Honda is making the plans for the experimental “smart home” it launched in March available to the public. In an announcement on a company website dedicated to the project, Michael Koenig, a project engineer in the Environmental Business Development Office of the company’s North American subsidiary and the Honda Smart Home project lead, cited interest from architects, designers, researchers, engineers, and businesses worldwide as the team’s motivation for turning the documents loose. Those interested in building a version of the home can download re-configurable architectural, interior design, and M/E/P 2D and 3D CAD files as well as PDF plans.
The nearly 2,000-square-foot Honda Smart Home was developed in partnership with the University of California Davis (U.C. Davis), where it is located in the school’s 2011 West Village net-zero-energy housing development. Its suite of sustainable features includes: radiant and geothermal heating and cooling, a 9.5-kilowatt roof-mounted solar array, FSC-certified lumber and low-carbon concrete, rain gardens and xeriscaping, as well as orientation that follows passive-house principles. A 10-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery stores energy on site while a Honda Fit EV direct-current power source lets homeowners charge an electric vehicle in the garage without the typical conversion loss from alternating current sources.
The project is expected to generate a surplus of 2.6 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, while a comparable home would consume about 13.3 megawatt-hours for the same period, according to a U.C. Davis announcement of the project in March.
The house is also fitted with Honda’s proprietary Home Energy Management System (HEMS)—which appears to be a big reason for the project, according to Motherboard staff writer Jason Koebler. He notes that, of all the Smart Home files Honda released, the HEMS system isn’t among them. Instead, users can download the aforementioned plans and, presumably (but not just yet), buy Honda’s HEMS.
"Honda isn't an architecture firm,” Koenig told Motherboard. “We're not in the business of building houses. Honda wants to be involved in this future, and there are certainly some products where it might make sense for us to participate in. It'll be on the energy management side of it, for sure." Koenig declined tell Koebler when the company would begin selling HEMS systems to the public.
Honda worked with Lim Chang Rohling & Associates in Pasadena, Calif., to design the home, which was built by Woodland, Calif.-based Monley Cronin. It surpasses California’s 2020 net-zero-energy residential target. Honda, along with researchers from U.C. Davis and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will use the house as a site to evaluate new technology.