Honda Halves CO2 Emissions, Energy Bill at Smart House

Jun 21, 2014
Masaya Sato, Nikkei Monozukuri
The smart house
The smart house
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An EV supplying electricity
An EV supplying electricity
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A cogeneration system using a gas engine (lower left) and a hot water storage tank (right)
A cogeneration system using a gas engine (lower left) and a hot water storage tank (right)
[Click to enlarge image]

Honda Motor Co Ltd announced the efforts being made at a smart house that it is testing in cooperation with Toshiba Corp and Sekisui House Ltd in Saitama City, Japan, June 16, 2014.

Employees of Honda are actually living in the house, which is equipped with a home energy management system (HEMS). And the company has been verifying the effects of the HEMS as part of its efforts to realize a smart community. This time, it disclosed the results of the verification test to the media for the first time.

The smart house enables more efficiently use of energy, compared with normal houses, by using the HEMS to automatically control lighting and air conditioning equipment, store/supply surplus power, etc. An electric vehicle (EV) can be used as a storage battery to supply electricity from the house to the EV and from the EV to the house.

Honda employees have been living in the house since 2012, and the company has been verifying the effects of the HEMS. As a result, it reduced CO2 emissions and energy bill by annual averages of 49% and 58%, respectively. Based on the results, the company announced that it will establish technologies to reduce CO2 emissions at a smart house to zero by 2020, which is five years earlier than originally expected.

For the smart house, Honda employed a cogeneration system using a gas engine that the company is developing. Because the system can generate electricity with the internal engine, it can supply electricity even when power supply is cut off at the time of disaster, etc.

On the same day, Honda also announced that it is testing electricity/heat supply between two families living in the same house as a new effort in view of the possibility of a smart community. The company has been developing "μCEMS (Micro Community Energy Management System)" as a system that manages energy not only for an isolated house but also for an entire community.

The system is aimed at realizing efficient energy management by supplying energy from one family to another, reducing the amount of electricity being consumed in the community at the peak of power consumption, etc. Currently, it is used to control energy supply and demand for two families. But Honda aims to use the system for energy management in a community though, as of June 2014, heat supply from one house to another is prohibited by law.