Is heating/cooling your home too expensive? Are you regretting that “open floor plan” home layout? These eco-friendly “vacuum cubes” can save the day!


Back in the days when fireplaces were a common method of heating a home, houses typically consisted of a number of smaller rooms with doors between them. However, modern homes tend to have open floor plans with large rooms that cannot be sealed off by doors.

The Issue:

In the open-floor-plan home-design world, heating and cooling a home requires changing the temperature of a large volume of space (Fig. 1). This can be unnecessarily expensive.

Fig. 1: In this large room, hot air comes out of the vents on the left side. Unfortunately, the areas away from the vents (right side) tend to remain cold. Even if these areas eventually warm up, it 1) takes a long time and 2) is more expensive than heating up a smaller room would have been.


We can fix this “room is too large to heat/cool” problem without requiring architectural changes. Instead, the homeowner just buys a few enormous plastic cubes with a near-vacuum inside and places these in their house (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: This enormous cube (right) has a near-vacuum inside. As a result, there’s no material to heat or cool: it’s just a “free” space where the temperature is identical to its surroundings. As a bonus, the vacuum is a great insulator!

Thanks to these “vacuum cubes,” a homeowner can heat a cavernous mansion for the same cost as heating a tiny cottage (Fig. 3)!

Fig. 3: Compare the regular room (left) with the “vacuum cube”–enhanced room (right). The normal room requires its entire volume to be heated (A), while the cube room can focus on heating the useful area (B) and leave the uninhabited space (C) at a cool temperature.


This is a highly practical and eco-friendly addition to any modern home. Plus, if you don’t need these cubes year-round, you can just collapse them and store them in a closet or something!

PROS: Extremely eco-friendly solution to expensive heating and cooling woes.

CONS: The cube would need to be a strong material in order to resist being crushed by atmospheric pressure, so these might be impractically heavy. Maybe an air-only inflatable version would work.