In the future, smart electricity will be the norm. But we don’t just mean your house will monitor its power consumption or feed juice back into the national grid – that’s easy. What’s trickier is building a house that actively adjusts to changing requirements and, in an emergency, can call on unusual sources to keep the lights on.
Imagine this, for example: A house that works in perfect harmony with all the electronics within it, actively managing their power consumption and switching them off whenever it senses they’re wasting precious watts. That’s just one feature of the Eco House, built in Osaka, Japan.
Designed by Sharp, it’s a demonstration of a future abode that emits absolutely no carbon. All the obvious tech is present and correct: Solar panels on the roof, LED lights in every socket, and even a battery to store power for use later on.
The result is a house that, provided there’s strong sunlight, can power itself completely. It’s still hooked up to the eletricity grid, and can offload any extra juice it generates from the sun’s rays to reduce energy bills for the homeowner.
But in the garage, you’ll find perhaps the most amazing thing: a charging point for an electric car which is equally capable of sucking power out of the vehicle if the owner requires it.
In the event of a power cut, the Eco House can switch from the national grid completely, and run using its own solar power, battery storage and docked vehicles. Power from the electric vehicle’s battery is run through a special Power Conditioner, which lets domestic appliances run without a gap in electrical supply.
In the Eco House’s garage, there’s a Mitsubishi Motors i-MiEV electric car, but in the future most electric cars could be tasked with discharging their battery to stave off brownouts.
And to monitor all this energy-juggling? Tablet computers and Aquos TVs sit pretty inside, and are all networked by a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) which spits out power-saving stats on demand, either to the tablet or TV screen.
Even plug sockets are monitored, with each one fitted with a wireless ‘smart tap’ which beams back data on the power consumption being drawn by gadgets around the home.
The heating has been overhauled too, using an efficient electric boiler, while sensors in each room detect the presence of humans and automatically switch off lights when a room is unoccupied.
The key to it all is that HEMS system, which Sharp says it’ll put on sale next year. Above all though, it’s a smart and good looking building which makes genuinely clever use of the technology packed inside. See some more photos of it here, and let us know below: would you want to live in a house like this?
Liked this? Try these: