Peek inside Honda’s radically efficient, energy-producing smart home

Last March, Honda showed off its state-of-the-art smart home, which is so energy efficient it actually produces more energy than it uses. But it wasn’t just a slick showpiece. For the last nine months, the Bennett/O’Hara family has been living in the Honda Smart Home on the University of California campus in Davis, and they like it so much, they’ve decided to extend their stay another year.

You can’t really blame them. It’s 1,944 square feet, runs on solar energy and battery power, and it doesn’t even need air conditioning. Everything from the lights to the music is controlled through an iPad app. The blinds and lights are programmed to open and close automatically. Because its plans are all open-source and it produces more energy than it uses, it’s an excellent potential model for future California homes, because all new houses there will have to be net zero beginning in 2020.

If it seems odd for a car company to get involved in home automation, it’s because Honda is actually looking at the bigger picture. Honda and UC Davis researchers are looking at how devices work together, and how they can influence climate change, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The dishwasher is from Bosch and KitchenAid made the refrigerator, but the energy management system is Honda’s. The company also wanted someone in the family to drive about 30 miles per day, testing its electric Fit and accompanying charging equipment.

“When we came to visit, I was shocked that it was 74 degrees inside when it was 104 outside,” Susan O’Hara tells Smithsonian. The windows face south and have eaves that block the sun when the day’s at it hottest, while still capturing the rays in winter. The thick walls are well insulated, and the roof reflects light. To make the home water-efficient, Honda installed dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets, and gray-water collectors for the yard’s drought-resistant plants.

Though it took the family a couple of months to get used to the automated home, they soon asked Honda to let them extend their stay another year. “It’s become an integral part of our lives,” says O’Hara.

Smart Home

The cordless vacuum gets a reinvention thanks to these Dyson disciples

Dyson has been a shining light in the home appliance industry for decades but a pair of its former employees are working to change the cleaning industry with a new cordless vacuum called Lupe.
Movies & TV

Prime-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite TV series currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Wearables

Samsung's $99 Galaxy Fit fitness tracker is now available in the U.S.

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down to the gym.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

QLED and OLED may have similar names, but they're totally different tech

The names may look almost identical, but OLED and QLED are two entirely different beasts. In our QLED vs. OLED battle, we dissect the differences between these dueling TV technologies and help determine which might be best for you.
Emerging Tech

Uber Eats’ drone delivery service could see Big Macs hit speeds of 70 mph

Uber Eats is testing meal delivery using drones. The company wants to start a commercial delivery service using the drone this summer, but it still needs permission from regulators.
Smart Home

Amazon drops a deal on this smartphone-controlled MyQ Smart Garage Door Opener

Amazon slashed the price of Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Hub in time for Father's Day. This deal is so good, however, the smartphone-controlled and Google Assistant and IFTTT compatible MyQ opener would be a great gift for anyone.
Deals

Amazon slashes the price on this TP-Link Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

We've found a great deal on the latest-generation TP-Link Deco Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System on Amazon right now that lets you do just that. Everyone can save up to $20 thanks to a coupon, but Amazon Prime Card holders can save even more.
Deals

Amazon hacks price of the KitchenAid Classic Plus Stand Mixer by 44%

There are a lot of mixers on the market today, but when it comes to great quality, there’s one brand that stands out – KitchenAid. Amazon is offering the KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer at a hefty 44% discount.
Deals

The Ninja Air Fryer AF101 gets a steep 31% discount on Amazon

Whether you are a health-conscious snack seeker or a fried-food fan, you will find love with the Ninja Air Fryer AF101. Normally $130, it is now available for only $90.
Smart Home

Get a free Google Home Mini and smart bulb when you buy a Google Nest Hub

Walmart isn't shouting this deal from the rooftops, but if they did, Google Assistant smart home fans would break the internet to snap it up. Buy a Google Home Hub on sale and Walmart throws in a free Google Smart Light Starter Kit.
Smart Home

Amazon takes a huge bite out of the price of the 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi Cooker

The versatile Ninja Foodi combines pressure cooking, air frying, and crisping. Amazon just took a massive price cut on the 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi OP-302, the model that adds dehydrating to its repertoire.
Deals

The Shark ION Robot Vacuum RV750 gets a hefty 41% discount on Amazon

Household chores can be a drag. Lucky for us, we now have robot vacuums to make our lives easier. If you’re looking to buy one, now is the right time as Amazon is offering the Shark ION RV750 Vacuum for only $223.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.