Surging energy costs are putting farm businesses are under increasing pressure to become more energy efficient. Here are some simple steps you can take to make your farm business more energy efficient and resilient to rising energy costs.
1. Understand your energy use
The first step any farmer can take to improve efficiency is to identify the main consumers of electricity. Understand where the major areas of energy use are on your farm look at lighting, heating systems, ventilation etc. The main drivers of energy use on dairy farms are milk cooling (31%), the milking machine (20%), and water heating (23%).
2. Change energy supplier
Next is to ensure your business is on the best tariff and maximise the use of off-peak electricity. Check out www.bonkers.ie to compare energy prices. Changing energy supplier is one of the quickest ways to reduce energy costs.
Replacing halogen light bulbs with LEDs or other more efficient bulbs can save you up to 80%.
Adding insulation to farm and home buildings significantly reduces heating costs.
5. Regular servicing
Regularly servicing your boiler can save you energy or consider getting a new boiler or heat pump if boiler is old.
6. Milk cooling & vacuum pumps
For dairy farmers, using a correctly sized Plate Heat Exchanger and water to pre-cool the milk before it enters the tank will significantly reduce of milk cooling costs. While installing a installing a variable speed drive to the vacuum pump in the milking parlour can reduce pump running costs by up to 60%.
To improve resilience to energy costs, you can consider installing some renewable energy system such as solar panels for water heating or wood chip/pellet boiler for space heating.
For more information on reducing your energy consumption visit our Smart Farming site.
Smart Farming is a voluntary resource efficiency programme, run by the Irish Farmers’ Association in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency.