If you are a food producer or farmer you know that energy costs make up a significant proportion of your expenses. This blog will advise you how you can reduce your energy spend. We will be make a number of posts on this topic- so follow the blog and check back every Friday. You will find this especially interesting if you are involved in the following sectors such as: horticulture, pig and poultry farming, dairy farming, pre-packing or fish farms.
Switching to renewable energy makes good business sense; it saves money, provides a competitive advantage, enhances your reputation and plays a part in reducing carbon emissions.
For reference: Teagasc Energy Use in Agriculture
Renewable Energy and Horticulture
Ever increasing energy prices, combined with the need to grow crops with a low “carbon footprint” mean that horticultural producers are facing increasing financial and social pressure from the multiples and the public to improve their energy efficiency. A recent UK study has estimated that energy costs in horticulture will increase by 20% by 2020. Energy costs often represent the second largest expense, after labour, for growers.
A case study was conducted by Teagasc with two commercial growers to investigate the benefits of using a solid fuel boiler instead of an oil boiler. It found that a mushroom grower using oil spent 282% more in energy costs for every ton of compost filled compared to another grower using solid fuel (biomass). The payback on the biomass system was between 2 and 3 years and as some biomass boilers have a life span of 20+ years, switching to biomass is a worthwhile investment.
A note on CO2
Because of containments biomass fumes cannot be used for crop enrichment. By using a kerosene or oil boiler for this task and biomass for heating only, you will see a dramatic decrease in your energy costs.
You may be interested to read about growers who have successfully switched to biomass:
In addition to heating, electricity represents a significant cost for growers and also pre-packers.
Installing a wind turbine is an effective way to reduce your energy spends.