Hidden in the middle of California is a house that is designed to revolutionise the homes we live in by making our buildings produce more energy than they use.
The project’s leader Michael Koenig told Factor that the project will help to create a zero-carbon lifestyle, but it has to give people financial reasons to want the technologies inside.
He said: “There should be some financial incentive, it should save them money on their utility bills or it should allow them to participate in an electrical market where they can buy and sell energy and create some financial value for themselves so that they are intrinsically motivated to have these types of homes and devices.”
The house hasn’t just been built for consumers though, or even for Honda to profit from the technologies further down the line, as Koenig explained: “One of the purposes of this project is to try to create a direct value to society and so one of things that we are trying to do is to advance the state of the art for green buildings, sustainability, and energy efficiency.”
To help achieve the goal of a zero-carbon house, Honda’s Home Energy Management System (HEMS) is included.
It is a joint hardware and software system that controls and optimises electrical generation and consumption through the house’s micro gird.
The system stores solar energy that been generated during the day so it can be used it night when more energy is needed by those in the house. It is heated using only 20 percent of the energy a typical home uses.
Smart adaptive lighting is also used, which adapts to the body’s natural clock: blue-ish tones are projected during the day and amber tones are projected at night.
Koenig explained that the home aims to improve the occupant’s quality of life by adapting to their needs.
He said: “Once we keep having these types of smart homes and connected appliances and connected systems you can start having some very nice improvements like different light scenes at different types of day for example.
“It seems pretty trivial but it is actually really nice to be able to come home and have different lights on compared to when you get up at 10pm for a glass of wine.”
Apple may have just announced its smart home kit for developers and customers to help make their homes interactive, but Honda are one step ahead of them. The company has built a smart home that has connected objects and also is capable of producing more energy than it uses. Not only is the house of the most sophisticated houses in the world it is also incredibly aesthetically pleasing. Here our some of our favourite features of the house:
Passive design: The home is designed to be incredibly energy efficient by accounting for local weather conditions including the sun’s direction. Sustainable materials: Across the house the designers, and engineers, tried to use as many sustainable materials as possible as the house seeks a number of green certifications from agencies in the US. Waste management: To further reduce the house’s impact on the environment 96% of the construction waste from the project, including brick, plastics and lumber, were recycled. Heating and cooling: In the ground beneath the Honda smart home’s garden are eight 20 foot bore holes that allow a geothermal heat pump to harness the ground’s relatively stable thermal sink to heat and cool the home’s floors and ceiling. Windows: The home’s south-facing windows are optimised for heating and cooling, while those facing the north are positioned to maximise natural light and ventilation to keep the conditions in the home comfortable whatever time of year it is.
Smart energy: The house has Honda’s home energy management system, which monitors and controls electrical generation and consumption through the microgrid. Data: There are more than 270 data streams recording information inside the house and feeding it back to the University of California, which has partnered with Honda for the project. Smart lighting: Occupants will be able to select lighting scenes that complement their daily rhythms and routines.