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With the advancement in technology - everything from cable services to iphone carriers - are allowing consumers to program settings in their homes and their cars remotely. Now, Honda and UC Davis are joining in with this high-end technology. Honda has built their Smart Home on the campus of UC Davis to study and learn more "Green" efficient technologies for "Smarter Homes". This home is built from FSC certified lumber, metal roofs, and other materials of the highest standards.

Businesses and consumers alike are opting for technologies that will save us money when cooling our homes, or recharging our electric cars! How about the actual design of smart homes from the framework up?

Google, Bosch and GE are all using their technological skills to design thermostats, heating pumps, and sensors for the next smart home.

Solar Design:

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Using their best technical minds, they have studied the best ways to reduce cooling and heating costs by studying various angles of the sun and various times of day - when full sun or shade come into play.

Construction:

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Using Grade A exterior double stud walls made from two 2x4 stud walls on 24" centers that eliminate thermal bridging, except at the fire blocking. Wall cavities are insulated with cellulose, and windows are constructed with triple-glaze. The home is tested at 2.0 air changes every hour at a difference of 50 units of pressure.

Concrete:

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Concrete is accountable for 5% of all man-made emissions. These emissions are the result of producing concrete by heating limestone to more than one thousand degrees Celsius. This form of heating requires burning fossil fuels which causes a natural porous variety of volcanic ash. This is then injected into the Honda Smart Home's concrete, replacing the typical amount of cement needed. Post-tensioning is a technique that uses steel cables to compress the concrete slabs and thereby reduces the amount of concrete and steel normally used.

Intricate Ground Resources:

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This home also has the most intricate, complex heat recovery systems anywhere. Gray water travels into tanks in the garden, and is then renewed and placed through heat pumps for heating and cooling the home. The downside is these systems are extremely expensive and not necessary for high-efficiency homes in the first place.

On the other hand, combining domestic hot water and the use of radiant cooling and running everything out of one heating pump, is highly cost efficient. This would lead to savings in hardware and software.

Lighting:

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Honda has worked with researchers at California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis to look into a new day-to-day color control lighting. This copies natural light throughout the course of the day and provides the best lighting alternatives for night hours. At night, hallways will provide ample light for one to walk through without overbearing light fixtures.

Electricity:

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Should the electrical grid become overloaded, this smart house is perfectly capable of restoring back power. This will allow for the distribution of renewable energy to electric vehicles without deterring the grids reliability.

With the level of technology being poured into this smart house, the most impressive aspect is the house and car working together. This alone, will equate to zero energy consumption and zero carbon emissions. It doesn't get any better than that!

The Honda Smart Home is revolutionizing technology for the future of home building and electric cars.

Hydroponics and The Future:

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Hydroponics has grown in leaps and bounds due to consumer concerns regarding healthier, green living. Imagine tending your hydroponic garden 24/7 with an iPhone. Such technology is steadily on the rise for gardeners today. Adding nutrients on time, or setting timers on plant lights, has never been easier. It's literally a click away!

Photo credit: AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR CO

0 Comments | Posted in News Hydroponics Details Indoor Gardening By Karen B. Vance

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As hydroponic gardening grows in popularity and technology, hydroponics is entering a new world of controlling your garden with smartphones!  A new European company called Niwa is a technological breakthrough for greenhouses.  This first-time technology allows you to setup the very best environment for your plants and is literally a smartphone growing system.

Their smart food technological device will literally turn your greenhouse into a smartphone garden!  Niwa is a small, smart-looking hydroponic farm ready to grow in your home.  Imagine fresh, succulent foods grown in your home with the latest cutting-edge devices and operated by your smartphone. Through your phone, you can watch the progress of your plants' growth or go for autopilot. 

Niwa offers two systems for indoor gardener. A small garden will run $199 and a much larger version is $399.  Whatever plants you are growing from tomatoes to strawberries the App will upload the appropriate program settings, including the correct values for each type of  plant.

Javier Mirrillias, Niwa's founder, said the idea came from a great deal of frustration over the globalized food system in place today.  His research brought him to "Almeria", which is the largest tomato producer on earth using hydroponic greenhouses.  Almeria is so enormous, it can be viewed from space.  He started meeting and discussing advanced technology with agricultural experts from around the world.  He wanted to know how to go about creating technology that could be utilized by ordinary people to grow their own foods.

After many prototypes and a great deal of research, Niwa was created.

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Just What Is Niwa and Hydroponics:

Niwa is based on hydroponics which is a soilless technique for growing plants.  The plants receive their nutrients from water.  Hydroponics has become very popular in recent years, even though the technique has been around for a very long time.  The idea is to setup a grow box or grow room, purchase grow lights or plant lights and place your plants in a water-based formula of nutrients.

The difference between hydroponic gardens and Niwa is it's microcontroller with custom created software which is a built-in expert farmer.  You do not have to know how much water or when, what the ideal temperature is for each of your plant types or practically anything else.  Niwa has the knowledge and does it for you!

How Niwa Works:

Niwa comes with built-in sensors in order to create the best environment for your plants by controlling temperature, lighting, humidity and when water is needed.  As various plants have various needs, the App will ask for your input on some very simple questions.

For example, if you are growing flowers, the App will ask if you buds, if you answer yes, the system will start a new segment and new settings will be put into place.

You can control your settings from your smartphone App which will also allow you to keep track and understand your plants' progression.  More experienced gardeners can also setup incubation along with various experimentations for the growing process..

As mentioned earlier, grow lamps are a big part of hydroponic gardens.  Niwa offers a compact fluorescent lamp of 200 watts when running along with the heating system.  The reservoir of water should be changed out and refilled every other week.

Hydroponics is an extremely popular and easy way for everyone to grow fresh foods, house plants, veggies, fruits and herbs within their homes.  This is a wonderful alternative for those who live in cities or apartments.  Gardening could not possibly be easier or fun.

Should Niwa, while still new on the scene, be able to offer such great technology and place experience in the hands of novices, what a giant step this will be for hydroponics.  Only time will tell.

Photo credit: Niwa

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