Spending the night in a zero-net energy model home

Our contributors are the first-ever overnight guests in an innovative house built by Honda.

On this week's "TechKnow," Phil Torres and Cara Santa Maria had a slumber party at the Honda Smart Home, an experimental model residence at the University of California at Davis that was built with the goal of creating a house that can power itself, fuel an electric car—and feed energy back into the grid. 

Honda says the house is expected to consume only around 18 kilowatt hours a day, much less than the average American home, which consumes about 30 kilowatts a day.

"If this is what zero carbon emission living looks like, it is one awesome place," Phil says.

The ground floor is filled with modern furniture—chairs, couches and rugs—all made from sustainable materials. Even the floor—polished concrete—was constructed in a way to reduce carbon emissions. 

To test's the house human factor—what would it be like to live there for actual people—Cara and Phil hung out, drove the car, made dinner and did some laundry.

Phil and Cara made lasagna, which required 89 minutes of oven time to preheat and cook, or about 3 kWh. That worked out to about 11 percent of the energy used in the house that day.
Phil's load of laundry was an energy hog, relatively speaking, sucking up 51 percent of the day's energy consumption.

A TV show is not the lowest-energy guest, because Phil and Cara came with a full crew and a lot of electronics. 

But after our stay there was still had power to spare—the house delivered more than 19 killowats of energy back to the grid.


Watch “TechKnow” Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.


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