April 11, 2006 — Continuing its progressive policy of energy efficiency, the University of the Virgin Islands recently announced the completion of its project to provide energy-efficient treatment to 14 windows in the library and administrative offices in the Melvin H. Evans Center for Learning.
The treatment with Veralux 2000R, a double-glazed, insulated and reflexive glass, allows light in while cutting down on heat. From the outside, the windows look like mirrors.
Arthur Joseph, supervisor of maintenance at UVI, said, "This is a very good investment."
The windows treated were ones that are exposed to direct sunlight for much of the day. Joseph said the areas where the windows have been treated previously heated up during the day, but now, he said, "They stay nice and cool."
UVI expects energy savings in the first year to cover all the costs of the project, which was made possible by a $20,000 grant from the V.I Energy Office's Discretionary Grant Program. The grants are awarded for energy research and education, energy efficient/solar outdoor lighting and building retrofit projects. A grant recipient must pay for at least 20 percent of a project.
Awarded to UVI in June 2004, the grant also included funds for installing sensors at the center's bathrooms and classrooms in order to reduce lighting-related electricity costs. The university, which reports that project has also been completed, again calculated that the energy savings within a year would amount to the total cost of the project — $24,000.
However, the payback period might be sooner than that. When UVI made its calculations, electricity cost 17 cents per kilowatt. It now costs about a quarter per kilowatt.
In 2003 the university completed its solar-powered outdoor lighting system, which was also made available by a grant through the V.I. Energy Office. Joseph said, "We really appreciate what the Energy Office does." The 72 self-sustaining outdoor lights require no outside wiring or energy source other than the sun and reportedly is saving UVI thousands of dollars in electricity costs.
The V.I. Energy Office is a division of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. The office awards grants for energy efficiency projects twice a year.
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