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Energy monitors let residents check appliance efficiency

POSTED April 17, 2012 7:20 p.m.

The library isn’t just for checking out books – it’s for checking out your power usage, too, thanks to a new Turlock Irrigation District initiative.

Two Merced County Libraries now offer “Kill A Watt” monitors for checkout, able to detect which appliances use the most power and cost the most to operate. The monitors were donated by TID.

“TID is always looking for ways to further educate customers about ways to save energy and lower their bills,” said district spokesperson Herb Smart. “The district hopes these monitors will help customers develop greater power usage awareness.”

From refrigerators to televisions and computers, the Kill A Watt monitors can determine the usage of any 120 volt appliance.

The monitors plug in between an appliance and an electrical outlet. Customers enter the cost of electricity, per kilowatt-hour, and the device displays the energy used and the cost of operation.

Using that data, TID says customers can make more intelligent decisions about using their appliances. Whether customers opt to use appliances less, or potentially unplug “energy hogs” which drain electricity even when not in use,

“TID hopes customers learn that even small changes can lead to significant savings every month,” Smart said. “We encourage customers to give energy usage monitors a try, whether on loan from a library or purchased at a hardware store.”

Interested parties simply have to visit the Delhi or Hilmar Library, each of which has two monitors available for checkout. A Merced County library card is required.

The new offering is a boon for the library as well, said Jacque Meriam, Merced County librarian, helping the library fulfill its mission of educating patrons.

“This partnership is a win-win for both entities,” said Meriam. “Working with energy companies allows the county library to help our patrons learn about energy-efficiency and ways to reduce energy consumption within their homes and businesses. Whenever you save energy, you not only save money, you also reduce the demand for such fossil fuels as coal, oil and natural gas.”

TID expects to offer Kill A Watt monitors through Stanislaus County Libraries within the TID service area in the coming weeks.

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