Scientists at Nottingham Trent University say they have developed a new material which could reduce energy consumption by up to 35%.
The "phase change material" has special properties that can store and emit heat and cold.
The technology could allow human organs and vaccines to be transported without the need for a fridge.
Dr Jo Darkwa, head of the research team, said it could help to sustain an energy-efficient environment.
"This research is vital as the building sector alone is responsible for about 50% of the UK's energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, " he said.
Other possible uses for the material include keeping takeaway food warm and preventing circuit boards in televisions and computers from over-heating.
The research was carried out with the help of a £130,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.