What will the homes of the future look like? Will they have voice-controlled nifty appliances? A robot maid like “The Jetsons”?
Honda has a very smart — and very innovative — idea for the house of tomorrow that’s not quite on the level of George Jetson and his space-aged brood, but it’s exactly the direction American home-building needs if we’re going to slash our enormous, and unsustainable, energy consumption.
The carmaker built an experimental 2,000 square-foot Honda Smart Home on the University of California, Davis campus. Currently, a UC Davis employee is living in it, and for the next three years, the employee will monitor the power usage to see if the house is practical for the average American.
What’s so amazing is that the home draws power from renewable sources, such as solar panels. As Fast Company puts it, the residence is so energy efficient that it pumps out more power than it uses — which means a homeowner could potentially sell energy to the power company. According to this infographic, the average home uses up 13.3 megawatt hours annually, whereas the Honda Smart Home puts back 2.6 megawatt hours on the grid. The home surpasses California’s 2020 target for zero net energy residential homes.
And wave bye-bye to air conditioning and heating bills with the geothermal heating and cooling (who isn’t interested in cheaper electric bills?). The Honda home slashes water consumption to a one-third of most American homes, and cuts more than 11 tons of CO2 annually compared to conventional homes and cars. And because Honda is behind it all, there’s garage space for a Honda Fit electric vehicle that gets charged from the house’s solar power (check out the video below).
This house may not have as many bells and whistles as the sci-fi cartoon, but if we want to reduce our reliance on planet-harming fossil fuels, Honda’s house of the future might be the kind we should be living in today.