Honda launches energy-efficient 'Smart Home' concept

Honda has launched the Honda Smart Home US, a sustainable housing project exploring the concept of zero net energy living and transportation.

Situated on the University of California, Davis campus, the self-sufficient home produces more renewable energy than it consumes and is three times more water-efficient than the typical US residence.

The home will function as a ‘living laboratory', where the company, along with researchers from UC Davis and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), will evaluate new technologies relating to housing, transportation, energy and the environment.

"With the Honda Smart Home, we've developed technologies and design solutions to address two primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions -- homes and cars," said Steve Center, Vice President of the Environmental Business Development Office of American Honda Motor Co. Inc. "Ultimately, our goal is to contribute to the public dialogue about addressing CO2 emissions."

The building features a 10kWh battery energy storage system in the garage, which allows stored solar energy to be used at night. There is also a 9.5kW solar photovoltaic roof system which generates energy for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, hot water and appliances.

The Honda Fit EV vehicle included with the home has been modified to accept DC power directly from the home's solar panels or stationary battery. When the solar panels are generating electricity at full capacity, the vehicle can fully recharge in approximately two hours directly from sunlight.

Eight 20-foot deep boreholes in the back yard allow a geothermal heat pump to harness the ground's thermal sink to heat and cool the floors and ceiling throughout the year and the LED lighting used throughout the home is not only five times more energy-efficient than conventional lighting.

‘Passive design' features allow the home to take into account local weather conditions such as sun direction, reducing the energy needed for heating and cooling while maintaining comfortable living conditions. A huge 96 percent of the construction waste associated with the project, including drywall, brick, plastics and lumber, was recycled.

The project was designed with California's Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, which aims for all new homes to be zero net energy beginning in 2020, in mind.

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