Earlier this month, we identified a growing trend in the construction industry—the connected home and connected car are growing closer. Now, it seems this trend is gaining new momentum, as one of the major automakers is making a move into the smart-home market.

Honda, www.honda.com, Minato, Tokyo, recently unveiled the Honda Smart Home US, which showcases zero-net energy living and transportation. This home is located on the West Village campus of the University of California, Davis, www.ucdavis.edu, Davis, Calif., and a member of the college will live in the home and drive a Honda Fit EV (electric vehicle). The home will also be a living laboratory for researchers to evaluate new technologies and business opportunities.

A peek inside the home provides homebuilders with a glance and what is to come in the world of AHT (automated-home technology). The Honda Smart Home US has a home energy-management system, which uses Honda’s proprietary hardware and software. The system monitors and controls electrical generation and consumption throughout the home’s microgrid.

One unique features of Honda’s system is the fact it is capable of improving grid reliability by automatically responding to demand response signals and providing other grid services.

The home comes equipped with a number of sustainable features that are common in many of the homes builders are constructing today. Such functions include solar photovoltaics, electric vehicle charging, radiant heating and cooling, advanced lighting, passive design, sustainable materials and waste management, and meeting zero net-energy goals.

However, it is the data that has the potential to provide the most value in the end. Honda says there are hundreds of channels of energy data generated by sensors throughout the home. This data will be shared with researchers at the University of California, Davis, and PG&E, www.pge.com, San Francisco, Calif. Together, the organizations will use the home as a lab to test new technologies and evaluate new environmental business opportunities.

For homebuilders, the smart home is no longer just a far-off concept. Many builders are already incorporating smart lighting and energy-management systems into homes in order to offer systems that will save the buyers money in the long run. In the case of the Honda Smart Home US, the house uses less than half of the energy of a similarly sized new home and is three times more water-efficient.

The good news for builders is the innovation that comes out of this living lab will provide new opportunities to offer more value to buyers in the future.