On March 25, 2014, Honda marked the opening of Honda Smart Home US at the University of California, Davis, showcasing technologies that enable zero-net-energy living and transportation. The home, located on the West Village campus, is capable of producing more energy on-site from renewable sources than it consumes annually. A Honda-developed home energy management system and an energy efficient design will allow the home’s occupant to use less than half of the energy of a similarly sized new home in the Davis area for heating, cooling and lighting.
The LED lighting used throughout the home is not only five times more energy-efficient than conventional lighting, it is also designed to support the health and wellness of the home’s occupants. Honda worked with Michael Simminovitch, Director of the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis and Associate Director of the Energy Efficiency Center, and other researchers from the California Lighting Technology Center to explore new circadian color control logic.
“ We wanted to do zero-net-energy lighting design, which meant all solid-state lighting and all high-quality,” Simminovitch says. “I suggested that this also be one of the first circadian homes in California so we could also help address wellness and safety issues. Zero net energy for residential goes into full effect in California in 2020, so the Honda house is good indicator of this kind of approach coming relatively quickly here in California.”
Mimicking the natural shifts in daylight that occur from morning to night, the circadian-friendly lighting design allows occupants to select lighting scenes that complement their circadian rhythms and support nighttime vision. The amber hallway night lights, for example, provide enough light to navigate through the home in darkness without depleting a photopigment in the human eye called rhodopsin that helps humans see in low-light conditions.
Honda Smart Home US will function as a living laboratory where the company, along with researchers from UC Davis and Pacific Gas and Electric, will evaluate new technologies and business opportunities at the intersection of housing, transportation, energy and the environment. It will also serve as a residence for a member of the UC Davis community whose selection will soon be announced.