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Energy Office to Help Businesses Get ‘WISE’ About Saving Energy

Small and medium-sized businesses crippled by rising energy bills can take advantage of a new V.I Energy Office program that can lower their energy use—and their costs—by at least 15 percent.

Members of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce met Thursday morning with Energy Office officials and others to discuss the Worthwhile Investments Save Energy program, aka WISE.

"This is to help the business community, the small and medium-sized businesses which are being hurt by the rising cost of energy," said Miguel Quinones, program specialist from the Energy Office.

WISE is a partnership between the Energy Office, Quality Electric Supply Inc. and the Atlanta-based Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance. The program offers an energy retrofit and rebate program for small businesses.

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According to Quinones, any business that uses less than 30,000 kilowatt hours a month and owns its own building or has a long-term lease can apply for admission through the Energy Office.

Once accepted, the business will receive an "investment audit," in which its energy use will be analyzed and cost-saving solutions proposed. If the audit suggests measures that would reduce energy use at least 15 percent, the businesses then have 30 days to commit to the project.

Successful applicants will be eligible for a 40-percent rebate on the total cost of the project up to a maximum rebate of $80,000 – which would apply to a $200,000 project.

To qualify, the business owner will have to show the ability to finance 60 percent of the project. As part of the application project, the owners must provide:

• 12 consecutive months of bill from the Water and Power Authority;

• A building description, including the square footage, and a list of key planned energy-efficiency improvements; and

• A bank statement or letter verifying the applicant’s ability to finance the necessary funds to cost share.

Renewable energy project, such as solar water heating or wind generation, are eligible for inclusion in the program, but only if energy-efficiency measures are installed first, reducing the amount of energy used before finding new sources for more energy, Quinones added.

Among the measure eligible are:

• Switches, timers, dimmers and occupancy sensors that reduce demand and consumption, especially to portions of a business that aren’t in use at a given time

• Alternative, low-energy lighting instruments, such as LEDs and compact fluorescent fixtures

• Voltage regulators and power conditioners

• "Air curtains" to reduce loss of cool air from air conditioning units and other materials and equipment to change the way the building takes in heat or releases cool air, including window film and reflective roofing.

Further information on WISE is available by contacting Quinones at 714-8436 extension 4305 or via email at miguel.quinones@eo.vi.gov.

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Small and medium-sized businesses crippled by rising energy bills can take advantage of a new V.I Energy Office program that can lower their energy use—and their costs—by at least 15 percent.

Members of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce met Thursday morning with Energy Office officials and others to discuss the Worthwhile Investments Save Energy program, aka WISE.

"This is to help the business community, the small and medium-sized businesses which are being hurt by the rising cost of energy," said Miguel Quinones, program specialist from the Energy Office.

WISE is a partnership between the Energy Office, Quality Electric Supply Inc. and the Atlanta-based Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance. The program offers an energy retrofit and rebate program for small businesses.

According to Quinones, any business that uses less than 30,000 kilowatt hours a month and owns its own building or has a long-term lease can apply for admission through the Energy Office.

Once accepted, the business will receive an "investment audit," in which its energy use will be analyzed and cost-saving solutions proposed. If the audit suggests measures that would reduce energy use at least 15 percent, the businesses then have 30 days to commit to the project.

Successful applicants will be eligible for a 40-percent rebate on the total cost of the project up to a maximum rebate of $80,000 – which would apply to a $200,000 project.

To qualify, the business owner will have to show the ability to finance 60 percent of the project. As part of the application project, the owners must provide:

• 12 consecutive months of bill from the Water and Power Authority;

• A building description, including the square footage, and a list of key planned energy-efficiency improvements; and

• A bank statement or letter verifying the applicant's ability to finance the necessary funds to cost share.

Renewable energy project, such as solar water heating or wind generation, are eligible for inclusion in the program, but only if energy-efficiency measures are installed first, reducing the amount of energy used before finding new sources for more energy, Quinones added.

Among the measure eligible are:

• Switches, timers, dimmers and occupancy sensors that reduce demand and consumption, especially to portions of a business that aren't in use at a given time

• Alternative, low-energy lighting instruments, such as LEDs and compact fluorescent fixtures

• Voltage regulators and power conditioners

• "Air curtains" to reduce loss of cool air from air conditioning units and other materials and equipment to change the way the building takes in heat or releases cool air, including window film and reflective roofing.

Further information on WISE is available by contacting Quinones at 714-8436 extension 4305 or via email at miguel.quinones@eo.vi.gov.