Reducing Electrical Use by Educating With Electrical Use Meters

Name and Position/Title: 
Greg Brenneman, Ag Engineering Field Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted: 

POW Title and Number: 
160  Natural Resources and Stewardship 

Reducing Electrical Use by Educating With Electrical Use Meters

Knowing how much electricity you are using is the first step in conserving electrical usage.  This project educated households in southeast Iowa on their electrical consumption and on ways to reduce their use of electricity.  The program loaned a Kill-A-WattTM electric meter to households for monitoring the electrical usage of different home appliances and to provide participants with information on ways to lower electrical usage. 

This educational program was conducted by the 23 ISU County Extension Offices in the Southeast Iowa Extension area.  This was done by having several Kill-A-WattTM electric meters available in each ISU Extension office for checkout by residents to measure the electrical consumption of various appliances in their home. 

The Kill-A-WattTM meters allow for checking the instantaneous electrical demand of any appliance that can be plugged into a 110 volt outlet.  It also records total electrical consumption in Kwhr over any desired time period.  This Kill-A-WattTM meter showed actual electrical usage while also serving as an “enticement” for learning more about potential ways to conserve on electricity.

Along with the Kill-A-WattTM meter, participants were provided information on electrical use of typical and energy efficient appliances.  Information was also provided on savings resulting from altering usage patterns of appliances.  Examples include the amount of electricity used by computers and other appliances that may be left on even when not in use.  Residents saw first-hand the amount of electrical savings that can result by replacing old and inefficient appliances.

In the past 9 months, ISU Extension offices in SE Iowa reported having the Kill-A-WattTM meters checked out 133 times and having 32 evaluations completed and returned.  On the evaluations, 31 out of 32 respondents indicated they would recommend the program to a friend and gave an overall rating to the program of 4.6 (scale of 1-5).

In addition, of the 32 evaluations, 17 indicated they would purchase energy saving appliances in the future, 21 said they would change some electrical use habits, and 23 planned to replace old appliances with energy saving ones.


160 Natural Resources and Stewardship


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