Demonstration homes pair solar power and electric vehicles

Demonstration homes pair solar power and electric vehicles

As the popularity of plug-in electric vehicles continues to grow, home builders are partnering with automakers to show how vehicles can integrate with a solar-powered house.

KB Homes is collaborating with Ford to pair the Ford C-MAX Energi and other energy-efficient technologies with KB Home's ZeroHouse 2.0 model home to showcase affordable sustainable living.

The ZeroHouse 2.0 represents KB Home's next generation of energy-efficient home design that can help lower cost of home ownership compared to a typical resale home. A fully optioned ZeroHouse 2.0 could entirely eliminate monthly electricity charges.

The initiative will demonstrate how the typical American family can potentially save money while reducing their impact on the environment by combining a highly efficient home design with the latest in smart home technology and an affordable plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Ford's MyEnergi Lifestyle lets technology do the work so energy-consuming devices in a home use less energy, while also shifting energy usage to less expensive periods. At night, for example, when energy costs are lower, a smart refrigerator can perform high-energy tasks like ice making or defrosting – just as Ford's plug-in vehicles do with recharging.

Ford's C-MAX Energi was plugged into ZeroHouse 2.0's built-in electric vehicle charge station, which is engineered to charge the vehicle during off-peak hours for maximum cost efficiency. C-MAX Energi boasts an impressive 100 MPGe combined, according to the EPA.

The future of net-zero energy

ZeroHouse 2.0 continues a national rollout of the net-zero energy home options KB Home began in fall 2011. The ZeroHouse 2.0 in San Marcos pushes the envelope even more, as it's the first WaterSense-labeled home built in San Diego County, and includes both a comprehensive Schneider Electric Wiser™ Home Management System and all-new Whirlpool smart appliances.

The Wiser Home Management System allows homeowners to monitor energy consumption, and provides automation control via a Web-based portal or mobile application. This marks the first time these innovative products have been used by a production homebuilder.

The higher efficiency of ZeroHouse 2.0 is the result of a whole-home approach – from the inside out – that includes additional insulation; upgraded HVAC systems; dual-pane, low-emitting windows; and roof-mounted solar panels by SunPower. Additionally, a WaterSense-labeled home is designed to use 20 percent less water than a typical new home.

For a family of four, that's a difference of about 50,000 gallons of water a year compared to a typical home, or enough for nearly 2,000 loads of laundry and as much as $600 in annual utility bills.

Zero-carbon goal

Honda has partnered with the University of California, Davis, on the "Honda Smart Home US" concept to demonstrate Honda's vision for sustainable, zero-carbon living and personal mobility, including the use of solar power to charge a Honda Fit EV battery electric vehicle. 

The hi-tech sustainable home will demonstrate an approach to meeting the state of California's goal of requiring all new residential construction to be "zero net energy" by 2020. It is expected to produce more energy than it consumes, using less than half of the energy of a similarly sized new home in the Davis area for heating, cooling, and lighting.

The Honda Smart Home will also give its occupants comprehensive control over all home systems, allowing the residents to remotely and continually monitor and adjust all aspects of energy use in real time.

Among the many technologies that will be applied to the Honda Smart Home US:

A photovoltaic (PV) system will provide the energy for the home and for daily commuting in an all-electric vehicle like the Honda Fit EV. The zero net energy home will generate, on average, more electricity from on-site renewable power sources than it will receive from its electric utility provider.

The Honda Energy Management System introduces a smart-grid technology that 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.

High-efficiency HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and Lighting System designed by UC Davis:  UC Davis energy research centers will design high-efficiency, cost effective solutions to major home energy loads. UC Davis researchers will explore new methods for geothermal heating and cooling, and a new circadian color control logic LED lighting system to improve quality of life while reducing energy consumption.

Direct PV-to-vehicle DC battery charging will substantially improve charging efficiency by reducing losses associated with DC-to-AC and AC-to-DC conversion. "PV-to-EV" charging will decrease CO2 emitted in the lifecycle of an electric vehicle by avoiding the carbon associated with grid electricity production.

Certified "Green" Home

The home will be designed to achieve top-level green building certifications from the major U.S. rating systems. With a holistic approach to sustainability, the home will feature 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.

Honda anticipates construction of the Honda Smart Home, at a site in the UC Davis West Village development, to be completed by the end of 2013. The home will be leased to individuals associated with UC Davis, though further details have not been finalized.

Read more about solar power.


Topics: Garage, Home Design & Plans, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power, Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Vehicle, WaterSense


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