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This Leap Year, consider the resources Floridians use in one day

Trees in the Everglades are pictured. From UF/IFAS photo archive.

Click here for high resolution image. Caption at bottom.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With an extra day on the calendar this year— leap day — there’s time to stop and think about how much resource consumption occurs in one day in Florida.

A University of Florida economist shared information on how much energy, food and water Floridians use in just one day.

In a 24-hour span, Floridians will use more than 11.3 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy from coal, natural gas, petroleum products and electricity, said Rodney Clouser, associate chair of UF’s Food and Resource Economics department, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

They’ll eat 60.5 million pounds of food that includes red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fats and oils, flour and cereal products, sugars and sweeteners and peanuts, nuts and coffee, and an additional 32 million pounds of fruit and vegetables, he said.

And they will use roughly 18.35 billions of gallons of water, Clouser said.

But there are some things we can all do to conserve.

Save energy by turning off lights and fans when you leave a room; keep the thermostat around 78 degrees Fahrenheit in summer and 68 degrees in winter; use energy-efficient light bulbs and have a home energy audit.

Ensure that healthy, low-cost food is available by starting a vegetable garden, learning to can foods or joining a Community Supported Agriculture group that supports a local farm in exchange for a share of its harvest.

Save water by verifying that your home’s plumbing is leak free, using drought-tolerant plants, collecting water in rain barrels, and installing a rain sensor on lawn-irrigation systems.

IFAS researchers are doing their part to help conservation efforts, as well: They’re searching for fossil fuel alternatives, examining sweet sorghum as a source of sugar for fuel ethanol; studying biodiesel-producing algae; and improving the production of jatropha — a plant with seeds that can help power jet planes.

IFAS scientists are working to boost crop yields and breed more disease-resistant plants. They’re researching the effects of climate change on crops and finding ways to ensure milk production in dairy cows.

They’re studying ways to keep lawns healthy with less water, minimizing water used to protect crops from freezes and studying methods to reduce runoff.

For more tips and ways to help, visit Solutions for Your Life at http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/.

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Contacts

Writer: Robert H. Wells, 352-273-3569; rhwells@ufl.edu

Source: Rodney Clouser, 352-392-1826, ext. 303; rclouser@ufl.edu

Photo caption:

Trees in the Everglades are pictured. From UF/IFAS photo archive.