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Japan Demonstration Home Departs From the Grid

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Photograph courtesy Honda

Slightly more than a year after the March 11, 2011, Fukushima disaster, the automaker Honda unveiled a demonstration home in Saitama, Japan, that is powered by thin-film solar panels, as well as a 92-percent efficient gas-fired generator that contributes both hot water and electricity to the home, and a rechargeable home battery unit.

The Saitama house is a test platform for the Honda Smart Home System (HSHS), which the company  says is designed to allow users to secure their own supply of energy for living and mobility during an emergency.

Centered around a Smart e Mix Manager — an all-inclusive energy management system which optimizes all the home’s power sources — the HSHS cuts residential carbon dioxide emissions during normal operations. It also provides a fallback position when the grid goes down. Eventually, Honda hopes to use the information from this demo to work with customers to create a total home energy management system.

The HSHS also capitalizes on an emerging market of electric vehicles (EVs), tying Honda‘s Japan-only Internavi navigation system with the home’s Smart e Mix Manager to determine the best times to charge EVs to prevent additional CO2 emissions from being generated and also allow you to control home appliances and such.

The Smart e Mix Manager simultaneously analyzes and controls home energy use to deliver low-CO2 energy by calibrating the cost, in real time, of the various power sources feeding into the home. Of course, homeowners can also control energy use by accessing the Manager’s display of usage monitors for each energy device and adjusting the various inputs either directly or remotely via wireless LAN, the Internavi system, or a smart phone. Down the road a few generations, we might even expect to see a plug-in that reminds homeowners when to take out the trash, take their medicine, or even check their Facebook page for updates. Uber cool!

— Jeanne Roberts

This post originally appeared at EarthTechling and has been republished with permission.