Kill A Watt at Your Local Library
By year’s end, all of Indiana’s public libraries could allow borrowers to check out home energy-monitoring devices at local branches, thanks to a little idea by an electric cooperative that’s getting much bigger.
South Central Indiana REMC began the Kill A Watt program in a few southern Indiana libraries by donating the devices and was urged by a state library official to expand it statewide.
Kill A Watt is the brand name of a monitor that plugs directly into an appliance to measure energy use in kilowatt-hours.
“We wanted to start the program in our service territory, and I contacted the Indiana State Library,” said Maura Giles, manager of cooperative relations at the Martinsville-based co-op.
“We got to talking and [Steve Schmidt, development supervisor] said, ‘We’d love to get these in all of our libraries.’”
Inspired, Giles, whom Schmidt calls the “brains and brawn” behind the initiative, got to work.
First, she decided to focus on co-ops and libraries in the southern half of Indiana and approached Hoosier Energy, the Bloomington-based G&T serving that part of the state.
“I wanted to make it easy for co-ops to participate,” said Giles. “I offered to make the templates for posters and flyers and stickers for the kits. One of their marketing people and I worked on a manual, specifically for lay people like me who don’t know everything about electricity.”
The G&T is also helping individual co-ops foot the bill for the kits, which will soon be available in the 118 libraries in southern Indiana. And the Indiana State Library is helping local branches with publicity and lending logistics.
Recently, Giles proposed the idea to Wabash Valley Power Association, and the Indianapolis-based G&T serving co-ops in the northern half of Indiana “thought it was a great idea.”
“Since it’s the International Year of Cooperatives, it would be great to have meters in all of the libraries. That can really promote what cooperatives are all about.”
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