Library to help citizens monitor home power use

  • Jun. 1, 2011 3:20 p.m.

Red Deer Public Library is soon going to be offering a means to bolster awareness about energy usage.

Folks will be able to find out how much energy and money is wasted at home and be more environmentally conscious by using a Kill-a-Watt device. Members can sign out a palm-sized electricity usage monitors which are now available for loan.

RDPL recently received six ‘Kill-a-Watts’ from the City of Red Deer’s Electric Light and Power Department.

Residents can plug the Kill-a-Watt into a socket and key in the electricity rate. (This appears on electricity bills). Then an appliance or machine can be plugged into the Kill-a-Watt to find out how much electricity it uses and how much it costs to run.

“I began with my lap top computer,” said Glynis Wilson Boultbee, the Library’s community development consultant. “Although I did know this already, the Kill-a-Watt made it very clear that even if I turn my lap top off, I’m still using a little electricity.

“I also could see the energy consumption (and cost) when it’s ‘on’, in ‘sleep’ mode or

in ‘hibernate’ mode. Since then, my husband and I have been more careful to put

our laptops ‘to bed’ or ‘in the cave’ during short absences. And we turn them off and

unplug them for longer periods. I figure between our two laptops, these energy-saving

practices could save us up to $20 a year.”

She also said she was astonished to learn how much electricity other home office equipment uses.

“My printer can be a real energy guzzler. What’s more, my computer is a sensitive and reluctant sleeper. Every time I download a new version of something, the settings seem to get bumped and it doesn’t want to go to sleep any more.

“I haven’t been as quick to deal with that as I could be, but I’m going to work harder at solving this issue now. After experimenting with a variety of options, I figured out how I could save electricity – and about $40 a year.”

A lunchbag seminar is set for June 3 on microgeneration – basic concepts on connecting residential solar generation to the utility.

Garfield Lee, the City’s senior distribution engineer, will be giving a presentation on the basics of utility power distribution, the common micro-generation methods, the technical challenges in combining these and the regulatory process presently in place for connecting micro-generation.

For more information, check out the Library’s ‘Rediscover Green’ web site (