Customers of the Los Gatos Library can view free “DIY Energy Saving Toolkits,” filled with items to help reduce home energy use.
Reducing energy consumption is an important step in the fight against climate change and sustainable living, according to National Resources Defense Council.
The toolkits come from Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), a Sunnyvale-based nonprofit that provides clean, carbon-free electricity to 13 Silicon Valley communities, including Los Gatos. They are available at checkout at most Santa Clara County libraries.
Matt Lundy, community outreach manager for SVCE, said kit items, such as low-flow faucet aerators and water leak detection tablets, can help increase energy efficiency and reduce the bills.
“It’s a lot of things — tools, materials that anyone can use — and they’re all centered around improving your home’s energy situation,” Lundy said, “making things more energy efficient, by making sure you don’t waste energy or heat up.”
The toolkits come with items the user keeps, like LED bulbs, weather stripping for windows and doors and efficient batteries, said Michaela Pippin, SVCE communications specialist.
Other items like infrared thermometers and a Kill-A-Watt meter to measure the energy consumption of appliances and equipment are being returned to the library.
“We keep [the kits] stored, so we coordinate with the libraries to populate them as they are checked out,” Pippin said.
The Los Gatos Library has four kits available at checkout. In 2021, those four kits were checked 14 times, Lundy said.
“Basically, you don’t want to waste energy because you’re paying for energy, so wasted energy means wasted money,” Lundy said. “Plus, using fewer resources helps reduce the amount of emissions or strain on the network.”
SVCE also offers other services and resources to customers, such as rebates for replacing gas water heaters with electric pump water heaters.
The kits are perfect for those looking for a simple, low-commitment way to reduce energy consumption, Pippin said.
“The toolkits are kind of a stepping stone to bigger changes, so if you know you have a lot of electronic waste in your home, you might want to lower your energy bill,” said Pipin. “You can also learn about other things in your home that you may not be aware of that are driving up your energy bill.”
SVCE took over the state toolkit program in 2019 and relaunched it in January 2020, just before the pandemic. Demand for restocking the kits has been relatively low over the past two years, but Pippin said the nonprofit hopes to raise awareness and get more residents to check out the kits.
“I think something we’ve been missing over the past two years is being outside and getting to know our community members, answering questions. We have these programs available beyond DIY toolkits,” Pippin said. “We really want to support our customers no matter what part of their journey, because this is truly a community effort.”