Going Green: "Kill-A-Watt" Device Makes Saving $$$ Easy and Fun
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For Immediate Release
June 22, 2009
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Going Green: "Kill-A-Watt" Device Makes Saving $$$ Easy and Fun

Mayor Menino announces first of four major citywide initiatives to advance green agenda

Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced the first of four major citywide initiatives he'll reveal this week advancing his agenda to turn Boston into the nation's most environmentally friendly and sustainable city. The announcements – that will continue tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday - include programs featuring citywide single stream recycling, $300,000 for green jobs training and a program providing household energy audits for Boston residents.

The first initiative, an innovative program allowing residents access to a home electronics energy measuring device that can now be borrowed from all Boston Public Library branches, was announced today by Mayor Menino. The devices – each called a Kill-A-Watt ™ – measure the amount of electricity used by individual household appliances and electronics by simply plugging them in through a Kill-A-Watt ™.

"Together we can put a stop to phantom energy use," said Mayor Menino. "By doing a little detective work, the Kill-A-Watt ™ will help residents eliminate wasteful energy use from appliances that continue to draw electricity even when unsuspecting homeowners turn them off. This is a simple way for residents to learn about saving energy and money."

Residents can calculate how much it costs to keep individual appliances plugged in by multiplying the amount measured using the Kill-A-Watt ™ device by the cost per kilowatt hour on their electric bills. Armed with the results, residents can make informed decisions on what appliances to use less, to unplug when shut down completely when not in use, or to invest in power strips to better manage consumption.

"The Kill-A-Watt ™ is a tool that literally puts control of electricity usage right in the palm of your hand," said Tom May, NSTAR's Chairmain, President and CEO. "Customers can now make real-time decisions about how and when to use their appliances in order to save money and cut down on electricity use. I applaud Mayor Menino's efforts to help Boston residents become educated energy consumers."

Two Kill-A-Watt ™ devices are available at all branches of the Boston Public Library and can be borrowed the same way as a book – with a library card. The circulation desk will have the devices as well as a sheet with simple, how to use steps and guide on the back to chart energy use. This information can also be downloaded at www.cityofboston.gov/environmentalandenergy.

"These economic times touch our entire community. The Boston Public Library is delighted to help residents learn about energy use and cost savings," said Amy E. Ryan, President of the Boston Public Library. "The Kill-A-Watt ™ device is an innovative addition to the many free resources that we provide at the Central Library and all 26 of our neighborhood branches."

Standby power is the energy used by some products when they are turned off but still plugged into a power/wall outlet. Standby power is typically 10 to 15 watts per device, and occasionally more. Although the power needed for functions like displays, indicators, and remote control functions is relatively small, the fact that the devices are continuously plugged in, and the number of such devices in the average household means that the energy usage can reach up to 22 percent of all appliance consumption, and approximately 10 percent of total residential consumption. The following types of home electronics often consume standby power:

- TVs and Set-top cable boxes;

- VCRs, DVD players and some audio systems;

- Microwave ovens;

- Computers, digital monitors and printers;

- Air conditioning systems with remote control;

- Devices with "Instant on" functions;

- Devices with a stand-by light or clock;

- Power Adapters; and

- Home video game consoles.

In addition to the Kill-A-Watts ™ being made available at local library branches, the City of Boston has partnered with several community based organizations that will make the devices available to local residents. Community based organizations that have access to the Kill-A-Watts ™ include:

- Boston Climate Action Network;

- Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition;

- West Roxbury Saves Energy;

- Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation;

- Beacon Hill Civic Association Green Committee;

- Mass Energy Consumers Alliance;

- Fenway Community Development Corporation;

- Boston Latin School's Youth CAN (Climate Action Network);

- Asian American Civic Association;

- Boston Building Materials Co-op.

"This program is yet another way that we are engaging residents in a campaign against wasteful energy use," said Jim Hunt, Chief of Environment and Energy for the City. "After all, how many clocks do we really need in our kitchen to be able to tell the time?"

For more information about the Kill-A-Watt and a checklist on how to use the device click here.

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