The Alexa app has been updated to include a new feature called the Energy Dashboard that attempts to estimate the power consumption of your smart home devices. The dashboard charts the power usage of smart lights, plugs, thermostats, and more over time so that you can see which smart devices use the most energy and whether your power usage is trending up or down. While Alexa’s new energy dashboard does seem to report power usage figures from smart devices that report their energy consumption, it also works with more basic smart devices by simply tracking how long each one is powered on during a given timeframe.
To get to the new Energy Dashboard, open the Alexa app and select the “Devices” tab in the bottom right. If the Energy Dashboard is available to you, the “Devices” screen should have an “Energy Dashboard” button just below the list of device type button. I don’t know which regions the dashboard is available in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s limited to the U.S. at this time.
The home screen of the Energy Dashboard displays a list of smart home device types along the top that can be selected to filter power consumption figures by device type. The specific smart home devices that Alexa includes in its tracking seems to be very spotty. For example, my Nest smart thermostat and my TP-Link Kasa smart plugs aren’t included, but others are reporting that their thermostats and plugs from different manufacturers are being included.
The dashboard lets you see weekly or monthly energy consumption over time. The usage can be displayed by watt-hours or just by the amount of time each smart device was left on. The app will also show trends for specific devices that indicate if they’re being used more or less than they have been in the past. The dashboard also displays yearly energy cost estimates for each smart device based on how often it is left on.
For smart devices that don’t explicitly monitor and report their energy usage, the energy dashboard seems to assign a static power consumption figure in watts. When the dashboard can’t estimate how many watts a device consumes while on, it flags the device as needing additional info. For those devices, you can go into their settings in the Alexa app and manually enter how many watts they consume while on, which the energy dashboard can then use in its estimates.
Even if you take the time to manually enter power usage figures for all of your recognized smart home devices, don’t expect Alexa’s energy dashboard to be that accurate. For one, it doesn’t seem to account for smart devices that have varying power usage while on, such as dimmable lights. If you enter that a smart bulb uses 10 watts of power, for example, but you then dim the bulb to 50%, the energy dashboard will still use the full 10 watt figure in its power consumption estimates.
Despite not being able to precisely determine the energy usage for most smart devices, seeing how the energy usage changes over time is still quite useful, assuming your habits for each device are fairly consistent. If you’re trying to reduce your energy bill, the new Alexa energy dashboard is a nice free starting point to get some insight into which of your smart devices are used the most.