Delaware Growers Cut Costs by Conserving Energy
It can take a lot of energy to raise chickens as farmers have to control the temperature and lighting in houses, meaning high costs and high energy use.
But with help from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) poultry producers can cut their costs while conserving energy. Two farm families in Delaware are already noticing valuable differences after they installed several energy practices on their poultry headquarters.
One Kent County father and son team is looking forward to future gas and electric bill savings as a result of their new energy efficient practices. Over the summer, Jack French and his son, David, installed radiant tube heaters, LED lights and wall insulationin their four poultry houses that each holds 22,000 roasters a flock.
To determine which energy saving practices would be best for his operation, EnSave, an NRCS Technical Service Provider, completed an on-farm energy audit on the Frenches’ poultry operation. All three energy conservation practices they installed were eligible for technical and financial assistance through NRCS’ On-Farm Energy Initiative.
Unlike traditional incandescent lights, light emitting diodes (LED) bulbs save more energy and have a longer rated life. In addition, LED bulbs do not contain mercury unlike their less efficient competitor –compact fluorescent lights (CFL). On average, lighting recommendations include replacing 60 watt or higher incandescent lights with 10 watt dimmable LED lights—an energy savings of approximately 83 percent/bulb.
Radiant tube heaters compared to traditional space heaters use energy more efficiently by heating objects in a house (chicks and floor) versus the air—an estimated 15 percent reduction in fuel usage. David French said he is already noticing a difference. “The space heaters we had before took a while to heat the entire area, distributing the heat unevenly. Because these radiant tube heaters heat the objects, they help keep the floor dry and chicks comfortable.”
Husband and wife growers, YoungHoon and YongYe Lee, also worked with NRCS to install energy-saving practices for heating, lighting and insulation on their five-house poultry operation which has a capacity of 132,000 roasters. The Lees say they’re glad they made the switch to more efficient practices. They’re especially vocal about their pleasure with the insulation.
“Before with the poor insulation, we had condensation dripping,” said Mr. Lee. This was largely attributed to the absence of insulation in areas resulting from its movement because of normal ceiling vibrations. “Now the air is warm, there’s no dripping and it is just real good.”
Both farmers predict that they’ll see substantial energy savings once they compare previous bills with the future gas and electric charges over the next year. Their conservation efforts are not only saving them money but helping to reduce their carbon footprint.
Poultry growers interested in learning how they can benefit from energy saving practices or other conservation practices for poultry operations should contact their local USDA Service Center or visit www.de.nrcs.usda.gov. In Delaware’s Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3.
Caption: NRCS soil conservationist, Clarimer Hernandez-Vargas, reviews energy conservation practices with poultry growers Jack French (right) and his son David.
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