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Sustainability Programs

Jefferson County Public Library

Innovation Leader: Stacy McKenzie, Program and Education Coordinator, stacy.mckenzie@jeffcolibrary.org

Problem Statement

In an era of diminishing resources, it’s sometimes difficult to expand programming. However, one of our strategic priorities is to be a good neighbor, by adopting and promoting sustainable practices. Recently, we’ve been able to launch two new programs at little or no cost to the library, by partnering with local community groups.

Innovation

#1: In 2010, we launched an innovative partnership with Xcel Energy to offer energy meters for checkout. Xcel provided 50 Power Check Energy Meters, which measure the voltage, electricity cost and electric consumption of common household appliances. Patrons can use them with any standard 120-volt appliance or electronic device to determine the approximate operating costs of various appliances; identify high-energy-use appliances; predict savings in reducing appliance use; calculate the cost savings for replacing older appliances with more energy-efficient models; and discover “energy vampires” i.e., appliances that use energy even when switched off. Each meter kit comes with overview information and instructions in English and Spanish. In 2010, approximately 320 patrons availed themselves of this opportunity. #2: This year, we are partnering with Colorado Interfaith Power and Light to offer a series of Energy Saver workshops to help community members reduce home energy use and cost. In these free one-hour workshops, presenters provide information and resources on how to make easy, low-cost changes in home energy use, and how to apply for low-income utility assistance, appliance rebates and tax credits. Presenters also help each attendee create a personalized home energy conservation plan, and each workshop participant receives a compact fluorescent light bulb (compliments of CIPL) to take home.

Progress

These programs are a definite win/win, allowing us to promote sustainability in our communities, help patrons lower their energy use and cost, and strengthen relationships with local community groups. We hope to explore additional partnership opportunities as we go forward.