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New One-Stop-Shop energy kits available to the public

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Just today my husband told me that our electricity bill had been higher last month than the entire seven years we’ve lived in our home. How can that be? We don’t have air conditioning, we turn off lights as we leave rooms, we shut off the ceiling fans and we don’t leave the television or radio operating when we aren’t there.

According to Colorado State University energy specialist Cary Weiner, there are ways for residents to identify energy inefficiencies in their homes and take action to save energy and money. I’m thinking this just might be the thing to help us since youth and adults alike (definitely me!) often don’t understand how energy works.

Teaching energy in schools is required by state standards, but teachers don’t always have access to materials to provide hands-on learning and engagement. To address these residential and educational issues, 30 CSU Extension offices across the state have been equipped with One-Stop-Shop energy kits for use by a variety of community members.

Each kit contains a variety of gadgets, equipment and guidance. Some of the items included are a hand crank generator to charge small appliances or compare energy used by different halogen and LED light bulbs; lux (light) meters; flicker checkers to test the efficiency of ballasts for fluorescent tube lights; Kill-a-Watt monitors to measure appliance electricity use; and a variety of materials used to conduct basic home energy audits.

The entire One-Stop-Shop kit or the Home Energy Audit Loan (HEAL) kit materials can be checked out from county Extension offices by the public. In addition, solar and wind energy kits are available on the Western Slope to teach lessons plans to youth. Watch the video at http://yourenergy.extension.colostate.edu/kits/ to get a sense of the One-Stop-Shop kit then visit http://yourenergy.extension.colostate.edu/ for more energy information.

Elbert County Extension is a cooperative effort between CSU Extension and Elbert County government. Sheila G. Kelley is the Colorado State University extension director for Elbert County. She can be reached at sheila.kelley@colostate.edu.

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