DPU And Library System Partner To Bring Hands-On Conservation Tools To Community


The Los Alamos Public Library System and the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) are partnering to bring hands-on conservation tools to the community through the new Library of Things.

Community members will have three chances in the next two weeks to demo the kits before they are officially available for checkout.

Induction cooktop kits and Kill-A-Watt Power Meter kits will be on hand at the library’s booth at the Earth Day festival 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 22 at the Los Alamos Nature Center. DPU staff will be on hand to demo the kits at two additional Library of Things launch events.

The first will be held on Saturday, April 29, at the Mesa Public Library, and the second will be held at the White Rock Branch Library on Saturday, May 6. Both events will run from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

A limited number of kits will be available for check out by library patrons after the April 29 launch event.

The Library of Things is a growing collection of non-traditional library items like yoga kits, book discussion kits, telescopes, museum passes and more. All DPU-sponsored kits are intended to empower Los Alamos County residents to explore ways to conserve energy.

“This partnership with the library is helping DPU to reach into the community beyond our account holders,” said Water and Energy Conservation Coordinator Abbey Hayward. “We know there are folks here who don’t put their hands on utility bills or directly receive our messaging. We want to educate and inspire as many people as possible to conserve energy and the Library of Things is a great way to expand our reach.”

DPU launched its popular Induction Cooktop Loaner Program last summer to give utility customers a chance to try out induction cooking technology. Induction cooktops are more energy efficient than traditional electric and gas stovetops. DPU continues to maintain a customer waiting list for the program.

As such, DPU provided two additional cooktops for the Library of Things. DPU customers who have been on the waitlist to try out a cooktop will be able to reserve one through the library instead if they wish, as will library patrons who are not utility customers.

For anyone who wishes to reduce their electricity consumption, the Kill-A-Watt electric watt meter can help. DPU contributed several of these items to the Library of Things so that community members can see just how much electricity is being consumed by electronics and appliances, even when not in use. The Kill-A-Watt counts consumption by the kilowatt hour, calculates electricity expenses by days, weeks, months or years, and is already programmed with DPU’s current electric rates.

Home energy audits can help homeowners analyze energy use, find ways to increase energy efficiency, and save money on utility bills in the long run. DPU will be adding thermal imaging cameras to the Library of Things soon so that community members may use them to conduct their own home energy audits. The cameras are compatible with iPhones and Android phones, and require download of certain apps for best results. The devices enable phone cameras to take infrared photographs that indicate drafts and spots where insulation is lacking.

“We have been working hard to put the Library of Things together and are excited that it’s finally ready to go,” said Eva Jacobsen, senior librarian of community engagement. “DPU’s contributions to this non-traditional collection will be useful tools for patrons who want to make a difference when it comes to conservation and sustainability.”

During the demo events, the library and DPU will also launch a resource conservation bingo that will run through July. Bingo players will compete to win energy efficiency-themed prizes. Bingo winners will be drawn and announced during Los Alamos ScienceFest on July 8.