Ideas for architecting floors, areas and labels


I am setting up Home Assistant for a house that has 2 buildings within a single house lot. Each building has 2 floors.

The buildings are large and have close to 300 IoT devices and 5300 entities, with tons more to be added. The building on the right is where the family lives, and the building on the left is used for leasure.

My main issue here is the ability to properly describe this structure so it can be used properly with assistants such as Alexa.

The other issue I have at hand is where I can assign an Alexa speaker to a particular area, and be able to ask it to “turn the lights on” and have it turn on the lights only for that particular area. This can be easily accomplished with Alexa alone, but it seems a challenge when doing that with Home Assistant + Alexa.

Any help could be greatly appreciated.


I would do this with 2 instances of HA, one in each building, and then use remote-homeassistant to link them together. That way, each instance can have it’s own layout (floors, areas, etc) and you can still access the devices remotely as you need to in your “main” instance.

I’ve gotten around this by using groups in Alexa and some very specific naming. It works, but not as well as I would like it to.

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Would you have it done any other way? This seems to introduce more complexity than I would like.

As for the Alexa groups, would you please give me an example?

It depends on the distance between the buildings and devices and such. Zigbee and zwave can be extended to separate buildings, but HA has no concept of floors in a different building. So, you might be able to get creative with your naming or something like that. My main concern though would be the signal loss between the buildings, especially depending on the construction materials used.

Sure. In Alexa, I create groups that match my areas in HA and add all the devices from an area into its group along with naming the devices by area (“light.living_room_light_1”). This seems to help with phrases like “turn off the lights” sometimes.

The buildings are 32 feet apart from each other, and are connected with fiber. WiFi coverage is excellent throughout the property, as it has lots of WiFi routers to ensure coverage.

I would rather have one server and be able to map this to floors and areas. The thing is how to handle the different buildings? Through Labels? Through different floors?

Oh, that’s not bad then.

The real question is what are you going to use floors for? If you’re not going to really reference them in scripts, automations and/or templates, it might make sense to just ignore floors for now and use labels.

Floors will be referenced everywhere, including automation, scripts, etc. The major thing here is to separate them by buildings (or like ALL for everything).

As each building has two floors (ground level and 1), I would rather have them as floors so users can have the option to “Alexa, turn off the 1st floor” (or 2nd floor for that matter).

To be honest, without using custom routines in Alexa, I don’t know how you would accomplish that. Alexa has no concept of floors. You could use custom phrases for that and groups, but that would be outside of HA.