« Back to Civic & Community Engagement

Kill-a-Watt Monitors

Sacramento Public Library
Go to Website

Innovation Summary

The Sacramento Public Library partnered with the local municipal utility company to circulate residential energy usage monitors.

Problem Statement

Sacramento Public Library’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2015 includes the goal of increasing positive public awareness, engagement, and ownership of the library. Objectives toward reaching this goal include creating additional partnerships.


When offered a donation of energy usage monitors by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the Library embraced the opportunity to partner with them, in full support of their mission to inform the community and promote residential energy savings, while also helping the Library meet strategic goals. SMUD donated 56 energy usage monitors (Kill A Watt EZ), along with cases, instructions for use, and survey response cards. The devices identify home appliances that use the most power and are most costly to operate. The Library cataloged and prepared this unique format for circulation. With publicity released jointly by the Library and SMUD, the Kill A Watt monitors were launched on January 17, 2012 (Benjamin Franklin’s birthday!).


Through this partnership, Sacramento Public Library was able to help SMUD facilitate the marketing and distribution of the monitors by utilizing the Library’s services and 29 easily accessible locations throughout the county. The popularity of the monitors is reflected in the circulation statistics. They have all been in circulation since the launch. During the first two months, the 56 meters circulated 149 times, and consistently had between 50-70 holds placed. One hundred percent of the Initial survey respondents indicated that the monitor helped them understand energy charges on their utility bill; 75% indicated that they would make less use of the appliances that cost more to run. SMUD has a newer product that will monitor usage for an entire residence. In partnership with them, the Library will circulate the new devices, tentatively planned to launch in June 2012.