The Energy Impacts of Smart Speakers and Video Streaming Devices

Authored with Gregg Hardy and Mike Tian, Pacific Crest Labs

Video streaming devices and smart speakers (also sometimes called voice or digital assistants) are growing in popularity—almost 100 million of these devices have been purchased and installed by consumers in the United States over the past few years. However, there has been little information available about their energy consumption.

NRDC retained Pacific Crest Labs to test the power use of these devices in both their “on” and “standby” modes. Our research found that these devices are generally energy efficient; however, linking smart speakers to a television can cause its standby power and overall annual energy use to skyrocket. This spike in energy consumption, which could exceed $1 billion annually, could be easily avoided if all TV models were designed to sleep at less than 1 or 2 watts when connected to a smart speaker, which some manufacturers already do.

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