This is how it works: Reduce electricity and heating costs by up to 200 euros with Alexa routines With Amazon Alexa and smart routines, you can reduce costs and keep them under control. TechStage shows how this works. 4:00 p.m. tech stage

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this is how it works reduce electricity and heating costs.jpeg
this is how it works reduce electricity and heating costs.jpeg

The increase in electricity and heating costs seems to know no bounds – smart solutions for saving energy are required. With Amazon Alexa and smart routines you can reduce costs and keep them under control.

If a kilowatt hour of electricity for new customers approaches 40 to 50 cents, gas reaches over 20 cents/kWh and a liter of heating oil is not available for less than 1.60 euros, even the smallest savings measure will flush cash into the household coffers. And saving energy becomes particularly pleasant when the entire smart home infrastructure can be conveniently controlled by voice. The Echo devices from Amazon (guide) – usually called “Alexa” because of their nickname – can be paired with a variety of devices, which can then be controlled by voice command or through well thought-out routines.

We show how you can save energy and costs with the Amazon Echo series in connection with smart home components such as switchable sockets, intelligent heating thermostats, practical shutter switches and networked LED lights in combination with clever routines.

Replacing conventional bulbs with incandescent filaments or halogen technology alone saves a great deal of energy – consumption is reduced by over 80 percent when replacing a 60-watt light bulb with a 10-watt LED model. Even more can be saved if dimmable lamps are used, which can be controlled via Alexa. Philips is a leader in this area with its Hue series (test report) , which can be seamlessly integrated into the Alexa infrastructure. Other suppliers of Alexa-compatible light sources are AVM with the Fritzdect 500 lamps, TP-Link with the Tapo series or the Swedish furniture store IKEA with its very cheap LEDs from the Tradfri series (test report) .

With the smart light sources from the Hue series, appealing light scenes can be created that can be controlled in an energy-efficient manner by voice and routines.

Using the example of Philips Hue, it can be clearly explained how easily lamps and other smart home components can be integrated into the Alexa infrastructure:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your smartphone and tap “More” in the bottom right
  2. Go to the Skills and Games section and tap the magnifying glass icon in the top right
  3. Enter “Philips Hue” in the search field and confirm, then select the “Hue” skill
  4. Establish and approve account linking by entering Philips Hue credentials
  5. The right hubs and lamps are then searched for and displayed in the “Devices” tab in the Alexa app
Groups of devices are easy to create in the Alexa app, allowing multiple lights to be dimmed, turned on or off at the same time. 

By creating groups within the Alexa app, several lamps can be combined so that, for example, the entire living room or dining room lighting can be switched on and off with just one voice command. Simply swipe all the way down in the Groups section and select the Create a Group tile, followed by Create a Room or Device Group. After the group name has been selected or entered – for example “Dining Room” – any number of lamps such as “Hue Color Lamp” can be added and controlled together from then on. The voice command “Alexa, turn off the dining room” turns off all the lights in the room in question. Dimmable lamps not only ensure a cozy lighting atmosphere, but also save energy. With voice commands like “Alexa, Tip: After installing the Hue skill, the device overview also contains a predefined group called “All Hue lights”, which can be used to switch all the lights in the whole house on or off and dim them with just one voice command.

According to the manufacturer, smart radiator thermostats ( theme world ) save up to 30 percent energy, whereby the actual savings potential, depending on the spatial conditions, is usually between 10 and 20 percent – in view of the astronomically high oil and gas prices, this is still a considerable saving. Systems such as AVM FRITZ!DECT 301 (test report) , Tado V3+ (test report) or Homematic IP (test report) usually come with their own operating and energy saving plans, but in combination with Alexa, convenient voice control and integration into smart routines are added.

After the account link (see previous section), the device overview of the Alexa app not only contains the thermostats themselves, but in most cases also predefined scenarios such as lowering the temperature by a certain value or an energy-saving mode that lowers the temperature at night or at night Absence reduced to 15 to 17°C. These scenes can be added to your own groups, such as “I’ll be gone then”, so that the voice command “Alexa, I’ll be gone then” triggers the energy saving protocol and lowers individual or all radiators in the whole house to the desired absence temperature.

Of course, the targeted control of individual radiators or certain rooms with several radiators is also possible. To do this, new groups with catchy names such as “Living room heater” or “Sofa radiator” are simply created in the group area of ​​the Alexa app and filled with the desired thermostat(s) from the list. For example, the thermostat in the kitchen with a cryptic manufacturer name can be easily packed into the “Kitchen heating” group so that the command “Alexa, set the kitchen heating to 19°” sets the desired temperature, while the three radiators in the living room can be controlled with the command ” Alexa, set living room to 19°” can be regulated in one go.

Radiator thermostats can be selected, renamed or combined in groups both in the Alexa app and in the web interface on the PC

“Stupid” electrical devices and lamps without a WLAN connection can be integrated into the smart home via smart sockets ( guide ). In this way, not only is it possible to control table lamps, uplighters or fans by voice, but also to detect hidden energy guzzlers. Because most smart sockets such as AVM FRITZ!DECT 210 (test report) , Homematic IP (test report) or particularly inexpensive models from Chinese manufacturers such as Meross(Link to the provider) are equipped with integrated consumption meters that measure and log the consumption of the connected devices so that they can be evaluated with the associated software on the PC monitor or smartphone display. For example, the standby consumption of a TV system with an external receiver can certainly come as a surprise, because the receivers from Telekom Magenta TV or Vodafone GigaTV consume between 5 and 10 W even when they are supposed to be switched off, which only changes when you switch to the Deep standby mode or power cuts can be prevented.

In order to save electricity by shouting, an Alexa-compatible socket can, for example, be switched in front of the plug strip of the entertainment electronics in the living room, into which the television, receiver, soundbar, game console and the like are plugged in. The socket is packed into a group called “Home Theater” in the group overview of the Alexa app, so the command “Alexa, home theater off” cuts the power supply for all connected devices, which means that no more standby energy is wasted as a result. Only the socket itself needs about 0.3 to 0.5 W.

On the trail of power guzzlers: in the web interface of the FRITZ!Box, the energy consumption measured via the smart socket can be displayed in the form of a daily, weekly or yearly diagram. 
Smart home devices such as roller shutter buttons can be routinely controlled depending on the position of the sun. Image: TechStage.de