Kill A Watt on the shelf: Photo by Katie
I don't know about you, but I love the library. Mine is a very good one. In Williamsburg, I got fed up with it's branch of the Brooklyn Public Library which was only open till seven one day of the week. It had a decent selection of comic books, but every other section in the library was lacking. I haven't visited it in two years. But the Brooks Memorial Library is open till nine three nights a week. It has a variety of new and old books, magazines, CDs, VHS casettes, DVDs, and one more thing: a Kill A Watt.
Kill A Watt is a brand of electricity usage monitor. You can buy various electricity usage monitors for anywhere from $25 to $100. They have different bells and whistles, but you really don't need to use them very often. You take the Kill A Watt, plug it into the wall, and then plug your 120v appliances into them for a day or more. The Kill A Watt measures how much electricity runs through it and how much time has elapsed. You can use this to find phantom loads (the electricity used by things that are turned off) as well as to find out how much electricity it takes to do something like watch your favorite television show. It can help you remember to unplug appliances that are wasting energy.
So it's fantastic that I don't own it and can just return it to the library. Someone else can use the same Kill A Watt that I've been using, and I don't have to know them or give it to them. This is part of a state-wide program from the Sustainable Energy Resource Group and they should be available in many Vermont libraries. But if you're not in Vermont, many other libraries have them available too. If your library doesn't, ask for them to get one.