase Change Material (PCM) wax located between the wooden surface and the aluminum underside melts at 22 degrees. As the temperature drops, the wax solidifies and releases the heat back into the room. Aluminum is a good thermal conductor and its corrugated form increases its surface area, encouraging thermal exchange between the room and the PCM material inside.
“The idea was to use this folded aluminum sheet for its conductivity as well as for its structural property,” said the designer. “That’s why we wanted to have a simple work surface supported by two trestle legs. Thanks to the stiffness of the panel we can have an important width between the bearing points.” The solid oak used for the tabletop was chose for both its aesthetic and its thermal properties. “It is a good insulating material, so the thermic exchange is efficient on the side of the aluminum structure – and it is more comfortable when you sit at the table,” said Lagrange. “This technology could be very efficient in open-plan working spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, as well as restaurants, so we would like to make some variations which could be adapted to such contexts,” Lagrange said.
The prototype was on display at Milan Design Week, and the designers hope to eventually bring it to offices, classrooms, restaurants, and hospitals, making shelves and other storage furniture.