Analysis and optimization of building layouts
In Germany, Japan, and other countries, the networks of electricity production, transmission, storage and usage are being substantially modified due to growing concerns on climate change, increasing fossil fuel prizes and the phase-out of nuclear power after the Fukushima accident. Renewable sources of energy have to replace conventional (fossil and nuclear) sources and societies need to reduce their energy demand in areas, such as production, households and mobility. In this context, Honda has unveiled the Honda Smart Home System (HSHS) in Japan's Saitama prefecture near Tokyo back in 2012. The HSHS combines energy production through photovoltaic (PV) and micro combined heat and power generators (mCHP) with battery storage and e-mobility devices like electric vehicles or fuel cell cars. The operation of the house is controlled and coordinated by a central smart control unit, the Smart e-Mix Manager (SeMM). This new generation of eco-friendly buildings is able to handle its inhabitants’ energy demand autonomously. However, developing renewable energy sources while ensuring save supply and affordability pose a huge challenge. Green buildings such as the HSHS must be durable, efficient and cost-effective. Thus, the main problem is that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy cannot be used in the same way as conventional resources due to their fluctuating availability. That is why smart systems for designing, analyzing and optimizing building layouts are vital.
Such tools can calculate and balance the demand and the production to assess energy saving potentials prior to the installation of the actual energy system. In order to understand the interaction of the different modules with the home's owners and the environment, a detailed simulation of the HSHS was needed. For Honda as a mobility company, a building-centered simulation environment was not sufficient since the company aims at providing a green and affordable mobility by integrating cars and home appliances. To study how electrified mobility and smart home systems can interact in an optimal way, the Honda Research Institute Europe and EA Systems developed a model of a smart home system with an attached plugin hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The simulation uses the ‘Green Building’ Library of the system simulation software SimulationX. The versatile tool helps engineers answer the above mentioned questions and calculate the optimal use of energy resources and decentralized energy storage. With this interdisciplinary simulation software, engineers design, analyze and create virtual prototypes of technical components and complex systems of energy efficient buildings on a single software platform. The software has a straightforward user interface and comes with ready-to-use elements based on real-world data.