In March 2014, American Honda unveiled Honda Smart Home US, located on the West Village campus of the University of California, Davis. The energy efficient home is capable of producing enough electricity on-site from renewable sources annually to meet all its electricity needs, including enough energy to power a Honda Fit EV for daily commuting.
Electricity generated from a 9.5kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array mounted on the roof is intelligently distributed throughout the home’s microgrid by Honda's home energy management system (HEMS). Honda’s HEMS is a proprietary hardware and software system that monitors, controls and optimizes electrical generation and consumption, while automatically responding to demand response signals and providing other services that improve grid reliability.
In the ground beneath Honda Smart Home's backyard, eight 20-foot deep boreholes allow ground-source heat pump to harness the earth’s relatively stable thermal sink to provide radiant heating and cooling through the home's floors and ceiling. The LED lighting used exclusively throughout home is not only five times more energy-efficient than conventional lighting; it is also designed to support the health and wellness of the home's occupants by emitting hues throughout the day that mimic the body’s circadian rhythms.
A naturally-occurring substance called pozzolan was infused into the Honda Smart Home's concrete to replace half of the cement typically needed. Post-tensioning, which uses steel cables to compress the concrete slab, was also used to reduce the amount of concrete and steel needed.
Honda Smart Home is designed to be extremely energy efficient by taking into account local weather conditions, sun direction and the home's outer shell. The home’s south-facing windows are optimized for heating and cooling, while the north-facing windows are positioned to maximize natural light and ventilation. Double stud walls, cool roofing material and a fully insulated concrete slab all contribute to the home's energy efficiency.
Sustainable materials were used throughout the construction process. Rather than cover the concrete foundation with wood, diamond pads were used to create a smooth, polished finish. All lumber used in the construction process was sustainably harvested from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), while advanced framing techniques were used to reduce the amount of material needed. 96% of the construction waste associated with the project, including drywall, brick, plastics and lumber, was recycled.
Honda Smart Home is expected to generate a surplus of 2.6 megawatt-hours of electricity over the course of a year, while a comparable home will consume approximately 13.3 megawatt-hours. This results in a net offset of nearly 13,100 pounds of CO2 per year, even when taking into account California's relatively clean electricity. The savings are even more dramatic when you consider Honda Smart Home produces its own transportation fuel. CO2 savings rise to more than 23,500 pounds per year versus a comparable home and vehicle.
Honda Smart Home is three times more water-efficient than a typical U.S. household. Dual-flush toilets with WaterSense certification, along with low-flow faucets in the sinks and showers and a high-efficiency washing machine and dishwasher all contribute to water savings. A technique called xeriscaping was used in the garden, where 30% of a typical home's water is consumed. Plants that thrive naturally in arid climates were selected, while filtered greywater recycled from the home is the only source of water other than rain.
In addition to showcasing Honda's vision for sustainable, zero-carbon living and personal mobility, 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 and business opportunities at the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment. In July 2014, Honda released all of the home’s architectural and mechanical plans, as well as building materials, to inspire others to take action.
Builder: Dick Cronin, Monley Cronin | Woodland, CA Architect: Adele Chang, Mark Rohling | Pasadena, CA | www.icra-architects.com Interior Designer: Anthony Anderson, Kristen Gong, MAK Design+Build | Davis, CA
Automotive: Honda Experimental Home Energy Management Systems (HEMSx), Custom Direct Solar (DC-to-DC) Dlectric Vehicle Charging System (10KW)
Building Envelope: Double-study FSC 2x4 walls with 9.24" cavity depth, no thermal bridging except at fire blocking
Caulks and Sealants: Aerosolized whole house sealant
Door/Hardware: Exterior doors custom built using Alpen triple pane glass, interior doors Masonite Emerald per spec sheet
Electrical: Lights and ceiling fans automatically disabled when house is unoccupied
Exterior Finishes: FSC siding
Fire Protection: Alarms and sprinklers with bell
Flooring: Polished Pozollan-Infused, Low-Carbon Concrete, other flooring per spec sheet
Home Controls: Controls via custom Honda Smart Home user interface
HVAC/Ducts: Radiant Geothermal Heating & Cooling (no conditioned forced-air), Heat recovery from graywater flow into geothermal wells prior to landscaping usage.
Insulation: Recycled paper (cellulose)
Landscaping: Xeriscaped plantings irrigated exclusively with gray water, All rainwater kept on site via rain gardens
Lighting: 100% SOlid-State LEDs with Programmable, Circadian-Friendly Lighting Scenes, motion sensing
Plumbing Fixtures: Compact plumbing design, ABS waste pipe (non-PVC) Fixtures per space sheet including touch-sensitive kitchen faucet, low flow fixtures dual flash toilets
Renewable Energy System: 9.5kW Solar Photovoltaic system produces as much or more energy than the home consumes annually
Roof: standing seam metal cool roof
Structural: Roof and floor trusses locally manufactured
Telecommunications: House-wide ethernet
Ventilation: Advanced 62.2 controls track all ventilation (fans, vacuum, etc.), Summer-time night time pre-cooling using outside air.
Water Heating: Three-function heat pump provide hot water using geothermal system (same heat pump as heating and cooling system), Pre-heat with PowerPipe DHR, Desuperheater heat recovery during house cooling
Waste Management: Rainscreen siding furring, Rainwater kept on site but earth is sloped away from house, No planting near house.
Windows/Skylights/Patio Doors: Windows are triple pane Alpen 925
Other: Zero fossil fuel conbustion on site.