Ask Extension

Recent Articles


Friday, September 18, 2009

Is it Working?

New information has been released from the US Department of Energy on the consumption of energy in the United States over the past year. The results are certainly worth pondering and are certainly due to a combination of a variety of factors, but the net results show a DECREASE in energy usage overall.

Energy consumption is generally measured by the amount of energy produced by the various providers throughout the country. The net generation in the US dropped overall by 6.8 percent between June 2008 and June 2009.

Consumption of coal for power generation was down 11.8 percent this June compared to last.

Despite this, the average retail price of electricity for June 2009 was 1.0 percent lower than the same time last year.

Of course there are many factors involved in these statistics, which only show a snapshot of the bigger picture of energy consumption in our country. But wouldn’t it be great to think that as more and more of our citizens become re-aware of the literal value of electricity, that we once again are beginning to conserve it, rather than squander it away?

Pinellas County Extension is involved in the development of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy for our county. Once this strategy has been completed we will be eligible for more of the ARRA (stimulus) funds to implement energy conservation measures throughout the county.

Pinellas County Extension plans on using some of the funds to develop an educational program that will provide citizens not only information about energy conservation in the home, but actual materials to make those changes.

There will be more on this later, but we just thought we’d give you a heads-up to stay tuned!

US Energy Information Adminsitration

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Healthy Home, Healthy Family Workshop Sniffs Out Indoor Air Problems with Help from Local Experts

Wonder if there’s something foul floating in the air at home? If indoor space seems stagnant, has odors, high humidity or if mold is found, a Healthy Home, Healthy Family Workshop will help citizens identify problems, their sources and solutions.

The two-hour information-packed workshop is set for Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon at Pinellas County Extension in Largo. Extension is teaming up with experts from the Pinellas County Health Department and, Inc. in St. Petersburg to present the workshop. The cost is $15 per person, and pre-registration is required by Friday, Sept. 11.

Here are a few special opportunities surrounding the new workshop:

The first 20 pre-registered citizens arriving at the workshop will receive a voucher from the Pinellas County Health Department for one free indoor air quality sampling. The voucher includes a tape lift sampling, coordinated through the Health Department, which will reveal known triggers of respiratory ailments in the home. Typically, the sampling and interpretation cost $25. This is a rare free offering for citizens who pre-register and show up early.

Participants can bring common household cleaning products to the workshop. Those products will be analyzed for free for the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted when products are used.

Participants can bring to the workshop bed pillows or linens to be tested for particle emissions. This may be of special interest for asthmatics.

At the workshop, citizens explore how the indoor air quality of homes impacts everyone’s health. They will learn where pollutants come from, how their lives are affected and how to make homes healthier places. After all, the EPA says that most indoor air qualifies as being more polluted than the air outdoors in the world’s most industrialized cities.

To register, visit, click on the “Online Class Registration” button and then the “Sustainable Living” tab. Citizens may also call (727) 582-2100.

Extension is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Citizens must sign up by Friday, Sept. 11. Please note that no registration or payments will be accepted the day of the event. Be sure to register now and get in line early at the workshop for the chance to get a $25 tape lift sampling voucher free courtesy of the Pinellas County Health Department.

Microscopic photo of a dust mite courtesy of Pinellas County Health Department