Online tool estimates animal housing energy usage

17-11-2006 | |

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the launch of  a Web-based energy awareness tool designed to help agricultural producers reduce energy costs related to animal housing.

The “Energy Estimator for Animal Housing” evaluates the energy use and costs associated with heating, lighting and ventilating poultry, swine and dairy housing.
“A good analysis of the use and costs for heating, lighting and ventilating animal housing contributes to a comprehensive picture of how energy is used on the farm or ranch,” Johanns said. “This tool can result in significant energy and cost savings for producers if they take the appropriate actions.”
Producers with animal feeding operations can save up to $250 million annually nationwide by regularly maintaining their ventilation and heating systems and using more energy-efficient fixtures and equipment. An individual producer may realise up to 50 percent savings in energy use by maintaining their ventilation and heating equipment regularly.
The online energy tool has three components that operate independently, one each for poultry, swine and dairy. For poultry, the producer provides ventilation, lighting and heating information for the entire broiler house.
Once the required information has been entered, the tool provides an analysis of estimated energy use and costs associated with various energy management options. The analysis also identifies potential energy savings that can result from carrying out certain recommendations.
The USDA stresses that the tool should be used for guidance, rather than as a sole source for decision-making on energy matters related to animal housing.