The device, called a Vending Miser, uses motion-sensor technology to turn off the machine during extended periods of non-use, cutting energy consumption and costs by about 46%.
Glendale is the first city in Southern California to install the devices.
Officials estimate the savings to be about 1,610 kilowatt-hours, or $150 annually, per machine. If all 1,000 devices are installed, the program will save more than 3.6 million kilowatt-hours a year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,400 tons.
Utility officials said they hope to have the devices installed in the about 80 city-owned vending machines in the next few weeks, followed by all machines on local school campuses.
The rest of the devices are available for private customers free of charge, said Hector Gutierrez, the program manager.
The utility plans to unveil a marketing campaign to encourage customers to make appointments to have the devices installed.
“Everyone right now, with the state of the economy, is looking into saving more on the energy bills,” he said.
The devices will save the most energy on night and weekends, when the vending machines are rarely in use, Gutierrez said.
The utility’s program is part of a larger initiative organized by the Southern California Public Power Authority, of which Glendale Water & Power is a member.
In May, the authority awarded a multimillion-dollar contract with K.J. Kammerer & Associates for the installation of the devices. The regional program has the potential to save customers more than $6 million per year, according to the association.
Steiger said that energy-saving programs are becoming an important part of the power industry’s push to become more sustainable despite the fact that they actually result in lost a reduction of income for the utility.
“Energy efficiency is become a more and more integral part of what we do,” he said.