Posts tagged ‘florida’

Stay Warm this Florida Winter

Staying warm in Florida is usually not a topic of conversation. But the temps have dropped below 50 in Tampa, Conch Republic residents are pulling out their winter flip-flops, and Panhandle residents are practicing the fine art of layering. A few recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection agency will help you stay warm, save money and conserve energy this winter.

Keep Air Filters Clean. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system monthly. Some filters only need to be changed every three months. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently. Safety check-ups can identify problems early and prolong the life of your system.

Seal Your Home. Hidden gaps and cracks throughout a home can add as much airflow as an open window. The more heat that escapes, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy. Sealing the ‘envelop’ (the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors) can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation. Pay special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.

Seal Air Ducts. Leaky air ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent. Sealing your ducts can save money on energy bills and help consistently heat every room.

Test Your Home. ENERGY STAR’s online tools help evaluate your home’s energy performance and provide solutions to increase comfort and energy efficiency. Have your utility bills handy for savings calculations.

Consult a Professional. Hire an experienced, licensed contractor for help with a heating and cooling overhaul.

Cash in on Special Offers. Check with your local utility or visit the rebate finder to find special deals on high efficiency heating equipment. Manufacturer rebates are usually offered in fall and early spring. Ask for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment. While you’re looking, check for rebates on other appliances, insulation, windows or doors you want to replace.

Shop Smart. If your heating equipment has not been properly maintained and is 15 years old or older, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Ask for ENERGY STAR rated equipment when buying warmth for your home.

The average Florida household uses 1,120 kilowatts hours (kWh) of electricity each month, with nearly half of that used for keeping our homes at a reasonably comfortable temperature. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment can save as much as 20 percent on annual energy costs. In addition to saving money and helping Floridians stay warm in winter, energy efficiency also conserves water and reduces waste.

January 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm Leave a comment

Conserving Energy Reduces Waste

Currently in the U.S., electricity demand continues to increase even as energy efficiency gains are made.  Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.  Almost half of the electricity is presently generated by coal-fueled electric power plants.  The more electricity consumed the more coal that is being used for energy production. Consider that the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that electricity demand will grow by 41% by 2030.  With the burning of coal to produce electricity, ash is produced.  In the process of converting coal into energy, the coal-fueled electric power industry generated approximately 72.4 million tons of coal fly ash (ash that rises to the chimney or stack), 18.4 million tons of bottom ash (ash that does not rise), and 2.0 million tons of boiler slag (molten ash) in 2008. Though some of the coal fly ash, bottom ash, and boiler slag can be used in cement, asphalt and construction projects, 70 – 80 percent of the ash ends up in a landfill.

Small changes in daily routines, such as turning off lights, unplugging appliances not in use, washing clothes in cold water, and maintaining moderate household temperatures reduces the amount of coal needed to produce electricity. So while you’re conserving energy, you’re also reducing waste!

Michell Mason Smith
Engineering Specialist III
Solid Waste Section
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

October 27, 2010 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

Stop and Think – Pollution Prevention Week 2010

September 20-26 is National Pollution Prevention Week. Have you ever stopped to think what you can do to prevent pollution? Do you even know what pollution prevention is…I didn’t until I started working at DEP, and sometimes I’m still not sure I always know what it is!

The official definition goes something like this – Pollution prevention is a proactive approach that eliminates or reduces pollution at its source – through water conservation, energy efficiency, minimizing the usage of raw materials and green cleaning. Stopping pollution prior to its creation is the most environmentally sound method of protecting health and natural resources.

It may sound a little overwhelming and in most cases people associate pollution prevention with big industrial plants changing their process to reduce pollution. But it can be simple. Preventing pollution is as easy as bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags, using green cleaners or packing a waste-free lunch.

Recognizing P2 Week is an opportunity for us (government) to join with you (schools, businesses and citizens) to provide education and outreach to help make sense of what pollution prevention is.

During this week events are being held throughout the state to inform people of the easy ways to help prevent pollution with just one action. Check out the list below.

POLLUTION PREVENTION WEEK EVENTS

EAO Regional Collection Event

Saturday, September 18

8:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Amway Arena

600 W Amelia St

Orlando, Florida

Items to be Collected: Paper, Cell Phones, Electronics, Plastic Bags

DEP Northeast Office Collection Event

Monday, September 20

12:00p.m.-2:00p.m.

DEP Northeast District Office

7825 Baymeadows Way, Suite B200

Jacksonville, Florida

Items to be Collected: Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

Clean Marina and Clean Boatyard Workshop

Tuesday, September 21

9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.

Cooperative Extension Office

12520 Ulmerton Road

Largo, FL

Junior Museum of Bay County Safety Day

Saturday, September 25

10:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Junior Museum of Bay County

308 Airport Road

Panama City, FL 32405

Items to be Collected: Cell Phones

International Coastal Cleanup Collection Event

Saturday, September 25

7:00a.m. – 9:00a.m.

Life Guard Station

Beach Boulevard Walk Over

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Items to be Collected: Cell Phones, Plastic Bags

NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK EVENTS STATEWIDE

Saturday, September 25

10:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Walgreens

4497 Mobile Highway

Pensacola, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

CVS

2090 S Highway 29

Cantonment, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

Walgreens

10503 San Jose Boulevard

Jacksonville, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

Walgreens

1705 US 1

Vero Beach, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

The Shops at Wiregrass

28211 Paseo Drive

Wesley Chapel, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

10:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Edison State College Student Life Lobby

8099 College Parkway

Fort Myers, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags, Cell Phones

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Lantana Police Department

500 Greynolds Circle

Lantana, Florida

Items to be Collected: Medication, Plastic Bags

September 17, 2010 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Easy As One Collection Event in Orlando – Sept 18

In recognition of Pollution Prevention Week, DEP’s Easy As One campaign along with E-PASS and several community partners, is sponsoring a shredding and electronics recycling event Saturday, September 18th from 8 am to 12 pm. It will be at the Amway Arena (West Livingston Street, Orlando, FL 32801), in the parking lot area in front of the Amway Arena near the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.

This is a free event, open to everyone. Residents can bring their documents and watch as they are shredded. In an effort to reduce wait times, please limit your shredding to less than 10 boxes.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection staff will be on hand to discuss easy ways to prevent pollution and will collect retail plastic bags to recycle and used cell phones (working and non-working) along with stray chargers to donate to a local charity.

Participants who bring in 20 or more retail plastic bags for recycling will receive a reusable shopping bag. Those who bring a cell phone or paper for shredding will receive a day pass to a Florida State Park by visiting the Easy As One booth, while supplies last.

In addition, participants can bring working and non-working electronics (excluding TVs) for recycling. See below for accepted items. DEP, E-PASS and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority are not responsible for any items dropped off during this event.

The following electronics will be accepted, working or not working: desktop, tower, laptop computers; CRT, LCD, plasma monitors/displays; printers/plotters; fax machines; telephone systems, switches; PDAs, radios; stereos; VHS/DVDs; video games; projectors, cameras; any kind of storage media. At this time, we CANNOT accept TVs.

For computers and other items like cell phones and PDAs, a private company will process the item for data destruction (three pass electronic erasure and Department of Defense level sanitization of hard drives.) All identifying marks, stickers and labels are removed. If media cannot be securely destroyed electronically, physical destruction is carried out at their facility.

For more information, please call 407-690-5000.

September 13, 2010 at 9:49 am 1 comment

Purple Reigns in Water Conservation Potential

Florida is a state flanked by a gulf and an ocean, dotted with hundreds of lakes and springs and crossed by thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and sprinkled with lots of puddles during the rainy season. Water is everywhere. Still, we are unsure how much water we have to drink or how long our supply will last. A waste not, want not approach helps conserve our water sources.

One easy way to keep our water stocked is to reclaim it. Water that we usually waste—domestic wastewater—can be filtered, disinfected and used again.

Some places in Florida have been using reclaimed water for years and the purple pipe–in the United States, reclaimed water is distributed in purple pipes—has distributed many a gallon to Florida landscapes and lawns.

The St. Petersburg Master Urban Reuse System set a “waste not, want not” example with one of the first large urban reuse systems. St. Pete has had numerous visitors from other countries, including most recently South Korea, looking for similar water management solutions. The St. Pete system, in operation since 1977, supplies highly treated reclaimed water for irrigation to more than 10,200 residential lawns, 64 schools, 101 parks, and six golf courses.

Disney sets another example of the “waste not, want not” philosophy. Reedy Creek Improvement District provides the Walt Disney World Resort Complex with reclaimed water which is used to irrigate four golf courses, landscaped areas at eight hotels, highway medians, an athletic complex and a water park. Reclaimed water is also used to irrigate a 110-acre tree farm which produces horticultural materials used throughout the complex. Disney also puts reclaimed water to work as cooling tower make-up water, for washing vehicles, cleaning streets and sidewalks in the Disney parks.

Purple fire hydrants provide access to reclaimed water for fire suppression and protection. Reclaimed water can also be used to recharge groundwater. In 2008, Florida used 667 million gallons per day of reclaimed water, saving more than 125 billion gallons of drinkable water while adding more than 79 billion gallons back to available water supplies.

Though Florida leads the nation in water reuse, the potential for reclaiming water goes untapped in many areas. To find out if reclaimed water is available in your neighborhood, look for purple pipes or purple fire hydrants. Contact your local wastewater management or reuse utility company. Contact information can usually be found on your utility bill. If reclaimed water is available, follow the guidelines provided by your local reuse utility.

If reclaimed water is not available in your neighborhood, contact your local elected officials, city planners, or water management district to learn about plans for water reuse.

Learn more about water reuse.
Learn more ways to conserve water in your yard.

Information provided by
Shanin Speas Frost
Water Reuse/Wastewater Wetlands Coordinator
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

August 31, 2010 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Life on the Water…Make it Last, Keep it Clean!

Family outings on beamy pontoon boats … friends returning from fishing trips, their relationships richer for the experience…sailors catching the afternoon sea breeze… kayakers skimming across a lake at sunset… a shrimper heading out at dawn … images that remind us how Florida’s greatest natural resource — its water — affects the quality of our lives. Regardless of why we’re out there, for recreation or to make a living, we share responsibility for preserving the boating life we love by keeping our wateCoast with boat and swimmerrways and shorelines vibrant, clean and healthy.

Simple practices, applied consistently, and a little planning are cornerstones of responsible boating. Preventing fuel leaks when we fill up, cleaning with elbow grease and water instead of harmful chemicals, keeping our boats in top running shape are all relatively easy ways we can help protect water quality. Planning for the types of trips we will be taking before we leave the dock, also goes a long way toward preventing pollution – manufactured and manmade. How many people will be aboard? Is it a day trip or overnight cruise? Usually day trips do not generate much waste. Overnight trips virtually guarantee it. So we need to be prepared to stow our trash and to make sure our heads and holding tanks are in good working order. We need to know where our pumpout facilities are located and use them. And, we need to chart our courses carefully in advance to keep from damaging sensitive sea floor habitats or injuring marine life.

Choosing Florida’s designated Clean Marinas, Boatyards and Retailers for our boating needs moves us beyond individual action to supporting more than 250 businesses statewide that implement Best Management Practices to keep our waterways clean and healthy. These facilities and their trained staff are our partners—our trusted crew, ready with guidance and education on everything from boating regulations and environmentally safe products and services to the best ways to clean and cook our prize catch.

On Saturday, June 12, National Marina Day, we have an opportunity to join marinas around the country that are opening their doors to their communities. This year, ten marinas across the country will offer everyone who is interested a chance to participate in boating and fishing activities, hands-on workshops and seminars, boat test drives, boat races, and more. Support Boat.Fish.Live. At National Marina Day. It’s a perfect time to introduce a newcomer to clean boating. It’s something every boater and every marina can do right now to help keep our waterways clean for everyone to enjoy. Boaters can do their part. Marinas can do theirs to ‘Make it last, keep it clean!’

June 9, 2010 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

DEP displays Easy Actions at Jacksonville’s Green Expo

Nearly 4,000 people  attended Jacksonville’s Green Expo that took place May 15-16, 2010 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. More than 100 businesses as well as health and wellness exhibitors showcased their wares and services.  Products displayed included  health care and personal care products made with natural ingredients, organic food and other resources. A number of workshops taught attendees about green products and how to make greener choices.

Sheena Chin, Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator from DEPs Northeast District, participated in Jacksonville’s green expo and demonstrated a home-made cleaning product that contains non-toxic chemicals. She also handed out microfiber cloths which are better to use than paper towels because they are reusable and do not require the addition of toxic solvents. She also shared homemade green cleaning recipes and informed her audience on proper disposal of household hazardous waste.

Overall, the expo was successful in informing the community about the advantages of going green and demonstrating that everybody can be green.  Remember, it is as Easy As One to make Florida a greener place.

June 3, 2010 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

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