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(Monday, October 31, 2011)

The EDIN-USVI partners are encouraging local business owners to “VIenergize (pronounced Vy-energize) for the Holidays.” Through the Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) partnership, the V.I. Energy Office, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Departments of Energy and the Interior, and the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority are working with V.I. businesses on solutions to increase energy efficiency and lower energy costs. By taking steps to reduce energy use over the holidays, businesses can lower their energy bills while helping advance the territory’s clean energy goals.

According to WAPA’s Executive Director Hugo V. Hodge Jr. and Energy Office Director Karl Knight, the VIenergize Your Holidays campaign is part of a movement toward energy sustainability and self-sufficiency in the V.I. In 2010 VIEO and WAPA partnered with the U.S Departments of Energy and the Interior, as well as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to work toward reducing the territory’s fossil fuel use 60% by 2025. Because energy efficiency is essential to that goal, the VIenergize campaign is focused on keeping energy conservation and efficiency top of mind among V.I. residents and businesses.

Businesses that VIenergize during this holiday season using these no- and low-cost energy saving tips can save as much as 10% to 25% monthly on their energy bills:

  • Use LED lights for holiday displays for maximum energy savings.
  • Remove grease and dust from bulbs, fixtures, lenses, lamps and reflective surfaces regularly to increase the output of lights.
  • Keep thermostats at 78–80° when people are in the building. It makes little sense to keep a room so cold during the cool season that workers must wear heavy sweaters and jackets. 
  • Keep exterior and freight doors closed as much as possible.
  • Turn down the water heater to 120°; install a timer to regulate “on” time.
  • Don’t use screen savers―they prevent CPUs and monitors from going into power-saver mode.
  • Turn off equipment overnight and on weekends. Use the energy saving feature on printers, monitors, copiers, and computers.
  • Make double-sided copies whenever possible.
  • Stock and encourage customers to buy EPA ENERGY STAR and WaterSense products. Display items such as energy efficient holiday lights and timers in the front of the store for immediate customer attention.

      Restaurants can VIenergize using these energy-saving ideas:

  • Keep equipment clean. Carbon and grease build-up make cooking equipment work harder and use more energy.
  • Do not preheat steam tables, grills, broilers, etc; 15 minutes is generally adequate for preheating ovens, depending on the appliance and desired temperature.
  • Pre-cook foods such as potatoes and chicken in a steamer before frying. Steamers are much more energy efficient.
  • Use microwave ovens as much as possible. They use significantly less energy than conventional ovens and can be used for thawing, partial cooking and reheating food.
  • Schedule cooking times to utilize ovens fully and shorten daily operating times.
  • Cover all pots. This reduces heat loss, and food will cook faster.
  • Do not operate fryers higher than 350º. Higher temperatures are less efficient.
  • Keep your dishwasher temperature at the proper level. Standard temperatures are: 140° F, wash; 160°F, power rinse; 180°F, final rinse. Using hotter water wastes energy. Install timers to heat water only when needed.
  • Use low-flow, pre-rinse spray valves to save energy and water costs. The typical spray valve used to wash dishes by hand runs four gallons of water a minute. A low-flow valve only consumes 1.6 gallons a minute.
  • Exhaust fans are important for air quality, but use fans at speeds no higher than necessary.
  • Install motion sensors in proper locations such as restrooms to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present.
  • Install ENERGY STAR qualified exit signs. These signs reduce maintenance by eliminating lamp replacement and can save businesses up to $100 per sign annually in electricity costs, while preventing up to 500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

To find out more about the EDIN-USVI energy revolution and how you can be part of the solution, visit,