Honda is broadening its green credentials on two continents, building a trial "smart home" in Northern California and embracing wind-power for its Brazil factory.
The Japanese automaker this year will build a home at University of California, Davis, that, among other things, will be powered by solar energy (which will charge a Honda Fit Electric in the garage, of course), use energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems and be constructed with sustainable materials.
Honda built a demonstration "smart" home in Japan last year and is now looking to help California meet a state goal of having new homes be energy-neutral (i.e. making as much electricity as it consumes) by the end of the decade. Honda calls it "Zero Net Energy."
Meanwhile, a little further south, Honda's Brazilian division is building a wind farm in the southern part of the country that's slated to be completed by September 2014. With nine turbine windmills, the farm will produce 85,000 MWh of electricity a year and cut CO2 emissions by more than 2,200 tons annually. Honda, which has been building cars in Brazil since 1976, is investing about 100 million Brazilian réais (US $50 million) in the project.
Check out Honda's press release on the Brazilian wind farms and a presser on the UC Davis smart home below.
"Zero Net Energy" concept home will efficiently generate and manage renewable energy; Solar power will charge Honda Fit EV
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. today announced its plan to create the Honda Smart Home US, a showcase for environmental innovation and renewable energy enabling technologies that demonstrates 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. A groundbreaking today at the construction site on the campus of the University of California, Davis, marked the start of the building process, which will be documented and shared through the Honda Smart Home US website.
Envisioning a lifestyle of renewable energy for home and transportation,
the Honda Smart Home US will feature new and emerging technologies to greatly reduce the amount of energy consumed by individual households, and will provide a pathway for the full integration of electric vehicles into the home.
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:
Solar Power System
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.
Honda Energy Management System
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 solar PV-to-vehicle charging
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.
In 2012, Honda unveiled the Honda Smart Home System (HSHS) in the city of Saitama, Japan. The HSHS project includes two homes: one is a demonstration-only home while the other serves as a residence for Honda associates. Both feature comprehensive controls of in-house energy supply and demand, and help manage both the generation and consumption of energy for the home.
"With Honda Smart Home US we will showcase our vision for a lifestyle that produces zero CO2 and that could even save consumers money," said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Home energy use and personal mobility account for most of an individual's carbon emissions. By addressing both sources together, we are advancing technologies that will reduce carbon and eventually transform home design."
"As an academic leader in sustainability research, UC Davis is proud to be the site of this innovative research home, which will take us to the next level of energy research and deployment," said Energy Efficiency Center director Nicole Woolsey Biggart. "We are excited by the opportunity for our scientists to test new ideas for integrated and commercially viable carbon-reduction technologies."
About UC Davis
UC Davis has long served as a proving ground for innovations in environmental sustainability. Sierra Magazine named UC Davis the nation's #1 Cool School in its 2012 ranking of the country's greenest colleges. In 2011, UC Davis West Village opened its doors and is on track to become the nation's largest planned zero net energy community. Four UC Davis building complexes are certified LEED Platinum, the highest ranking awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Aggressive recycling, composting and reuse efforts prevent more than 63 percent of campus waste from entering landfills annually. Through its Climate Action Plan, the campus has reduced greenhouse gas emissions below year 2000 levels and expects to reach year 1990 levels by 2020. The campus also boasts more than 42 miles of bike paths and more than 20,000 bike racks, earning it a gold award from the League of American Bicyclists.
About Honda Environmental Leadership
Honda is a leader in the development of leading-edge technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Honda has led the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since 2000, and a Honda vehicle has topped the list of America's greenest vehicles from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for eleven out of the past twelve years. The company leads all automakers with twelve LEED-certified "Green Buildings" in North America. Ten of its 14 North American manufacturing facilities are zero-waste to landfill.
In 2006, Honda became the first automaker to announce voluntary CO2 emissions reduction targets for its global fleet of automobile, power sports and power equipment products and its global network of manufacturing plants. Today, the company is striving for even greater reductions in CO2 emissions that contribute to global climate change, while also working to minimize waste, water use and the total environmental footprint of its operations worldwide.
Honda established operations in America in 1959, and now employs more than 26,000 associates in its U.S. sales, R &D and manufacturing operations with a capital investment of more than $12.5 billion. Over 90% of Honda vehicles sold in the U.S. are produced in North America, using globally and locally sourced parts.
Honda to Become First Automaker in Brazil to Undertake Wind Power Generation -Generating Renewable Energy to Cover Entire Electricity Needs for Local Automobile Production-
SÃO PAULO, Brazil, April 25, 2013 - Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, today announced plans to invest in wind power generation to be more proactive in using renewable energy to minimize the environmental footprint of its business activities. HAB will be the first automobile manufacturer in Brazil to invest in wind power generation.
With a goal to begin the operation in September 2014, Honda will build a wind farm in the city of Xangri-lá in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil (approximately 1,000 km south of HAB's automobile production plant in Sumaré, São Paulo). Equipped with nine wind power turbine units, the wind farm is expected to generate approximately 85,000 MWh of electricity per year, equivalent to HAB's annual electricity needs for automobile production. By generating renewable energy to cover the entire electricity needs of the plant, HAB is expecting to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately more than 2,200 t annually. The total investment in this wind farm is expected to be approximately 100 million Brazilian reais (approximately 4.6 billion yen*).
In order to evolve wind power generation business in Brazil, HAB established a new subsidiary, Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda., specialized in wind power generation business. Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda. will be responsible for the management and operation of all areas related to Honda's wind power generation business in Brazil.
About Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda.
|Establishment:||March 21, 2013|
|Capital Investment:||1,000 reais (approximately 46,000 yen*)|
99.99% Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda.
|Representative:||Carlos Eigi, President|
|Number of wind turbines:||9 units (1 unit: maximum output of 3MW)|
|Generation capacity:||Maximum output of 27MW (9 units total)|
Comment by Carlos Eigi, president of Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda.
"Ever since Honda began local production in Brazil in 1976, Honda has been cooperating with the local community and striving to minimize the environmental footprint of our production activities. Wind power generation has proven to be very effective in reducing CO2 emissions. Through the utilization of renewable energy, Honda will continue to be proactive in pursuing environmental conservation activities in Brazil."
Honda has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions from its global products by 30 percent by the end of 2020 compared to year 2000 levels. Striving to attain this goal, Honda has been strengthening its initiatives on a global basis to reduce CO2 emissions from all business activities, including production and the supply chain.
*Calculated based on the exchange rate of 1 Brazilian real = 46 yen