Automakers won't just sell cars in the future. They'll sell cars that are part of our energy infrastructure.

You can see as much from a prototype smart home recently opened by Honda in California.

It features an enormous 9.5-kilowatt solar array, a 10-kilowatt-hour home battery unit to store excess power, Honda's home energy management system to control the whole thing, and, of course, its electric vehicle in the garage.

Designed to be energy-efficient anyway, the house produces more power than it consumes, which means its owner could actually make money from the power company.

All in all, the house uses half the energy of a similar-sized abode in the area, Honda says. It is three times more water-efficient than a typical American home. And it saves 11 tons of CO2 a year, compared to an average dwelling and vehicle.

2014-04-29

Co.Exist

Honda Is Designing Houses, Because Cars And Homes Will All Be Part Of The Smart Grid

The car maker is demonstrating how homes and cars will become part of the same renewable energy system.

In the future, auto companies won't just build cars. They'll build cars that are part of the energy infrastructure, providing back up storage for the solar panels on your roof, and reinforcing the wider electricity grid. They could even play a role in developing smart homes and technologies.

You can see as much from a prototype smart home recently opened by Honda in California. It features an enormous 9.5-kilowatt solar array, a 10-kilowatt-hour home battery unit to store excess power, Honda's home energy management system to control the whole thing, and, of course, its electric vehicle in the garage. Designed to be energy-efficient anyway, the house produces more power than it consumes, which means its owner could actually make money from the power company.

Honda isn't the only car-maker getting into the whole sustainable lifestyle thing. Ford also built a show-home incorporating its cars and a range of green features. And Tesla is now selling batteries for home use as well as for use in its vehicles. But this house, which Honda developed with a lot of help from the University of California, Davis, might be the most impressive. See its video here:

Based on passive design principles, the house is naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter. There's geothermal pump system out back that reduces the cost of heating and air-conditioning. The concrete in the foundation is about half as carbon-intensive as standard, because engineers substituted the mix with pozzolan ash.

All in all, the house uses half the energy of a similar-sized abode in the area, Honda says. It is three times more water-efficient than a typical American home. And it saves 11 tons of CO2 a year, compared to an average dwelling and vehicle. It's also designed to make its occupants feel good: Davis's lighting research group installed LEDs throughout to match their circadian rhythms. Really.

Of course, it's going to be some time before we see something like this in every subdivision in America. But, when we do, you can be sure auto-makers will want part of the action. If they're not actually building the smart house, they could be selling some of the components that make it possible.

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3 Comments

  • Ben Schiller. There are three more such systems known on LinkedIn Arno Evers Global Hydrogen Ambassadors, Germany. Roberto Cremonese Italy and myself, Al Scott UK.

    The major difference between the three and Honda is that they have the finance, but they also reform natural gas to hydrogen and that causes CO2 emissions unless they have created a new method.

    But yes, I fully agree that this is the way forward, the start of the hydrogen economy. But it is also imperative to take houses Off-Grid to stop CO2 emissions.

    I also have a H2 Revolutionary Rotary Engine to drive a generator onboard vehicles and stationary (gen-set) will be competition for fuel cells. Lower science than fuel cell, lower cost to manufacture and more fuel efficient.

    Best Regards Al Scott

  • Om Prakash Sharma

    I sincerely hope, that the proposed systems of integrating residential as well as commercial complexes with energy systems will replace the need for coal based power systems. or may reduce the need for large power houses even in near future this may be a standard system for urban as well as rural housing systems, all connected with power grids.