Any time is a good time to take stock of your energy costs but as we look ahead to colder weather and less daylight, now is an especially good time to assess things and ensure efficient energy use this winter.
Jon Swain, Head of Sales at NFU Energy says: “Your energy-saving opportunities will depend on your type of farm, processes and buildings but the more adjustments and improvements you can make, the more you can save. Take a walk around your site at different times of the day and do a physical check of different processes, equipment and buildings. Many ideas on our list need no new investment and can be implemented as part of regular maintenance procedures.”
Control it and consume it efficiently
The best way to reduce energy costs is to make sure you are using just enough at the right times and using what you do use efficiently.
- Use automated controls and timers to switch off lights and other equipment when not required. There are also sensors that use light levels or the proximity of people to control lighting or adjust heating.
- Consider using smart, web-based systems to monitor and control operations remotely.
- Check settings and accuracy of heating and ventilation controls – over ventilating heated rooms can easily double heating costs – and check any water heater temperatures to avoid costly overheating.
- Keep equipment that uses or consumes energy, especially boilers, in optimum operating condition so it runs as efficiently as possible.
- Look out for signs that it might be time to replace or upgrade. Boilers and refrigeration equipment have all significantly improved in efficiency in recent years and are often the most neglected.
- Clean fans and air ducts and ensure the smooth passage of air. Dirt can reduce fan efficiency by up to 60% and battens or obstructions can decrease efficiency by up to 20%.
Stop it escaping
How energy efficient are your buildings, sheds, stores and greenhouses? Are they well-built and maintained?
- Check insulation levels and draft proofing to stop energy loss when heating and cooling and ensure efficient lagging of pipework and tanks.
- Fit door curtains or automatic doors to allow good seals or stop doors being left open inadvertently.
- Ensure vents close fully and replace any broken or slipped panes in greenhouses.
- Thermal screens can reduce heat loss from a greenhouse by up to 30% and bubble wrap can also be a cost-effective solution.
- Consider thermal imaging to pinpoint leaks and any problem areas.
Measure and monitor it
Spot cost-saving opportunities by understanding how the business uses energy.
- Take regular meter readings and monitor how much energy you are using and when and where you are using it. Look for any unusual patterns or peaks in consumption.
- Monitors that clip onto your meter and report to a simple desk display are a cheap, useful reminder of your use.
- Check your energy invoices to ensure you are being billed accurately and compare costs with previous years.
- Finally, if your gas or electricity contract is coming up for renewal, take the opportunity to ensure you are getting the best deal you can and avoid a costly automatic renewal.
For more information:
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