Honda Launches Net-Zero Smart Home Project

“Together, our homes and our cars produce about 44 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change,” reminds Honda VP of environmental business development Steve Center, in the video overview for its intriguing Smart Home project, which opened this week on the University of California, Davis campus.

Honda’s master plan is to slash that pollution by running on sunshine.

Whether the plan works or not depends on the U.C. Davis resident lucky enough to shack up in Honda’s “living laboratory” and put its zero-net goals to the test. Empowered by a 9.5 kw photovoltaic system feeding a 10kWh lithium-ion storage battery, which plugs into its complementary direct-current Fit EV, Honda’s net-zero energy Smart Home is a symbiotic experiment in green living — and driving. That may seem strange in Davis, nationally lauded for its bicycling ethos and politics, but U.C. Davis’ West Village is a zero-net paragon.

“What sets Honda Smart Home apart is that it integrates transportation into the home in a very sophisticated manner, while maintaining zero net energy performance,” Honda spokesperson Matt Sloustcher told SolarEnergy, after returning from a walk-through. “We will use the home as a living lab to evaluate new technologies and business opportunities at the intersection of transportation, energy and the environment.”

Honda claims the Smart Home/Fit EV team-up chops 11 tons of C02 emissions annually, and easily leapfrogs California’s zero-net residential construction goals, residing in faraway 2025. Its user-friendly digital home management system smooths the transition to clean(er) living by modulating consumption, especially during peak demand, while the Smart Home overall reportedly consumes less than half the juice of a “similarly sized home in the Davis area.” Checking that pleasing math will be its live-in resident, of course, as well as visiting researchers from U.C. Davis and Northern California’s utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).

There are other bells and whistles, including a subterranean geothermal pump, carbon-reducing pozzolan in its concrete, LED lighting, passive design and more, although it has yet to nail down an Energy Star or LEED rating. But the realistic test of any optimistic Smart Home is how close it is to market, and how much it will cost homebuyers. SolarEnergy has queried Honda about these major sticking points, and will report back any update. Until then, cross your fingers for a zero-net present instead of a future.

This article appeared at Solar Energy