GAINESVILLE, FLA. --- As more consumers struggle with record-breaking energy costs and rapid urban growth puts a strain on Florida’s natural resources, the University of Florida’s Extension service's new public awareness campaign promotes the effective use of energy and discourages all forms of energy waste.
Initiated by UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), the statewide campaign--aimed at the state’s current and future residents--kicked off April 22, 2008, during the annual Earth Day event.
"Everyone is concerned about soaring energy costs and water conservation, but the problem is more challenging here in Florida because our population continues to increase by more than eight hundred residents every day," said Pierce Jones, director of UF’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities. "That kind of growth--along with the needs of our existing population for energy and water--is taking a tremendous toll on the state’s natural resources." The UF Extension service is developing a catalogue of fact sheets on energy efficiency, water conservation, and environmental protection for homeowners. The first set of documents in the "Energy Efficient Homes" series--Air Conditioning, Ceiling Fans, and The Duct System--were released on April 22, 2008.
Additional publications on topics such as lighting, insulation, water heaters, irrigation, climate change, and reducing the "carbon footprint" will be released by UF Extension over the next two months. For more information about energy efficiency, conservation, and sustainability, see the Sustainable Living section of SolutionsForYourLife.com.
Jones--who is working with the Florida Energy Office to develop the information campaign--said many residents come from states with different climates and ecosystems, and they may not be aware of Florida’s fragile environment. "Much of the damage to the state’s natural resources is due to a simple lack of awareness about our ecosystems and how homes interact with the environment," he said. "There are many ways that people can save energy and water in their homes and landscapes, which will help not only the state’s natural resources, but their own economic situations as well."
Jones said UF’s Program for Resource Efficiency Communities was established in 2004 to promote adoption of the best design, construction and management practices that measurably reduce energy and water consumption as well as environmental degradation in new residential developments. After years as the nation’s fourth-largest state, Florida is poised to become the nation’s third largest state--after California and Texas--sometime in the next few years, underscoring the urgent need for energy and water conservation now, he said.