Now that Honda has begun dabbling in discounted residential solar leasing, I suppose it’s only natural that the North American arm of the Japanese auto behemoth has teamed up with the University of California, Davis, to commence work on a solar-powered concept home complete with a state-of-the-art energy management system and a direct photovoltaic-to-electric vehicle charging system— “PV to EV,” if you will — geared to reduce the efficiency losses associated with DC to AC and AC to DC conversions.

Described as a “showcase for environmental innovation and renewable energy enabling technologies” and in line with the 2008 California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan that envisions all newly constructed homes in the state to produce just as much as energy as they consume by the year 2020, the Honda Smart Home (HSH) US isn’t the company’s first foray into solar home building. Last year, the company debuted a pair of homes — one strictly demo, the other habitable — in the Japanese city of Saitama to showcase Honda Smart Home System (HSHS) technology.

It’s also worth noting that Honda isn’t the only major automaker to wade into plug-in-centric net-zero home territory: Just the other week Ford announced a similar initiative in partnership with American mega-builder KB Home that showcases the company’s MyEnergi Lifestyle initiative.

Honda Smart Home

As for the Honda Smart Home, there aren’t a ton of concrete details as of yet as the project broke ground just last week at the UC Davis West Village development.

However, the company has outlined a few key bells and whistles of the carbon-neutral show home including the aforementioned Honda Energy Management System (it will "actively manage energy use and communicate with the homeowner and utility provider, allowing the home to maximize its energy efficiency while responding to the needs of the electrical grid, thereby minimizing the impacts of solar generation and electric vehicle charging on the utility grid") and a rooftop solar array that powers both the home and the Honda Fit EV (or other plug-in vehicle) parked in the garage with extra juice to spare.
Designed to use only half the energy on cooling, heating, and lighting as similarly sized homes in the area, the Honda Smart Home will also features high-efficiency HVAC systems and a “circadian color control logic” LED lighting system” designed by UC Davis researchers. The home will also boast grey water recycling, drought-resistant landscaping, and “passive design elements as well as novel materials to further reduce CO2 emissions from the production of building materials and the construction and operation of the home.”
Videos, photos, and additional information on the various technologies incorporated into the high-performance abode will be continually added to the Honda Smart Home website as the project progresses. The home is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

EV living: Honda breaks ground on net-zero concept home
Car giant Honda breaks ground on a net-zero energy home, a super-efficient demo home at UC Davis.