By Drew Johnson
Wednesday, Apr 24th, 2013 @ 12:23 pm
 
Honda already lays claim to a diverse portfolio - with products ranging from cars to personal watercraft to lawnmowers - but the Japanese automaker isn't ready to stop expanding into new markets just yet. Honda is teaming with the University of California, Davis, to build a "Zero Net Energy" concept home.

The state of California is pushing for all new construction homes to be "zero net energy" by 2020 - i.e. homes that produce more energy than they consume - but Honda is looking to make that goal a reality much sooner with its Honda Smart Home.

Currently being built in the UC Davis West Village development, the Honda Smart Home will feature a solar power system that can generate, on average, more electricity than the home will use in a typical year. Moreover, the Smart Home will be equipped with Honda's Energy Management System, which can manage smart-grid technology and balance the use of solar and grid-generate power.

The house will also feature a standalone solar power system designed exclusively to charge electric vehicles. The system essentially turns solar power directly into DC, reducing losses associated with DC-to-AC and AC-to-DC conversions.

Of course a high-efficiency HVAC system will also be part of the project and UC Davis will provide a custom-built, low energy lighting system for the house.

"With Honda Smart Home US we will showcase our vision for a lifestyle that produces zero CO2 and that could even save consumers money," said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Home energy use and personal mobility account for most of an individual's carbon emissions. By addressing both sources together, we are advancing technologies that will reduce carbon and eventually transform home design."

Once completed, the house will be leased to individuals associated with UC Davis.