Measure and reduce energy consumption – this is how it works

All Philips Hue lamps and light sources have always been based on LEDs, which are already energy efficient. But as you know, there are also differences here. And at least since the new energy efficiency classes, an (older) Hue light with an “F” doesn’t even feel that good. But there are two things you should know in advance: The cost of energy consumption is easy to calculate. And you can also save power and money with simple tricks and practical accessories.

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How much power do Philips Hue lights use?

Unlike some other smart lamps, Philips Hue kan optionto measure the real energy consumption of all lights in the household. This is not technically possible. But: Manufacturer Signify clearly indicates how high the maximum power consumption can be.

Most Hue lamps require 0.5 watts in standby mode. (Photo: Signify)

What you should definitely count on: The standby power consumption is average 0.50 watts per lamp. This also applies to light strips or table lamps. Depending on the LEDs you use and the current electricity price, additional costs of up to 2 euros per year may arise. For every lamp! Ceiling lamps, which you normally turn on and off using a classic wall switch, do not require any significant standby power.

Of operating current consumption is against individually and depending on the maximum brightness. The 1100 lm strong E27 lamp from Philips Hue needs 9.5 watts, an E14 with 470 lm 5.5 watts. It also matters whether you use these lamps at maximum brightness, dim them or only use them as night lights.

Power consumption of current Hue lights (examples)

Philips Hue White E27 1100lm Power consumption: 9.5W
Standby: 0.43W
Philips Hue White E14 470lm Power consumption: 5.5W
Standby: 0.5W
Philips Hue E27 Globe Power consumption: 7W
Standby: 0.5W
Philips Hue E27 White & Color Ambiance Power consumption: 6.5W
Standby: 0.5W
Philips Hue gradient light strip 2 meters Power consumption: 20W
Standby: not known

Another “power guzzler” usually cannot be avoided: The Philips Hue bridge (Version 2) requires around 1.5 watts in standby, which corresponds to just over 13 kWh per year. So that means: 5 euros per year cost you the control unit alone.

How much does Philips Hue cost me to operate?

Using our electricity price calculator, you can work out how much your lamps cost:

Measuring consumption: EKMs can help

It is not easy to measure the power consumption of LEDs with an ordinary lamp socket. Because there are no notable measuring devices that make it possible to do this in a simple way that is also comprehensible to lay people.

The EKM from Hama measures with an accuracy of 0.1 watts.  (Photo: Hama)
The EKM from Hama measures with an accuracy of 0.1 watts. (Photo: Hama)

The situation is different with Lightstrips and Hue table lamps, which have a standard socket. Here it pays to buy an energy cost meter (EKM). You can use this to examine all consumers in your home. Prices start at less than 20 euros.

How can I save energy with Philips Hue?

If you actively use Philips Hue with several lamps, you can save energy in everyday life. And that without having to compromise on comfort:

low light: According to Signify, you reduce your lights' energy consumption by up to 51 percent if you dim them down to 70 percent. With 50 percent attenuation, there are even energy savings of up to 75 percent. One aspect must be mentioned here: The integrated dimmer, which takes over this function, always needs some energy itself. Here, an EKM may help to find a balance between energy consumption and brightness.

Even dimming saves energy.  (Photo: Signify)
Even dimming saves energy. (Photo: Signify)

Colored light and light scenes: White light requires more power than colored light. Depending on the color, you can save up to 79 percent of energy. Signify indicates the following savings potential (compared to white):

  • Blue: 79%
  • Red: 72%
  • Green: 68%
  • Magenta: 61%
  • Cyan: 59%
  • Yellow: 54%
Another color and you can save energy with Philips Hue.  (Photo: Signify)
Another color and you can save energy with Philips Hue. (Photo: Signify)

At this point at the latest, the available light scenes come into play. Particularly color-intensive such as "Tropical Twilight" (82% savings), "Galaxy" (88%), "Blood Moon" (88%) or Tokyo (87%) can reduce costs. The most popular Hue scenes "Sunset", "Savannah" and "Northern Lights" still have a potential saving of around 70 percent.

Save energy with accessories

With accessories and a little sacrifice, you can make future electricity bills seem a little friendlier – when they're lower than you might have thought.

Forego Hue Bridge: If you have a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo, it may have a built-in Zigbee hub. With this you can control your Hue lamps without a Hue Bridge. The reconfiguration can be complex, but you can save energy because the Hue Bridge is no longer in operation. But: As mentioned above, it is approximately 5 euros per year. The new smart home standard Matter should make the transition easier in the future.

Motion sensors: If you are one of those forgetful people who like to leave the lights on, motion sensors can help. The Hue Motion Sensor can be used in many ways in the home, for example in the hallway. The lamp switches on when there is movement and switches off after five minutes if, for example, not used. Such a sensor is especially useful for more complex Hue configurations with many lights and larger rooms. But: this accessory also requires energy - two AAA batteries per year, roughly.

Switches keep you in control, and you can quickly turn off lights anywhere in the home.  (Photo: Signify)
Switches keep you in control, and you can quickly turn off lights anywhere in the home. (Photo: Signify)

Contact: With the wireless dimming switch or smart button, you can turn off all the lights in your home with the push of a button. There is no faster way to turn off the lights – for example, when you leave your own four walls or go to bed. Lamps can also be dimmed faster and more intuitively than via the app.

Smart radio-controlled sockets: A number of smart sockets are compatible with Philips Hue. With these you can connect classic lamps to the smart home, control them and turn them on or off purposefully. Grandma's old floor lamp or even the power strip on the TV automatically switches off at night - so you can't forget them anymore.

Additional optimizations with the Hue app and voice assistants

There are also a couple of "adjustment screws" that can be found in the Hue app. Creating a language assistant is just as convenient for some…

Automations: If you haven't yet set up any automations with Philips Hue, you can also save power with them. For example, set all lights to turn off automatically when you leave the house. Or configure the LEDs to turn off or slowly dim at night. Timers, on the other hand, show when lamps should light up and for how long. Automations allow you to optimize the duration of the light and not leave lamps on unnecessarily. You can find them in the Hue app under "Automations". To configure it, tap the + icon on the top right.

Color zones: In the Hue app, the so-called zones (3-point menu at the top right) can be used in the "Home" tab. With these you can very quickly and easily control larger groups of lamps. For example, all LEDs on the top floor of a house. On the "Home" tab, you turn entire zones on and off within a second. Or let it show you how many lamps are still active in these. That way, you always have an overview. You can also use switches to control zones.

Voice control: You can operate your Hue lamps with Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri. Configure the assistants to use simple, easy-to-remember voice commands to turn off areas you are not currently in. Switching off the light in the children's room from the sofa - it's practical and saves electricity.

Check your installation

It sounds trite, but it may be worth checking your own smart home more closely. Can you still optimize the times or brightness a bit with your automations? Do you really need a motion sensor in the storage room that is rarely visited, or would it be better placed in the hallway? Go through lamp by lamp again and consider if anything could be saved.

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