Monday, October 19, 2009

Borrow a kill-a-watt meter from... the local library?

In Portsmouth now everywhere in NH, residents can "check out" a kill-a-watt electricity meter from the library as if they were borrowing a book.

I've blogged a few times about the kill-a-watt electricity consumption meter. This device is simple to use and helps track down power hungary appliances in your household to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

The meter provides a real-time readout of the wattage consumed by an attached appliance and can also track power consumption over time. For example, you can plug your refrigerator into the kill-a-watt for 24 hours to see its daily power usage. Next, you can multiply the power usage by your electricity rate (say around $.15 per kWh) to get the daily cost of running your fridge.

One snag is that the device costs just under $25 and this initial investment can really eat into your potential savings. Portsmouth residents however, can "check out" a kill-a-watt meter from their local library as if they were borrowing a book.

Apparently, the city of Portsmouth is in a friendly competition with the city of Keene to see which town can inform more of their residents about how to reduce their carbon footprint. As part of the effort, two kill-a-watt devices were purchased for the library. It seems like a clever idea to increase awareness and to help residents save some money. Maybe other NH towns could follow this lead?

Here's a link to the Portsmouth Library's web page on the kill-a-watt.

UPDATE: It looks like Portsmouth wasn't the first town with this idea. Check out the comments on the above post for lots of other libraries doing it as well.

UPDATE2 (1/23/09): According to this tweet I just saw from PSNH, and this PSNH energy brief, apparently all NH libraries have kill-a-watt meters that can be loaned out. It's probably a good idea to call first though, since I'd bet these will be hot items.

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