DIY Toolkit at Libraries Helps Residents Reduce Energy and Water Bills

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2014

Toolkit from Silicon Valley Energy Watch Now Available at
San José, Sunnyvale and County Libraries

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif.Saving money on your energy and water bills while making your home more comfortable just got easier for residents in San José and throughout Santa Clara County. Through public libraries, Silicon Valley Energy Watch is providing Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Energy Saving Toolkits stocked with supplies and measuring devices. Just like a book, the toolkits can be checked out. Users may install the supplies and then return the toolkit and devices.

“Santa Clara County Library District is delighted to partner with Silicon Valley Energy Watch to provide the DIY Toolkits as a no-cost service that creates a positive impact on our community,” said County Librarian Nancy Howe. “The library actually has many free resources that help people save money and lead greener lives.” 

The toolkits include an illustrated user guide that provides step-by-step instructions on how to measure the energy use and water flow rates of appliances and equipment. It also includes instructions on how to install equipment that reduces energy and water consumption — without sacrificing comfort.

Anyone with a valid library card can borrow a toolkit for up to two weeks from the San José Public Library (all branches) and Sunnyvale Public Library, and for up to three weeks from the Santa Clara County Library District community libraries in Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and Saratoga.

“It’s always satisfying to take steps that both save money and conserve resources,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of San José’s Environmental Services Department, which administers the Silicon Valley Energy Watch program. “Since about a third of our state’s energy use happens in homes, conserving energy and water means we each can help reduce greenhouse gases, extend water resources, improve our air quality and lower our dependence on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels.”  

Originally piloted at the Cupertino Library, the new DIY Toolkits are made available to the public with the support of the San José Public Library system, the Santa Clara County Library District and the City of Sunnyvale Public Library.

Toolkit users get to keep four compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), three faucet aerators, a low-flow showerhead, outlet gaskets, weather stripping and water leak detection tablets. Devices that enable the measurement of energy and water use are to be returned to the library in the toolkit box, and include:

  • A Kill-A-Watt® Meter for measuring the energy use of appliances and equipment
  • A thermal detector that checks for heat loss through windows, vents and doors
  • A special thermometer that helps set refrigerators and freezers to appropriate temperatures
  • A water flow rate bag that measures the true rate of flow from faucets and showerheads

To find a nearby Santa Clara County District Library location, visit Residents of San José can locate their nearest library at Information for the Sunnyvale public library can be found at

Not a do-it-yourselfer? Residents can also achieve energy savings with the help of energy audits and technical assistance offered at no cost by Acterra Green@Home at 650-962-9876 or visit, or through PG&E’s Energy Savings Assistance Program at 800-743-5000 or

About the Santa Clara County Library District

Known as one of America’s best 100 public libraries, the Santa Clara County Library District’s collection includes more than 1.9 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks and extensive online resources accessible from home or work.

For twelve years, the Library has ranked as one of the best in the nation for its size by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings. Also recognized as one of America’s 2013 Five Star Libraries by Library Journal, the Santa Clara County Library District is one of the most-used public resources in the region.

The Santa Clara County Library District includes two bookmobiles, an online library, seven community libraries and one branch library serving Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. In 2013, the Santa Clara County Library District had more than 215,000 library cardholders and welcomed 3.2 million visitors who borrowed 9.7 million items.  Visit Santa Clara County Library District online at

About Silicon Valley Energy Watch (SVEW)

SVEW is a countywide partnership between the City of San José and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) that has the goal of helping residents and businesses conserve energy easily and inexpensively. SVEW delivers energy efficiency education, outreach, and related services to residents, businesses, and other organizations in Santa Clara County.

Silicon Valley Energy Watch is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Between 2010 and 2012, the program completed over 3,000 energy efficiency projects for PG&E customers in Santa Clara County, saving more than $6 million in annual utility bills and nearly 55 million kilowatt hours in electricity – enough energy to power more than 4,700 homes. In the 2013-14 program cycle, SVEW aims to save nearly 10.5 million kWh. For more information, visit

About Home Energy Use and Green House Gas Emissions

According to the California Energy Commission, our homes use 32 percent of the state’s electricity. Appliances and small electronics consume about 20 percent of the energy used in California households. The State of California has set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced within the state by 2020. Most of our energy is derived from fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas, with crude oil-based petroleum as the dominant source of energy). Energy production from these natural resources contributes largely to greenhouse gas emissions.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit and

Media Contacts:

Jennie Loft
Public Information Manager, City of San José Environmental Services/SVEW
(408) 535-8554

Mónica Tell
Corporate Relations, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
(415) 272-4788

Mark Fink
Library Services Manager for Outreach and Public Awareness, Santa Clara County Library District
(408) 293-2326 ext. 3010

Elizabeth Chavarin
Outreach Representative, San José Public Library
(408) 808-2175

Christine Medoza
Supervising Librarian, Sunnyvale Public Library Department
(408) 730-7694