OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) – The Johnson County Health and Environment Department is partnering with the Johnson County Library to offer Kill-A-Watt meters for public checkout.
Called Power Sucks, the program is aimed at helping conserve electricity. For library patrons, you can check out the meter for up to two weeks at no charge. The meters will be found at all library locations.
Home appliances and electronics can be plugged into the meters, which can be plugged into wall outlets. The meters will measure the wattage use and convert it to dollars.
The average home spends up to 10 percent of their energy bill each month on powering devices in the standby mode. That means the appliances and electronics are still sucking power even if they aren’t in use.
Examples are computers in sleep mode, power cords plugged into the wall but not connected to a device and electronics with a digital display such as a DVD player. The modern household has an average of 27 electrical gadgets and the cost of powering them can add up.
Betsy Betros, Johnson County environmental division director, said a laptop on continuously for a year would cost $130. Sleep mode would cost $12 for a year.
“Those add up to pretty significant numbers you could put back in your pocket,” Betros said. “It’s a way for the consumer to find out what their real energy consumption is.”
Powered with that knowledge, residents can decide what if any changes they want to make to their electric habits, thus saving them money.
“You won’t really know until you test,” Betros said. “You might be surprised that some gadgets take next to no energy and some are quite the hog of energy.”
A coffee maker with a clock can cost $40 in a year even if you never make a cup of Joe.
There are also environmental considerations, Betros said.
“If we keep using more and more electricity, we’ve got to build more power plants, get more coal, more uranium,” Betros said. “It’s a big cycle there.”
The library has 95 meters that can be checked out. A federal energy grant helped pay the costs.
“You will undoubtedly see huge energy savings by how you treat your electronic equipment,” she said. “It’s really a way of empowering the consumer to take control of their power consumption… Rather than check out a book, check out your energy consumption. Not only will you be helping yourself, but you’ll be helping the environment.”