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April 29, 2014 > DIY Toolkit helps residents reduce energy and water bills

DIY Toolkit helps residents reduce energy and water bills

Submitted By Jennie Loft

Saving money on your energy and water bills, while making your home more comfortable, just got easier for residents in San Josˇ and throughout Santa Clara County. Through public libraries, Silicon Valley Energy Watch is providing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Energy Saving Toolkits stocked with supplies and measuring devices. Just like a book, the toolkits can be checked out. Users may install the supplies and then return the toolkit and devices.

ÒSanta Clara County Library District is delighted to partner with Silicon Valley Energy Watch to provide the DIY Toolkits as a no-cost service that creates a positive impact on our community,Ó said County Librarian Nancy Howe. ÒThe library actually has many free resources that help people save money and lead greener lives.Ó

The toolkits include an illustrated user guide that provides step-by-step instructions on how to measure the energy use and water flow rates of appliances and equipment. It also includes instructions on how to install equipment that reduces energy and water consumption Ñ without sacrificing comfort.

Anyone with a valid library card can borrow a toolkit for up to two weeks from the San Josˇ Public Library (all branches) and Sunnyvale Public Library, and for up to three weeks from the Santa Clara County Library District community libraries in Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and Saratoga.

ÒItÕs always satisfying to take steps that both save money and conserve resources,Ó said Kerrie Romanow, director of San JosˇÕs Environmental Services Department, which administers the Silicon Valley Energy Watch program. ÒSince about a third of our stateÕs energy use happens in homes, conserving energy and water means we each can help reduce greenhouse gases, extend water resources, improve our air quality and lower our dependence on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels.Ó

Toolkit users get to keep four compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), three faucet aerators, a low-flow showerhead, outlet gaskets, weather stripping and water leak detection tablets. Devices that enable the measurement of energy and water use are to be returned to the library in the toolkit box, and include:
A Kill-A-Watt¨ Meter for measuring the energy use of appliances and equipment
A thermal detector that checks for heat loss through windows, vents and doors
A special thermometer that helps set refrigerators and freezers to appropriate temperatures
A water flow rate bag that measures the true rate of flow from faucets and showerheads

To find a nearby Santa Clara County District Library location, visit Residents of San Josˇ can locate their nearest library at

Not a do-it-yourselfer? Residents can also achieve energy savings with the help of energy audits and technical assistance offered at no cost by Acterra Green@Home at (650) 962-9876 or visit, or through PG&EÕs Energy Savings Assistance Program at (800) 743-5000 or

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