As a huge swath of the country suffers though the first legitimately dreadful cold snap of the winter, many of us have begrudgingly brought out the big guns — our space heaters — from storage.

I’ve actually had my space heaters (a Dyson Hot and two smaller tabletop models) in operation for a few weeks now as I’m a staunch practitioner of zone heating — heating individual rooms rather than cranking up the thermostat and heating the entirety of my (incredibly drafty) rental apartment on the Brooklyn waterfront. Having just received the first cringe-worthy gas bill of the season, I’m anticipating that my trio of trusty room-warmers will be seeing even more action over the next couple of months.

While relying on electric space heaters (and a hoodie) in lieu of creaky, gas-powered baseboard heating is the most efficient and cost-effective way for me to keep comfortable during the frigid months, it’s not ideal.

This is why a joyously low-tech space heating solution named the Egloo has caught my attention. And it has apparently caught the attention of tons of other folks. The simple terra-cotta device that uses a quartet of candles as a heat source has been blowing up on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, raising well over $100,000 with a whopping 21 days in the campaign left to go. The project's initial crowdfunding goal was $30,000. Hugely impressive stuff.

Handmade in Italy, the same country that brought us the candle-powered Bluetooth speaker, Egloo is the creation of Marco Zagaria, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

Designed to generate "cheaper and more ecological energy," Zagaria claims that using his mini space-heater costs only 10 cents a day — the cost of the candles, basically. Developed using both 3D printing technology and traditional Italian ceramic craftsmanship, the Egloo itself, in unadorned terra-cotta, will set you back $60. Colored models — choose from black, red, blue or beige — are $80. Gorgeous glazing is available for $10 more. In addition to the heater itself, each Egloo comes with two candle refills. After those run out, it appears that any sort of unscented tea light candle will do the trick.

Resembling more of a glowing cheeseburger or an oversized, hotel-style call bell than the dome-shaped snow shelter that inspired its name, Egloo consists of four main components: two terra-cotta domes that fit inside each other, a terra-cotta base for arranging the four candles and a grill that fits over the base.

The Egloo Indiegogo campaign page explains the basics:

Once you light it up, Egloo needs 5 minutes to get to the right temperature. Once the candles are lighted up, they will warm up before the thinner chamber storing a high rate of heat (between 140° and 180° degrees). The warmth is then conveyed to the external covering (between 30° and 50° degrees).

The air intake of the external dome facilitate the outgoing of the warm air stored between the covers, allowing thermal exchange with the room environment.

After only 30 minutes the temperature of the environment surrounding the Egloo will be increased between 2° and 3° degrees.

The small amount of heat that's gradually released through the hole in the top of the Egloo isn’t enough to heat a large area. But one of these thoughtfully designed beauties perched on a desk or an end table can warm up a small area (a room measuring 65-square-feet or smaller, ideally) quite nicely, perhaps enough to give the electric space heater a break for a few hours or dial back the thermostat just a bit.

As shown in the project's promo video, the Egloo, combined with dimmed lights and a couple glasses of vino, lends itself well to a canoodling session on the couch and can also be used as a kind of makeshift potpourri burner, a tabletop statement piece-cum-hand warmer or a nail polish-dryer among other things. Plus, it's great for al fresco dinner parties and during storms and in emergency situations when the power goes out and candles are needed to provide both light and a temporary heat source. However, much like electric space heaters, the Egloo needs to be watched like a hawk, particularly when there are curious kiddos and swipe-happy kitties in the house.

Pre-orders of the Egloo are expected to ship in March. Get yours while they're still hot.

Via [CoExist]

Related on MNN:

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Cozy up to a terra-cotta space heater powered by candles
A runaway crowdsourcing success, the Egloo is an unfussy alternative to electric space heaters.