Energy Efficiency Guide for Colorado Businesses
Recommendations by Sector
AGRICULTURAL (FARMING AND RANCHING)
Ranches and farms use large quantities of electric energy for pumping liquids, moving air, and for controlling the temperatures of animals and products such as meat and milk. In many cases, substantial savings are available by incorporating modern control techniques and technologies into operations on the ranch or farm.
Measures that are frequently found to be cost-effective include the following:
Water and electricity are both precious commodities in Colorado and some conservation methods contribute to saving both.
- Use large diameter pipes (e.g., 12-inch rather than 10-inch) to reduce friction.
- Convert from high-pressure top impact sprinklers to low-pressure systems. If using a low-pressure system, adjust spray heads and patterns to match crop growth.
- Match motors to pumps carefully; over-sizing wastes money and energy.
- Use premium-efficiency motors. They save energy, run cooler, and last longer.
- Use variable-frequency drives with pump motors to facilitate optimizing efficiency with changing irrigation flow requirements.
- Repair and replace nozzles and regulators to achieve even crop growth and save energy and water.
- White surfaces on the insides of barns and chicken coops reflect light and lessen the need for electric lighting. The result is an improved visual environment for both people and animals - and lower lighting bills for the farmer.
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs in place of incandescents.
- Replace fluorescent fixtures using T-12 lamps with T-8 or T-5 fixtures and electronic ballasts.
- Use simple timers or similar lighting controls that may be over-ridden when necessary.
- Install ventilation fans with high-efficiency, long-lasting cast-aluminum blades.
- Use premium-efficiency motors on all systems that run more than 30 minutes per day.
- Install CO2 sensors to control ventilation fans and maintain good air quality.
- Cooling milk quickly after milking can involve high peak demand loads and charges if conventional refrigeration equipment is employed. Cooling water in an insulated container over a longer period, perhaps using a cooling tower, can lower peaks and save money while cooling milk even more quickly than conventional cooling techniques. Milk can be chilled using a double-wall stainless steel heat exchanger whose secondary loop accesses the cooling energy associated with the chilled water. Some systems also use a second heat exchanger in the chilled water tank to minimize the risk of contamination and lower pump power needs due to the resulting closed loop system.
- Install floor insulation in coolers. The floors of some walk-in refrigerators on farms are simply concrete slabs which are neither insulated from the ground underneath nor around their edges. Retrofitting these with floor insulation improves cooler efficiency.
- Use efficient lighting in refrigerators and save twice: this retrofit lowers the electricity use for both lighting and cooling.
- Feedlots, dairies, and other concentrated animal feeding operations that collect manure at a centralized spot can install anaerobic digestion for better waste management, eliminated odor problems, improved water quality, and biogas power generation that can offset utility bills (or even provide another source of revenue for the farm).
Funding for this Guide provided by:
Recommendations for this and other sectors are available at www.coloradoefficiencyguide.com/recommendations.