IF YOU’VE EVER been in a root cellar, you probably thought it was pretty cool. That’s because root cellars are nature’s refrigerators. They’re essentially holes dug into the ground and used year-round to store vegetables and dry goods. Its a cool, dry cool environment that won’t freeze in the winter or get too humid in the summer.
While root cellars have mostly gone the way of the ice box, one Dutch designer is bringing them back in style with Groundfridge, a pre-fab structure made to fit in your Hobbit hole. Like the root cellars of yore, the Groundfridge stores food items at a constant, cool temperature throughout the year.
Although the Groundfridge doesn’t require electricity, it costs almost $10,000, you’ll need somewhere to bury it, and something to dig the hole. It’s a spherical structure six and a half feet wide, giving it the volume of a large closet. That’s enough to stash 20 refrigerators worth a food (or a whole lot of wine).
Designer Floris Schoonderbeek says the idea came to him about four years ago when he noticed an uptick in urban and communal farming. Most refrigerators are designed for storing food on an as-needed basis (or stashing takeout leftovers), not storing the bounty of your garden. He wanted to create something that would complement the trend toward local, sustainable, self-raised food.
Like a traditional root cellar, Groundfridge stays between 50-54 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, so it’s perfect for storing fruit, vegetables, cheese, and (of course!) wine. But unlike a traditional root cellar, it’s totally prefab, with stairs and shelving installed. All you have to do is dig a big hole.
Still, with the Groundfridge, there’s no thinking about power, drainage, or digging into a hill. It’s watertight, and has just the right amount of air circulation to help keep the temperature steady. It’s made of extremely thin fiberglass (like three millimeters thin), so it uses the coolness of the ground in which its buried to maintain temperature stability.
Ready to go underground for your midnight snacks? Schoonderbeek says people have already started installing and using the underground pantry in Belgium and the Netherlands. His team hopes to start shipping Groundfridges to the US by the end of this year.
source: wired.com by APRIL GLASER