What’s more eco friendly than eating your vegetables?
That’s the question that has plagued environmentalists for years, and a new study may have the answer.
The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has just released a study titled “What is Eco-friendly Energy Pyramid?” which found that while greenhouses produce less carbon dioxide per unit of energy than conventional facilities, they’re still much more eco Friendly than conventional energy.NIFA researcher, Dr. Matthew J. Dickey, said that the study looked at the “carbon footprint” of energy production from a number of different sources including: land use, land management, water use, energy consumption, waste disposal, and air emissions.
He said, “While the overall energy footprint is very small for the amount of energy produced in a given energy footprint, it does vary considerably across these different sources of energy.”
Dickey explained that when you look at energy production, “the amount of land used per unit energy production is the biggest predictor of the energy footprint.”
“Land use, the land management and the water use and waste disposal are all extremely important factors that influence the overall environmental footprint,” he said.
For example, if a greenhouse produces 1,000 gallons of CO2 equivalent per year, and if the energy required to grow the food is 10,000 pounds of CO3, the energy that is produced by the greenhouse is approximately 100,000,000 times more CO2 than the energy used to grow that food.
“It’s an area where the energy is less of a problem because the energy you use is very low,” Dickey said.
“The amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted is the same for a lot of plants that produce carbon dioxide, it’s just that it’s emitted differently.”
While the study does not specifically quantify the amount that plants produce, “there is a lot more CO 2 in plants that use less energy than plants that grow,” Dickson said.
It is important to remember that a plant that produces 1 gallon of CO 2 equivalent per day is still emitting more CO than the same plant that consumes 5 gallons of energy.
“This is not just a matter of how much energy is produced, but the energy it takes to grow, transport and use,” Dicks said.NIFA’s Dr. Richard J. Kramers said, in the long run, the “energy required to produce food” will “continue to increase, due to the increasing demands on land, water, energy, and human resources.”
“It is also the case that we cannot increase the amount we use of land, because we need to build more farms, and we also need to increase the demand on the water supply,” he explained.
“For example in California, we are having a drought and we have a lot less water available.
So it will continue to require more energy to produce.”
And it will be more expensive to grow food for our country, so more people are going to be forced to pay for it,” Kramer continued.”
So the question is, what does it take to make food more ecoFriendly, to make it more energy efficient and to make the energy costs of food less?
It is a really important question.
If you have a system that is less energy intensive, you can increase the food supply.
“Kramers noted that “energy use and carbon dioxide emissions from land use and water use” are “not directly comparable,” and that the differences “are more subtle than what most people think.
“However, “as a general rule,” he noted that for “small-scale and localized farms” the average energy usage is roughly 5% to 10% of the food production.”
But as a generalization, if you look across the world, and you compare the amount, it is more like 1% to 5%,” he added.
According to Dickey’s findings, if the average farm used 10,200 gallons of water a day, and the average farmer used 10 gallons of greenhouses to produce a single kilogram of food, then the energy needed to grow and transport the food would be 10,500 to 20,000 kilowatt-hours.
Dickey said that while this is a “conservative” number, it would be “very surprising” if the amount used by a farmer were much lower than the amount required to plant, grow and harvest the crops.”
I would be shocked if the same amount of greenhouse energy that you produce for a single grain of rice was being used for a dozen rice fields,” he warned.”
If you can produce enough food to feed a family of 4,000 people for an entire year, then you’re consuming at least 10,600,000 to 15,000 million kilowatts of energy,” he continued.
Dicer explained that this is not necessarily a problem for “food deserts” or “food waste.””