Besides books and DVDs, Danville Public Library patrons can check out gadgets to help gauge energy use and efficiency in their homes, which translates into saving money on heating and cooling bills.
Through a partnership between the library and Danville Utilities, thermal energy cameras and energy usage monitors are available at the library on Patton Street.
The new devices are in response to complaints of high utility bills this past winter, said Danville Utilities Director Jason Grey.
“A lot of customers will find it easier and hopefully learn a lot from using them,” Grey said. “Our overall goal is to help customers reduce their kilowatt-hour consumption through energy efficiency.”
The thermal energy cameras can be hooked up to an iPhone or Android — the library has two for each phone type — and can take pictures of any hot and cold pockets around windows and doors in a home.
“I think it’s going to be really popular,” said Joe Zappacosta, library director.
The cameras work in conjunction with an app that can be downloaded for free.
“The two will work together to take photographs,” Zappacosta said, adding that time-lapse video is available as well.
Spotting hot and cold areas around doorways and windows will help people see where hot or cold air is getting into their homes during the summer and winter months.
Households waste about $200 to $400 per year as a result of drafty doors, windows and other air leaks, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Cameras also come with a charger and, in addition to the energy usage monitors, can be checked out for free. They can be borrowed from the library for a week.
The cameras cost the city about $200 each, while the two monitors ran $20-$30 each. They were paid for out of Danville Utilities’ energy efficiency fund, which has about $400,000-$500,000.
The Kill-A-Watt energy monitors can be plugged into an outlet, and a device can be plugged into the monitor for the customer to find out how much energy that device uses. Users can compare their device’s energy consumption to the average expected energy use, Grey said.
If the cameras and monitors prove to be popular, Grey said, Danville Utilities and the library may make more available in the future.
“If we find that the demand is higher, we’ll look to add a few more,” he said.
Zappacosta said the library is a fitting location for providing the items and he wanted to expand its offerings.
“It seemed like a good central location for lending out materials,” he said. “We want to branch out.”
Those with questions about cameras’ and monitors’ results can call Janet Davis at Danville Utilities at (434) 799-5268.
Customers must present a Danville Public Library card to check out the cameras and monitors. Library cards are available at no cost to city residents and residents within a 50-mile radius of the city.
Danville also offers HomeSave, a rebate program offering cash rebates to customers who buy qualifying new energy-efficient upgrades for their homes.
After the purchase, customers can obtain the rebate by filling out the HomeSave application and sending it — along with proof of purchase — to Danville Utilities by mail, fax or email. A check will be mailed upon approval.
Rebates are offered on qualifying central air conditioners, heat pumps, HVAC tune-ups, attic insulation, wall insulation, floor insulation, crawlspace insulation, Energy star windows, and smart thermostats.