One booth at this year’s Lawrence Energy Conservation Fair will have tools that almost every resident in Lawrence will be able to plug into soon to help save on the electric bill.
And the best part: It’s free.
At this Saturday’s fair, Westar Energy will have its smart meters on display along with a website that has been designed specifically to allow customers to closely monitor their energy usage and then learn how to conserve energy.
Thanks to a $19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, 45,000 smart meters will be installed in Lawrence early next year. Anyone who pays an electric bill will have one.
And while you can ignore the new meter if you want, Eileen Horn, the sustainability coordinator for Lawrence and Douglas County, says it’s a great way to take control of your energy usage.
With smart meters, residents will be able to track their energy use by the hour. Someday, smart meters could connect to home appliances, so household consumption can be tailored around peak energy use.
“It’s a great opportunity to get a sneak preview at what information is available, what it looks like, how to get used to it,” Horn said. “You could be the first person on your block to understand how it works.”
Of course, Westar’s smart meters will be one of many booths offering practical and innovative ways to cut energy costs at the fair.
Here’s more information about the fair, which will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.:
• Exhibits will include area builders, architects, insulators, heating and cooling experts, government agencies, nonprofits and salesman with alternative-fuel vehicles. The event is free and open to the public.
• Throughout the day, speakers will give presentations on sustainable building, state loan programs for home energy efficiency upgrades and plug-in electric vehicles.
• At 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., guided bus tours will leave the fair for the Lawrence Sustainable Homes Tour. On display will be homes where environmentally responsible building technologies and earth-friendly materials were used. The cost is $10 for adults and $3 for children under 14. Homes with passive solar designs, straw-bale walls, a living roof and geothermal heating and cooling systems will be on the tour.
• The Lawrence Transit Service will offer free rides all day.
For information, visit lawrencerecycles.org.