It’s good to take a mindful approach to your energy use. The good news for smart home fans is this area of tech is made with low energy consumption in mind.
One of the hidden innovations of smart security cameras and smart speakers is in making always-active devices that barely use any power much of the time.
For example, the power a 1000W microwave can use in ten minutes would keep an Apple HomePod Mini going for up to two weeks.
We’re going to go a little deeper in this look at smart home energy consumption. We will show you how much smart speakers, cameras and lights really use, with the help of a power meter.
Plug a device’s power adapter into one of these and it tells you how much energy it draws from your supply.
A quick note on jargon
First, let’s deal with a few terms.
We’re going to give you the wattage of each product. However, to square this with the bill you get from your energy supplier we also need to deal with the “kilowatt hour”.
This is what you get when you divide the wattage figure by 1000. It’s a measure of energy use over time.
Check your most recent energy bill or sign into your supplier online to find out how much you pay per kWh. To calculate our cost sums, we’ve used a figure of 14 cents per kWh for figures.
Calculating the cost of a smart home
No lone smart home product uses much energy, as you’ll see when you dig into the calculations below. But what if we put together a little simulated smart home? Let’s say one with an Amazon Echo, two Echo Dots and a Sonos One.
Plus four Philips Hue smart bulbs that’ll be used four hours a day at maximum brightness.
Throw in a Logitech Circle 2 smart security camera for good measure. How much would that cost in a year?
A rough calculation says the Echo uses around 26kWh, the Dots about 21.9kWh a piece. The Sonos? 33kWh based on 10 hours of listening a month. The Hue bulbs will use around 9kWh each. And the Logi Circle 13kWh.
Add that all up and you get 151.8kWh. And on the average US power deal, that equates to around $21 worth of power.
That’s not too much for a year’s worth of music, lighting, security and, if you really get into Alexa, conversation, right?
Smart speakers energy use and cost
How much power do always-on, always-listening smart speakers like the Echo use? We tested out a bunch of them, while in standby and playing music at various volumes to find out.
Apple HomePod Mini
- 0.8-1W standby with mics on, 0.5W sleep
- 2W power use at polite volumes
- 8W at high volume
Year of standby cost: $0.6
The HomePod Mini is an extremely efficient little speaker that uses little power whether it’s in standby or playing music near its maximum volume. When not playing it uses 0.8-1W of power, and after a while it enters an ultra-low power sleep mode that consumes around 0.5W.
We’ve read this should happen after eight minutes, but it took significantly …….