Energy Strategies to improve your Farm
Your practices for on-farm energy management can improve economic viability and enable environmental sustainability in agriculture. When talking about energy usage, you should include energy bills, submeters and assessments.
Saving energy requires you to know about energy patterns, make the correct equipment selection, find an appropriate energy provider and address which systems will be reliable for the future.
Submeters are useful energy or gas meters that will gather energy use pattern information. The meter is inserted downstream of the main utility meter. They can track consumption by a load-by-load basis. Use a submeter with a data logging system and it can track time of day consumption and energy demand levels. Data from these meters can help farmers determine when it is a good time for a change of equipment.
Upgrading equipment to a more efficient model is the best example of upgrading your farm in a simple way. A more complex way to upgrade would be eliminating or switching out equipment or changing to maintain positive results.
Before you invest in an equipment or practice change, calculate the cost of change vs the long-term cost savings. Energy assessments for your farm or processing facility give you information about input costs and show areas of inefficiency.
Focus on areas that provide the quickest payback results when provided a third-party energy assessment. Start operation efficiency changes by being aware of consumption patterns, baseline usage, demand charges, industry benchmarks, and what the possible technology or practice alternatives could be.
A third-party energy assessment include should include an evaluation of baseload energy use patterns using a submeters, provision of currently available equipment options, options for cost-effective changes to the generation source and a review to find out what system would benefit by enhancing the reliability of the energy supply.
Energy efficiency is doing the same work with less energy and embraces reducing energy waste. To improve energy efficiency, it is smart to replace old equipment or equipment running close to end of its life cycle. It makes the most economic sense to replace this equipment if the costs and efficiency are low. It is essential to maintain your equipment according to a schedule to maintain maximum efficiency. For frequently used equipment, this reduces unexpected breakdowns and replacements.
A practice change can have a significant role in reducing energy usage. Analyzing your processes to see if overall change can reduce energy consumption while keeping your target production levels. Think about the cost of change versus the long-term cost savings when considering energy efficiency improvements through replacement or practice change.
Areas for this efficiency include lighting, insulation, heating, refrigeration, ventilation, waterers, variable frequency drives, controller, grain dryers and combined heat and power (I’m sorry if that’s a lot to remember, I promise there will not be a written quiz at the end).
Renewable energy technologies convert renewable resources into electric or heat energy with reduced carbon emissions. Examples that have zero greenhouse gas emissions are wind power, solar photovoltaics, bio-digesters and small-scale hydroelectric generation.
In a world where technology is on the rise, energy management and environmental sustainability practices within agriculture are very important. Having knowledge of energy patterns, selecting and maintaining the proper equipment and addressing reliable systems are most important when saving energy. We can achieve maximum energy efficiency and environmental sustainability through assessments, useful technology such as submeters and renewable energy technologies.