Honda Smart Home US – Zero Carbon Living and Mobility of the Future Featuring Honda Fit EV (w/videos)

MAR 28 2014 BY MARK KANE 15

Solar PV Array

Solar PV Array

Honda is demonstrating its Smart Home that it recently built on the West Village campus of the University of California, Davis.

According to Honda, it’s producing more energy from renewables than the average family will consume, including charging an electric car for daily commuting.

Smart Home needs less than half of the energy of a similarly sized new home in the Davis area for heating, cooling and lighting. The use of water is also over three times lower than average. Additionally, it has a 9.5 kW solar array and geothermal heating, as well as a 10 kWh battery energy storage system in the garage.

The project includes an electric car, the Honda Fit EV, which is charged via a DC line direct from solar (yes, CHAdeMO charger).

Fit EV Direct Solar Charging

Fit EV Direct Solar Charging

“Honda Smart Home US, construction of which began in April 2013, will serve as a residence for a member of the UC Davis community, whose selection will soon be announced. The fully-furnished home comes equipped with a Honda Fit EV battery electric vehicle for the resident’s daily transportation.”

“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.”

Here is a description from Honda of all parts of the system:

Honda Home Energy Management System (HEMS)

Honda Home Energy Management System (HEMS)

Honda Home Energy Management System
Honda Smart Home US implements Honda’s home energy management system (HEMS), a proprietary hardware and software system that monitors, controls and optimizes electrical generation and consumption throughout the home’s microgrid. A 10kWh battery energy storage system in the garage, using the same lithium-ion cells that are used in the Honda Fit EV, allows stored solar energy to be used at night, when household demand typically peaks and electric vehicles are usually charged. Honda’s HEMS leverages the battery to balance, shift and buffer loads to minimize the home’s impact to the electric grid. The system will also enable Honda to evaluate the second life, or re-use, of EV batteries in grid applications, home-to-grid (H2G) connectivity and other concepts.

Honda’s HEMS is also capable of improving grid reliability by automatically responding to demand response signals and providing other grid services. If the electricity grid is overloaded, for example, Honda Smart Home is capable of shedding its load and even supplying power back to the grid. This type of smart grid connectivity will enable the mass deployment of electric vehicles and renewable energy without sacrificing grid reliability.

Sustainable Features
Honda Smart Home US brings together innovative technology and the latest green building concepts:

Solar Photovoltaics (PV)
A 9.5kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system mounted on the roof will generate more energy than the home and Fit EV consume on an annual basis, due in large part to the efficient design of the home. All of the energy for space heating, space cooling, ventilation, lighting, hot water, appliances and consumer loads, in addition to the transportation energy for the Honda Fit EV, is supplied by the solar panels on the home.

DC-to-DC Electric Vehicle Charging
The Honda Fit EV included with the home has been modified to accept DC power directly from the home’s solar panels or stationary battery, eliminating up to half of the energy that is typically lost to heat during DC-to-AC and AC-to-DC power conversion. When the solar panels are generating electricity at full capacity, the vehicle can fully recharge in approximately two hours directly from sunlight.

Geothermal Radiant Heating & Cooling
In homes and cars, heating and air conditioning systems consume significant amounts of energy. In the ground beneath Honda Smart Home’s backyard, eight 20-foot deep boreholes allow a geothermal heat pump to harness the ground’s relatively stable thermal sink to heat and cool the home’s floors and ceiling throughout the year. Researchers from UC Davis will evaluate the performance of the system to determine its adaptability to mainstream use.

Pozzolan Infused and Post-Tensioned Concrete
Concrete accounts for approximately 5% of global, man-made CO2 emissionsii. This large CO2 footprint is a result of producing cement – the concrete’s “glue” – by heating limestone to more than one thousand degrees Celsius. This heating requires the burning of fossil fuels, while the chemical reaction itself also releases CO2. A naturally-occurring substance called pozzolan was infused into the Honda Smart Home’s concrete to replace half of the cement typically needed. A technique called post-tensioning, which uses steel cables to compress the concrete slab, was also used to reduce the amount of concrete and steel needed.

Advanced Lighting
The LED lighting used throughout the 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. Honda worked with researchers from the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis to explore new circadian color control logic.

Mimicking the natural shifts in daylight that occur from morning to night, the circadian-friendly lighting design allows occupants to select lighting scenes that complement occupants’ circadian rhythms and support nighttime vision. The amber hallway night lights, for example, provide enough light to navigate through the home in darkness without depleting a photopigment in the human eye called rhodopsin that helps humans see in low-light conditions. This allows occupants to move about safely and return to sleep quickly and easily. Exposure to bright, blue-rich light during the day helps put body and mind in an alert and energetic state, but at night, blue light can disrupt circadian sleep cycles. Therefore Honda Smart Home minimizes the use of blue light at night.

Passive Design
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. Known as “passive design,” these techniques reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling while maintaining comfortable living conditions.

The Honda Smart Home’s south-facing windows are optimized for heating and cooling, while the north-facing windows are positioned to maximize natural light and ventilation. This will keep the home naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Double stud walls, cool roofing material and a fully insulated concrete slab all contribute to the home’s energy efficiency.

Sustainable Materials & Waste Management
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. For the roof, metal was selected, which is more recyclable than asphalt. 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. Honda Smart Home will seek a number of “green” certifications, including US Green Building Council’s LEED, National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard and U.S. EPA’s Energy Star. Finally, 96% of the construction waste associated with the project, including drywall, brick, plastics and lumber, was recycled.

Surpassing California’s 2020 Zero Net Energy Goal
The Honda Smart Home US was designed to address specific challenges associated with the transportation and energy sectors in the United States. California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, for example, sets a goal for all new homes to be zero net energy beginning in 2020.iii Through a combination of advanced technology integration, energy efficiency measures and sustainable design techniques, Honda Smart Home surpasses that goal by producing enough energy to power the home and an electric vehicle on a daily basis.

Sharing Data and Technical Details
Hundreds of channels of energy data generated by sensors throughout the house will be shared with PG&E and UC Davis researchers. In addition, Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office, in conjunction with Honda R&D, will use the home as a living laboratory to test new technologies and evaluate new environmental business opportunities.

Regular updates on the home can be found at Contribute to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #HondaSmartHome.

By The Numbers: Emissions and Water Consumption
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 electricityiv. The excess energy anticipates potential future increases in energy needs, such as the addition of more occupants or electric vehicles to the home, and an increased daily commute.

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 vehiclev.

Honda Smart Home is three times more water-efficient than a typical U.S. household. In a typical home, the toilet alone can use 27 percent of household water consumptionvi. 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 graywater recycled from the home is the only source of water other than rain.

Categories: Honda


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15 Comments on "Honda Smart Home US – Zero Carbon Living and Mobility of the Future Featuring Honda Fit EV (w/videos)"

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Slightly related: What’s Honda going to do with all the Fit EV’s when the leases expire? Are they just going to take them back and crush them?

This makes me think that CARB rules needs to somehow tie in existing BEV registrations into their rules, so that automakers don’t just get a sale for putting a car on the road, only to take them back off the road.

Honda never answered questions about the fate of the Fit EVs. The logical (and sad) answer is that they will be crushed. Damn shame since the Fit EV is one of the better EVs out there. It would definitely have been on my “consider” list if it was available in Texas.

That’s too bad. I really think CARB needs to rethink how they award their credits. Getting credits and then crushing vehicles that are 3 years old makes no sense.

CARB could alter the rules of how the credit system works, to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.

It’s Business 101… Make sure you properly incentivize the behavior you want to encourage.

Mobility of the future? But they’re killing the FitEV, and instead going to a car you cannot fuel from home (a FCV).

I hope Honda sees the error of its ways, and brings us another EV this decade. Preferably one you can buy, not just lease.

The next thing is farming. With an extra 10kwh system I wonder how much farming one can do! I suspect a nice lot of land is needed for that!

This works fine for new construction, but I would like to see more done about easily and inexpensively making existing housing more efficient. It would also be nice to have more of these homes built and designed for other parts of the US, not just sunny California.

This is a cool concept. Honda has had this smart home concept for quite some time.

The original concept I saw on the Honda website also had a Hydrogen system…..but this one doesn’t.

Totally wierd. If they are cancelling the Fit EV why did they NOT include the hydrogen system in the Smart home. Especially since now they are pushing H2 FCV’s.

Doesn’t make sense.

I think a lot had to do with cost in that you could get solar panels and lithium batteries off of the shelf to set up a home system. While a hydrogen powered home system your going to have to invent a lot of things in that large parts of a hydrogen system don’t exist yet.

I wonder how they swung approval for that massive 9.5kW solar PV system. This is their key to making the whole house net zero. The problem is a house like that consumes less than 4000kWh/year but that PV system can easily put out > 8000kWh. No electric utility will approve net energy metering when the PV system is oversized like that. Sure, it is a showcase project, but unless rules are changed for everyone else, we can’t adopt the same approach.

At least in NYS, you can include the energy used by your car when sizing your array. In other words, if your house uses 6000kWh/year and your car uses another 3000kWh/year, you could size the array to produce 9000kWh/year and still qualify for net metering. So at least you can cover both of those. As for excess, you get paid pennies on the dollar so it’s hardly worth it.

2 reasons:

1. PG&E is a co sponsor of the project, and
2. The large battery storage system can take that output and there is a switch to shunt ALL that solar PV output directly into the Fit EV as a DC quick charge format.

I would give any extra electricty to the next door house, after filling my batteries and car. I would put out an extra cable to the next door house, I am not sure if that is allowed!

The cable is already run, underground its called the service lateral, if overhead its called the service drop. In NY State, you use the existing facilities and Utility as your personal piggy bank for small deposits and withdrawls of electricity, paying the normal rate for withdrawls and getting paid the exact same thing back for deposits. As Brian said, the yearly determination of an overage results in only a measley check, but that’s just on overall overage once a year. The daily ‘ins and outs’ are at full retail rates. How TOD service could affect this I’ll have to ivestigate but maybe Brian knows already

As far as the buzz word ‘sustainability’, good cement (like the 2000 year old stuff the Romans did a pretty good job with), can be made from recovered fly ash from coal plants in lieu of volcanic. Interestingly, there are plenty of schemes to get Hydrogen as a by product from new coal plants, but I’m not in favor of them and I don’t think many people on here would be since they hear the four letter word COAL and shudder.

“Something is rotten in Denmark”! How did Rick Wagoner, ex GM CEO, get to be CEO of Honda Motors? Once a crusher, always a crusher!

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