AE ENERGY AUDIT Carl Pedersen Extension Energy Educator Kenneth

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            Farmstead                                                                    Tractor and Field
                                                                                                (page 2)

                                                                                           Grain Drying

                                                                                                (page 4)

                                                                                                (page 6)

                                                                                       Indoor and Outdoor

                                                                                                (page 8)

                                                                                             Farm Shop
                                                                                                (page 9)

                                                                                               (page 10)

                   Carl Pedersen                                                       Livestock Buildings
       Extension Energy Educator                                                               (page 12)

    Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., P.E.                                                          Livestock
   Extension Agricultural Engineer                                                        Water Systems
               Tom Scherer, Ph.D.                                                              (page 14)
   Extension Agricultural Engineer

                  John Nowatzki
             Agricultural Systems
               Machine Specialist

     Efficient use of energy becomes very important with rising energy costs.
          The purpose of this publication is to give tips on ways to reduce costs for your operation.
             By reducing the amount of energy you consume, you not only will be saving money,
       but also reducing possible pollution and reducing the consumption of nonrenewable resources.

                       The following suggestions and recommendations should help you
                            improve energy efficiency and reduce energy expenses.

                                           North Dakota State University
                                            Fargo, North Dakota 58105
                                                    June 2008                   •   1
Tractor and Field Operations
Field operations are one of the             Facts and Actions:                       • Wheel slippage generally should be
largest uses of energy on most farms,                                                  between 10 percent and 15 percent
so reducing or eliminating operations
                                            Tractor Operation                          for two-wheel drive tractors and
                                            • Proper maintenance as recom-             8 percent to 10 percent for four-
is helpful to examine for reductions
                                              mended by the manufacturer               wheel drive tractors. Wheel slippage
in energy use. Conservation tillage
                                              should be performed regularly on         outside of this range means the
systems conserve fuel by reducing
                                              all field equipment. This includes       tractor is not weighted properly.
the number of passes across fields.
                                              replacing fuel filters, changing oil     If wheel slippage is greater than
No-till or reduced-till systems allow         and filter, lubricating bearings and     the recommended amount when
farmers to prepare the seedbed, apply         having regular engine tuneups.           a heavy load is pulled, more
fertilizer and plant the crop in one          Implement dealers’ tractor               weight should be added in the
operation. No-till drills or air seeders      maintenance programs provide an          form of cast iron wheel weights
use approximately 0.7 gallon per acre.        excellent way to have equipment          or fluid in the tires. Either form of
                                              (especially tractors and combines)       weight is as effective as the other.
A common conventional tillage system
                                              checked and maintenance opera-           If wheel slippage is less than the
for crop production includes a chisel         tions completed by professionals         recommended amount, the tractor
plow operation using 0.6 gallon per           (Figure 1).                              is carrying too much weight.
acre, a field cultivator using 0.3 gallon
                                            • Properly inflated radial tires           This will cause the tires to sink in
per acre and a drill using 0.5 gallon                                                  deeper than necessary and increases
                                              significantly reduce slippage,
per acre, for a total of 1.4 gallons per                                               power requirements to move the
                                              compared with bias ply tires.
acre. In this example, conservation                                                    tractor across the field, resulting
tillage requires half the fuel as the       • The Nebraska Tractor Test                in lower efficiency.
conventional tillage system.                  Laboratory reports the efficiency
                                              of tractors in horsepower hours        • Minimum or no-till practices
                                              per gallon, which is similar to the      significantly reduce tractor use and
Questions to ask:                             miles per gallon rating for cars and     therefore save energy, money, and
• Are you using radial tires and are          pickups. This allows buyers to check     machinery wear and maintenance
  they properly inflated?                     and compare tractor efficiencies         (Figure 2).
                                              before purchasing. A common            • Constantly variable transmissions
• Is your tractor properly matched
                                              efficiency rating for field tractors     (CVT) or infinitely variable
  to the implement you are using?
                                              is 17 to 19 horsepower hours per         transmissions (IVT) are new
• Are you reducing the engine                 gallon. The higher the number,           technologies that help improve
  revolutions-per-minute (RPM)                the more power produced from             fuel efficiency by using electronic
  speed when using a larger tractor           a gallon of fuel.                        control of transmission and engine
  with a smaller implement?                                                            speed for most efficient operation.
                                            • From an energy perspective,
• Is your tractor wheel slippage              avoid using small implements with        The operator sets the operation
  excessive?                                  large tractors. For most efficient       speed and the controller determines
                                              operation, the implement should          engine speed and transmission
• Is a change or reduction in tillage
                                              be operated using the best matched       setting based on load. These
  practices possible?
                                              tractor. If a larger tractor is used     systems automatically perform
• Is fuel storage shaded?                     with small implements, use the           shift up/throttle down.
• Have your engine fuel filters and air       principle of gearing up and            • Guidance and auto-steer systems
  cleaner been replaced or serviced as        throttling down to maintain              reduce overlap on field operations,
  recommended by the manufacturer?            proper ground speed because              increase the ability to operate
                                              that will reduce fuel consumption.       longer hours (in darkness), reduce
• Have your engine fuel injectors been
                                              Be careful to not overload the           operator fatigue and improve
  cleaned and serviced properly?
                                              engine when using this method.           efficiency of operations.
• Are you using a timer on your
  tractor’s engine heater?

2   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
Figure 1. Ensure machinery is properly maintained.       Figure 2. Conservation tillage reduces costs.
(Photo courtesy of John Deere Inc.)                      (Photo courtesy of John Deere Inc.)

• Diesel tractor engines generally        Additional Resources
  require one to two hours of heater      Tractor Test Reports. Nebraska
  operation before cold-weather starts.     Tractor Test Laboratory. Available
  Many farmers and ranchers leave           at
  heaters plugged in overnight.             testreports.htm
  A 1,000-watt engine heater
  will cost $150 a season to use          Machinery publications list.
  (based on 10 hours per night at          North Dakota State University
                                           Extension Service. Available at
  10 cents/kilowatt-hour, or kwh,
  and a 150-day heating season).
  Operating that same 1,000-watt          Conservation Tillage Seeding
  heater for only two hours each           Equipment, AE-1351, North Dakota
  morning will save $120, which            State University Extension Service,
  is more than enough to pay for           2007. Available at
  the cost of the timer.                   pubs/ageng/machine/ae1351.htm

                                          Tractor Heater Timer Calculator.
                                            Wisconsin Public Service. Available

                                                                                           •   3
Grain Drying
A grain-drying system may be the              Facts and Actions:                          to the meter reading if it is not
most energy-intensive operation                                                           done automatically.
in your cropping system. For some
                                              Grain Drying
                                                                                        • Remove broken kernels and weed
                                              • Planting earlier-maturing varieties
crops, more energy is used to dry                                                         seeds since they reduce dryer
                                                and drying corn in the field is
the crop than for producing.                                                              airflow and drying the material
                                                generally more energy efficient
Any improvements that reduce                                                              costs money.
                                                and economical until mid-October,
energy needs make a major                                                               • Natural air/low-temperature drying
                                                but by mid- to late October,
difference in total farm fuel needs.            mechanical drying is recommended.         is a slow-drying system but very
                                                When deciding to field dry or to          efficient if designed and operated
Questions to ask:                               use mechanical drying, one needs          correctly. Keep the depth of wheat
                                                to consider the potential for grain       less than 18 feet and corn less than
• Do you use field drying as much
                                                damage while the grain is in the          22 feet to limit the resistance to
  as possible?
                                                field and harvest efficiency benefits     airflow, enabling efficient airflow
• Is your moisture tester accurate?             gained by mechanically drying             delivery. Select the fan type that
• Are dryer burners adjusted for                the grain.                                provides the most airflow per
  maximum efficiency?                                                                     horsepower at the expected
                                              • Removing moisture below levels
                                                                                          operating static pressure (Figure 3).
• Do you avoid overdrying?                      required for storage or marketing
                                                reduces the quantity available to       • Level the grain to create more
• Do you clean the grain before                                                           uniform drying, which is more
                                                sell and increases drying costs.
  drying?                                                                                 energy efficient and economical.
                                                Ensure your moisture meter is
• Is a natural air/low-temperature              accurate by comparing its reading to    • Transitions from the fan to the bin
  drying system appropriate for you?            one at an elevator or to a reference.     should have a cross-sectional area
                                                Apply a temperature adjustment            larger than the fan.
• Do you level the grain in a bin
  drying system?
• Is the transition from the fan to
  the bin large enough to allow
  unrestricted airflow from the fan
  to the bin?
• Would a combination high-
  temperature/natural air system
  or dryeration be appropriate for
  your operation?
• Are you using maximum drying
  temperatures that will not
  damage the grain?

                                  Figure 3.
                       Drying bin showing

4   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
                                         Figure 4. Schematic of dryeration system.

• The most energy-efficient high-          • Combination drying uses about half      Additional Resources
  temperature drying uses the maxi-          the energy that a high-temperature      North Dakota State University Extension
  mum drying temperature that will           cross-flow dryer uses. Combination       Service, crop postharvest publications.
  not damage grain. Using vacuum             drying uses a high-temperature           Available at
  cooling or a heat-recovery system          dryer to reduce the corn moisture        abeng/postharvest.htm
  increases the energy efficiency            to less than 20 percent and then
  of a continuous-flow heating and           the grain is transferred hot to a       Natural Air/Low Temperature Drying,
  cooling dryer by about 20 percent.         low-temperature/natural air              EB-35. North Dakota State University
                                                                                      Extension Service, Fargo, N.D., 1993.
                                             dryer to finish drying.
• Dryeration reduces the energy
  requirement of high-temperature          • Continuous-flow in-bin dryers           Grain Drying AE-701, North Dakota
  drying by about 25 percent. Corn           and mixed-flow dryers may                State University Extension Service,
                                                                                      Fargo, N.D., 1994.
  at about 130 degrees Fahrenheit (°F)       be 10 percent to 20 percent
  coming from the dryer is steeped           more efficient than a typical           Maintaining Corn Quality for Wet
  in a bin without airflow for four          high-temperature cross-flow dryer.       Milling, AE-1119. North Dakota
  to 12 hours. Two to 2.5 percentage                                                  State University Extension Service,
  points of moisture are removed                                                      Fargo, N.D., 1996.
  during cooling in the bin. Then
                                                                                     Grain Drying, Handling and Storage
  the corn is moved to a storage bin
                                                                                      handbook, Midwest Plan Service,
  (Figure 4).                                                                         MWPS-13, second edition, 1987.
                                                                                      Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
                                                                                      Available at

                                                                                     Dryeration and In-Storage Cooling
                                                                                      for Corn Drying. 1998. University
                                                                                      of Minnesota Extension. Available at

                                                                                             •   5
The farm home is the most used          • Do you have insulation on the            Facts and Actions:
structure on the farm throughout the      basement walls from the floor joists
year. Homes should be insulated and       to at least 4 feet below ground level?
                                                                                   • An R-value of 49 to 60 in the ceiling
sealed properly to keep energy use to   • Do you have a vapor barrier on the
                                                                                     and an R-value of at least 18 in the
a minimum during both the heating         warm side of the wall and ceiling
                                                                                     sidewall is recommended. A rough
and cooling seasons.                      insulation?
                                                                                     estimation to use, depending on
                                        • Is your furnace or boiler more than        insulation type, is that an R-value
Questions to ask:                         20 years old?                              of 49 is equivalent to at least
• Is ceiling insulation adequate?       • Was your refrigerator manufactured         16 inches of blown-in insulation.

• Are windows sealed to restrict          before 1993?                             • Be sure to provide an air space
  air movement?                         • Are you using a programmable               between the eave inlets and the attic
                                          thermostat or thermostat setbacks?         space. Blown-in insulation easily can
• Do you have double or triple                                                       fill between the roof joists, limiting
  glazing on all windows?               • Do you have trees or vegetation            air movement from the eave to the
• Is insulation placed to the eave        planted that provide shade in              attic. Vents (air chutes) are available
  and in the corners of the attic?        the summer and a windbreak                 and can be installed between the
                                          in the winter?                             roof joists to help maintain space
• Is the air conditioner properly
                                                                                     for air movement.
  sized for the home?

                                                                                                Figure 5.
                                                                                          Areas of air infiltration
                                                                                           and leaks in a home.

                                                                                               Image from

6   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
• The attic space needs to be venti-
  lated with eave and roof or gable
  vents to keep heat from building up
  under the roof deck. Heat under the
  roof in the winter is the major cause
  of ice dam formation on a roof.
• Air infiltration is a major energy
  waster. To limit this, caulk should be
  installed between the window frame
  and the siding. A wind-retardant
  barrier should be placed under
  the siding (Figure 5).
• All doors should have weather
  stripping around the edges to
  produce a good seal with the frame.
  Replace worn weather stripping.
• All windows should be double
  or triple glazed. A single-glazed
  window will have an R-value of
  about 0.9. A double-glazed window
  with an inert gas between panes
  will have an R-value of between
  3.0 and 4.0.
• Basement walls made of concrete or
  concrete blocks are poor insulators.
                                               Figure 6. Recommended placement of shelterbelt for a farmstead.
  Any part of the wall that extends
  above ground and 4 feet below the
  soil surface loses a considerable
  amount of heat. This occurs even           energy that refrigerators made              reduces the need for air conditioning
  if the basement is not heated.             before 1993 will use.                       in the summer. In the winter, the
  At least 2 inches of an extruded                                                       plants lose their leaves, allowing the
                                           • If your hot water heater is not a new,
  foam board should be installed on                                                      sun to penetrate and help warm the
                                             high-efficiency model, install an
  the walls extending at least 4 feet                                                    house. Plant evergreen trees on the
                                             insulation blanket to reduce standby
  below ground level if the basement                                                     north side of the house to reduce the
                                             losses. Insulation blankets are
  is not insulated on the inside.                                                        impact of wind on heating during
                                             inexpensive and pay for themselves
                                                                                         winter months (Figure 6).
• Air conditioning is another large          in energy savings within a year.
  user of energy. A well-insulated         • Flush your water heater monthly
  and tight home will help reduce
                                                                                       Additional Resources
                                             to reduce sediment buildup in the
  this cost. Setting the thermostat                                                    Consumers Guide to Home Energy
                                             bottom. Sediment buildup reduces
  at 76 °F should provide comfort                                                       Savings, 9th edition. American
                                             heating efficiency of the water heater.
  for most people and keep energy                                                       Council for an Energy-Efficient
                                           • Programmable thermostats can               Economy. Available at
  costs at a reasonable level.
                                             lead to significant energy savings.
• Replace an older furnace or boiler         Turning down the thermostat
  with a high-efficiency unit with an                                                  U. S. government Web site for the Energy
                                             when your home is not occupied
                                                                                        Star program. Resources include home
  efficiency greater than 90 percent.        or at night can result in a 1 percent      improvement recommendations,
• Regular maintenance is important           savings for each degree the                Energy Star products and appliance
  on furnaces to make sure they are          thermostat is lowered for an               recommendations. Available at
  operating efficiently. Check filters       eight-hour period.               
  monthly to ensure air flow is not        • Planting shelterbelts around homes        Wind and Snow Control Around the
  restricted.                                and other buildings is a natural way       Farm. Purdue University Extension
• Replace refrigerators that are more        to reduce heating and cooling costs.       Service, West Lafayette, Ind. 1983.
  than 15 years old. New Energy Star         Planting deciduous trees on the            Available at
  models can save up to half of the          south and west sides of buildings          extmedia/NCR/NCR-191.html

                                                                                               •   7
Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
The design and management of                 Facts and Actions:                                               use due to poor performance in
your lighting system greatly affects                                                                          unheated or low-temperature areas.
efficiency. Lighting efficiency is related
                                             Steps on Lighting
                                                                                                           • Security yard lighting historically
                                             • Incandescent light bulbs are
to the light output reported as lumens                                                                       has used mercury vapor lights.
                                               significant energy wasters.
and the amount of energy used. Select                                                                        Newer, more efficient options are
                                               Replacing incandescent bulbs
bulbs that produce the most lumens                                                                           available. Mercury vapor lights
                                               with CFLs can provide immediate
per watt of electricity. Use sunlight                                                                        produce 32 lumens per watt of
                                               savings. An incandescent bulb
as often as possible; it is generally                                                                        power, while metal halide lights
                                               that uses 100 watts of electricity
the most efficient.                                                                                          emit 62 lumens per watt and
                                               can be replaced with a 23-watt CFL.
                                                                                                             high-pressure sodium lights
                                               The 23-watt CFL produces the same
When choosing lighting, remember                                                                             produce 95 lumens per watt.
                                               amount of light but uses more than
fluorescent lamps produce more                                                                               Many people opt for pulse-start
                                               75 percent less energy. If you replace
lumens per watt than incandescent                                                                            metal halide lights even though
                                               five 100-watt incandescent bulbs
bulbs. Fluorescent lamps and sodium                                                                          they are less efficient because they
                                               with CFLs, you can save $54.02
vapor lamps are more efficient than                                                                          produce a light that has a truer color
                                               per year (based on 10 cents/kwh
mercury vapor lamps.                                                                                         than the yellow light emitted by
                                               and four hours of use per day).
                                                                                                             high-pressure sodium lights.
                                               CFLs also have longer average
Questions to ask:                              life, lasting 6,000 to 10,000 hours                         • Timers can ensure that your lights
                                               versus about 1,000 hours for an                               will be turned off during hours
• Are lights off if they are not needed?
                                               incandescent bulb. CFLs are not                               when they are not needed.
• Are light fixtures kept clean?               generally recommended for outdoor                             Daylight sensors, motion detectors
• Can you use localized lighting
  instead of general lighting for
  the job?                                   Table 1. Comparison of lamp types. From Energy Efficient Agricultural Lighting (see link in resources).
• Can incandescent bulbs be replaced
                                                                                     Average                            Starting     Instant    Contains
  with compact fluorescent lamps             Lamp Type            Lumens/watt          life              Color        temperature      on       mercury
                                                                                       (hours)                                (°F)
• Can high-intensity discharge (HID)
                                             Incandescent            7-20               100              White           >-40 °F      Yes          No
  lamps (metal halide, sodium vapor
  or T8 fluorescent lamp) be used?           Halogen                 12-21            2-6000             White           >-40°F       Yes          No
                                             Mercury Vapor           26-39            24,000           White-blue         -22°F       No*        Recycling
• Are lamps in the best location for
  the job?
                                             Compact                 45-55         6,000 -10,000         White        -20°F or 0°F    Yes        Recycling
• Would timers be beneficial in              Fluorescent                                                                                       recommended
  turning lights on and off?                 T-12 HO                 30-70        9,000 - 12,000         White           -20 °F       Yes        Recycling
• Would lights controlled with a             Fluorescent                                                                                       recommended
  motion sensor be a possibility?            Metal Halide            41-79        10,000 - 20,000        Bluish           -22°F       No*        Recycling
                                             Pulse Start             60-74        15,000 -32,000         Bluish           -40°F       No*        Recycling
                                             Metal Halide                                                                                      recommended
                                             T-12 (1.5-inch)         62-80        9,000 – 12,000         White            50 °F       Yes        Recycling
                                             Fluorescent                                                                                       recommended
                                             T-8 HO Fluorescent        81             18,000             White           -20 °F       Yes        Recycling
                                             High-pressure           66-97            24,000         Yellow-orange       -40 °F       No*        Recycling
                                             Sodium                                                                                            recommended
                                             T-8 (1-inch)            76-93        15,000 – 20,000        White            0 °F        Yes        Recycling
                                             Fluorescent)                                                                                      recommended
                                             T-5 (5/8-inch)          83-85            20,000             White            0 °F        Yes        Recycling
                                             Fluorescent #                                                                                     recommended
Figure 7. Halogen yard light with
a motion detector.                           * Requires warmup to reach full output; #: not recommended for ag applications

8   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
  and timers can be set for security      • HID lights consume 50 percent             Additional Resources
  yard lighting that turns on at night      to 90 percent less energy than            Energy Efficient Agricultural Lighting,
  or when motion occurs and then            comparable incandescent bulbs,             University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  turns off after a few hours when          but take several minutes to achieve        Available at http://learningstore.uwex.
  activity is lower, after midnight         rated intensity. They generally are        edu/Energy-Efficient-Agricultural-
  for example.                              used to illuminate large areas.            Lighting-P132C29.aspx
• Cleaning dust off reflective surfaces   • Motion sensors can be used to turn        U. S. government Web site for the
  of light fixtures will help maintain      lights on in areas when someone            Energy Star program. Available at
  light output. Dust absorbs light          enters the room or motion occurs 
  waves and will reduce the output          outdoors. They then turn the lights
  of lights.                                off after a period of time when no        General electric online calculator to
                                                                                       determine savings by replacing
                                            motion is sensed, eliminating
• Providing spot lighting for work                                                     incandescent bulbs with CFLs.
                                            unnecessary electrical usage.
  areas can reduce the need for more                                                   Available at
  costly general lighting.                                                             home_lighting/products/

  Various sizes and
  of CFLs

                                                                          65 watt CFL
                                                                          for 175 watt
                                                                          mercury vapor yard light

                                                                                   CFLs used
                                                                                  in livestock
                                                                                   need to be
                 Comparison of T-12, T-8 and T-5 fluorescent bulbs                  in sealed
             Figure 8. Energy efficient lights.

                                                                                               •   9
Farm Shop
The farm shop is often the second         • Insulation around the shop founda-      • Double- or triple-glazed windows
most used building during the               tion should be at least 2 inches of       help reduce heat loss and moisture
winter after the home. It needs             extruded polystyrene (enclosed cell       condensation. A window with single
to be well-insulated and sealed             insulation) installed at least 2 feet     glazing will have an R-value of
to keep energy use to a minimum.            below ground level. Any concrete          about 0.9, whereas a double-glazed
                                            exposed above ground level needs          window with an inert gas between
                                            insulation and the insulation above       panes will have an R-value of 3.0
Questions to ask:                           ground needs to be covered to             to 4.0
• Is insulation adequate in the walls,      prevent damage from birds, rodents
                                                                                    • The large doors for bringing
  ceiling and doors of the shop?            and sunlight. Be sure to extend the
                                                                                      machinery in and out of the shop
                                            insulation cover well below ground
• Do the doors fit tightly to limit                                                   should face away from prevailing
                                            level (6 inches or more).
  air infiltration?                                                                   winter winds. Prevailing winter
                                          • Waste engine oil is an excellent          winds are usually from the north-
• Do you have insulation around
                                            source of heat. Used engine oil           west. Installing the large doors
  the shop floor and foundation that
                                            tends to accumulate extremely fast        facing south or east will prevent a
  extends at least 2 feet below ground?
                                            during times when farm engines are        considerable amount of heat loss
• Do you use your waste engine oil          operating. Store this oil in a large      when doors are opened.
  for heating the shop?                     barrel to use for heating during
                                                                                    • Use zone heating. Heat only
• Do you have good, economical              the winter. Several manufacturers
                                                                                      the areas that need to be heated.
  lighting in the shop?                     make waste oil heaters and many
                                                                                      Directional heaters over work
                                            heaters can use fuel oil if the waste
• Do you have a minimal amount                                                        benches are examples. Separating
                                            oil runs out.
  of windows in the shop?                                                             the shop from the storage area,
                                          • Large or many windows increase            even with a plastic curtain, can
• Are windows double glazed?                heat loss and limit useable wall          save a significant amount of heat.
• Do large shop doors face south            space for tools. They usually provide
                                                                                    • Dense shelterbelts reduce the wind
  or east?                                  little light in the shop as the days
                                                                                      velocity and reduce the energy
                                            are short in winter and the light
• Do you have a dense shelterbelt                                                     needed to heat the shop. Short,
                                            they provide is usually near the
  on the west and north side of                                                       dense trees should be located
                                            wall where they are installed.
  your farmstead?                                                                     on the edge of the shelterbelt and
                                          • Good overhead lighting is a               the taller trees located in the middle.
Facts and Actions:                          necessity in a shop. Use metal            Shelterbelts should be at least
                                            halide or T-8 fluorescent lamps for       100 feet from the shop to reduce
Farm Shop                                   economical lighting that will keep        the problem of snow buildup
• Insulation with an R-30 to R-40           electricity use to a minimum and          near the shop.
  value in the ceiling and R-18 value       give good lighting to work on
  in the sidewalls is recommended.          equipment. Metal halides are slow to    Additional Resources
  Doors should have an R-value of           come on, so one or two incandescent
                                                                                    Planning Farm Shops, AE-1066,
  10 to 12.                                 bulbs may be helpful to provide           North Dakota State University
• If doors do not fit tightly and           light when you enter the shop.            Extension Service, Fargo, ND 58105.
  allow significant amounts of cold                                                   Available at
  air in, weather stripping should be                                                 ageng/structu/ae1066w.htm
  installed. Air infiltration is one of                                             Farm Shop Plans Book, MWPS-26,
  the largest heat wasters in many                                                    Midwest Plan Service, Iowa State
  buildings.                                                                          University, Ames, Iowa. Available

10   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
Agricultural irrigation is an energy-     • If you have iron in the irrigation         Annual chlorination will control
intensive operation. Pressurized            water, do you chlorinate the well          the iron bacteria.
irrigation systems, especially center-      each year?
                                                                                     • Regular pump maintenance includes
pivot sprinkler, use a high flow-rate     • If you have an electric motor, can         proper greasing and filling oil
pump and require a large electric           you subscribe to controlled electric       reservoirs every year. Proper
motor or engine. The major causes of        rates (off-peak) from your electric        adjustment of packing glands and
increased energy use are with pipeline      supplier?                                  adjusting impellers on deep well
leaks, engine efficiency, pump                                                         turbines on a regular basis are very
efficiency and well maintenance.          Facts and Actions:                           important. Replacing diesel pump
                                                                                       motors with electric motors can
Poor water application uniformity also    Irrigation                                   have significant cost savings.
can affect energy use by increasing
                                          • Use of consistent irrigation
pumping time. On center-pivot                                                        • Most electric suppliers offer
                                            scheduling often can reduce energy
systems, the major causes of poor                                                      controlled (off-peak) electric rates
                                            use by 7 percent to 30 percent. Using
water application uniformity are            an ET-based irrigation scheduling          for irrigation pumping systems.
worn or wrong size sprinkler nozzles,       system can ensure you are not              Using off-peak power rates can
missing sprinkler heads and leaking         under or overwatering the crop.            reduce pumping costs significantly,
boots. Using a consistent method                                                       compared with regular power rates.
                                          • The average life expectancy of a           However, off-peak rates should
of irrigation scheduling during
                                            sprinkler head is about seven years.       not be used with high-value crops
the growing season can optimize             Sprinkler head nozzle diameter is
water application.                                                                     such as potatoes and onions.
                                            very important for uniform water           Ask your electric supplier
                                            application and the nozzle diameter        whether off-peak power rates
Questions to ask:                           can increase with use, especially if       would work for your operation.
                                            sand or grit gets into the water. Poor
• Do you have a good procedure for
                                            application uniformity increases
  determining when to irrigate and                                                   Additional Resources
                                            water pumping time and therefore
  how much water to apply? Do you                                                    Care and Maintenance of Irrigation
                                            energy use. Replace broken
  use evapotranspiration (ET)-based                                                   Wells, AE-97. North Dakota State
                                            sprinkler heads as soon as possible.
  irrigation scheduling?                                                              University Extension Service. Fargo,
                                            Do a “can test” to check the unifor-
                                                                                      N.D., 2005. Available at
• Are the sprinkler nozzles on your         mity of the application pattern.          edu/pubs/ageng/irrigate/ae97w.htm
  center pivot providing a uniform          Repair all leaks on the center
  application pattern along the full        pivot as soon as they are noticed.       Irrigation Water Pumps, AE-1057.
  length? Have the sprinkler heads                                                     North Dakota State University
                                          • Buried pipelines rarely have leaks
  and nozzles been on the pivot                                                        Extension Service. Fargo, N.D. 1993.
                                            unless they were not pumped out            Available at
  more than seven years? Have you
                                            before winter. However, above-             ageng/irrigate/ae1057w.htm
  checked nozzle sizes to see that they
                                            ground pipelines frequently have
  match the nozzle sizes listed in the                                               Irrigation Scheduling Checkbook
                                            worn gaskets and up to 30 percent
  sprinkler package printout from                                                      Method Tutorial. University of
                                            of the water can be lost. Replace
  your dealer?                                                                         Minnesota Extension Service, 2002.
                                            leaking gaskets and plug any holes.
                                                                                       Available at
• Do you annually check for pipeline
                                          • The drawdown in a well increases if        distribution/cropsystems/DC1322.html
  leaks, missing nozzles and nozzles
                                            the screen becomes plugged, greatly
  that are not rotating properly?                                                    Irrigation testing – link to uniformity
                                            increasing pumping costs. Screens
                                                                                       testing procedure (can test) and
• If you have an engine powering the        become plugged due to mineral              spreadsheet for calculating
  pump, do you change the oil and           incrustation or iron bacteria. Mineral     coefficient of uniformity. University
  filter according to manufacturer          incrustation occurs through time. By       of Wisconsin-Madison. Available at
  recommendations? Are the pump             measuring the static and pumping 
  and motor or engine receiving             water levels each year, the increase
                                                                                     Energy Saving Tips for Irrigators,
  regular annual maintenance?               in drawdown can be measured and
                                                                                      National Sustainable Agriculture
• Do you record the static and              corrective action initiated. Iron in
                                                                                      Information Service. 2006. Available at
  pumping water levels in the               the water usually means iron    
  well every year?                          bacteria are present in the well.         energytips_irrig.pdf

                                                                                            • 11
Livestock Buildings
Ventilation is needed in confined        Questions to ask:                         Facts and Actions:
livestock structures to remove heat
and moisture and maintain air quality.
                                         • Are fan blades, motors and              Livestock Buildings
                                           housings clean?                         • Keeping dust off fan components
The amount of ventilation needed
                                         • Can you use natural ventilation           helps motors operate at a cooler
varies depending on outside air
                                           successfully?                             temperature and prolongs their life.
temperature, inside temperature,
                                         • Are ventilation fans the right size       Clean blades move more air. Dirt,
amount of moisture to be removed,
                                           for the number of animals in the          chaff and animal hair clinging to
odors to be controlled and the                                                       protective guards reduces air flow.
heat produced by the animals
                                         • Do automatic controls work for          • Natural ventilation uses airflow
and equipment.
                                           your application?                         passages that allow clean air to
Reducing the energy needed for                                                       enter a building and displace
                                         • Would zone heating and ventilation
ventilation equipment involves                                                       stagnate or dirty air at a natural exit.
                                           systems be appropriate?
determining the number of fans                                                       This is caused by a difference in
needed to do the job and operating       • Would an air-to-air heat exchanger        building pressure and atmospheric
only those fans for as short a time        be appropriate?                           pressure or thermal buoyancy of air.
as possible. For example, winter         • Is insulation adequate to prevent         Using natural ventilation wherever
ventilation usually will be less than      condensation problems?                    possible will save energy by
                                                                                     reducing the number of ventilation
spring or fall ventilation and much      • Are heating systems for livestock         fans needed for an air exchange.
less than summer ventilation.              adjusted properly?                        Opening curtain side walls with
Summer ventilation is usually
                                         • Are thermostats accurate and              buildings that are equipped with
high due to high heat loads.                                                         them is an example.
                                           located so that they are not affected
Winter ventilation is usually low due
                                           by drafts and direct sunlight?          • Sizing fans correctly for building
to only needing enough air exchange
                                         • Is more building insulation               ventilation is important. Fans
to remove moisture and maintain air
                                           necessary?                                larger than necessary waste energy
quality. Fan efficiency is reduced if
                                                                                     and will produce a cold air blast in
obstructions are near or in front        • Are you using the most
                                                                                     the winter, while undersized fans
of fans.                                   energy-efficient technology
                                                                                     will not adequately exchange
                                           for your livestock operations?
Improved energy efficiency for                                                       building air.
livestock buildings has been made                                                  • Automatically controlled
possible through several advances                                                    ventilation systems reduce
in technology. Examples can be found                                                 unnecessary fan operation and
in efficient heat lamps, creep pads                                                  provide more uniform climate
and more energy-efficient milking                                                    control. Variable-speed controllers
operations.                                                                          can be used to control the amount
                                                                                     of air exhausted by slowing or
                                                                                     increasing the speed of a fan based
                                                                                     on the building temperature.
                                                                                   • Select fans that are energy efficient.
                                                                                     Fan efficiency is measured as
                                                                                     cfm/watt (cubic feet per minute
                                                                                     per watt) or air moved per energy
                                                                                     consumed at a specific static
                                                                                     pressure. The difference between
                                                                                     the best and worst performing fans
                                                                                     is two-fold; therefore, if you make a
                                                                                     poor choice, ventilation costs could
                                                                                     be twice what they could have been
                                                                                     by choosing a more efficient fan.

12   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
  Two sources of independent
  test data for ventilation fans are
  available: 1) BESS Lab – University
  of Illinois and 2) Air Movement
  Control Association. Both have
  on online access to fan test results;
  see links below.
• Fans with diffuser or discharge
  cones are 12 percent to 26 percent
  more efficient than fans without
• Large-diameter fans are more
  efficient than smaller-diameter fans.
• Significant energy savings can be
  achieved through zone heating.
  The savings come from heating or
  ventilating only rooms or areas of
  buildings that are used or need more
  climate control.
• Insulation in livestock confinement
  buildings is necessary to reduce heat   Figure 9. Livestock air ventilation system.
  loss and reduce the problem of
  condensation on walls and ceiling.
• Beef and dairy calves may not
  require supplemental heat unless
  they are born in very inclement
                                          Additional Resources                        Midwest Plan Service publications:
                                                                                       Low-cost agricultural publications
  weather. A “hot box” or homemade        Agricultural Ventilation Fan Performance
                                                                                       available through Iowa State
  spotlight heating unit may be useful     Tests. BESS lab University of Illinois,
                                                                                       University at
  for this purpose.                        Urbana, Ill. Available at
                                                  Beef Housing and Equipment
• Baby swine and poultry require very
                                                                                        Handbook, Midwest Plan Service,
  precise temperature and humidity        Air Movement Control Association.
                                                                                        MWPS-6. Fourth Edition, 1987.
  regulation that is normally              Available at
  engineered into the building;                                                       Dairy Freestall Housing and
                                          Fan Performance and Efficiency
  however, additional or spot heat                                                     Equipment, Midwest Plan Service,
                                            for Animal Ventilation Systems.
  can be provided if required. Certain                                                 MWPS-7. Seventh Edition, 2000.
                                            University of Minnesota Extension
  safety precautions need to be             Service, 1994. Available at               Swine Farrowing Handbook, Midwest
  considered. Heated creep pads for        Plan Service, MWPS-40. 1992.
  swine are more energy efficient than      livestocksystems/DI0956.html
  heat lamps and provide more evenly                                                  Sheep Housing and Equipment
                                          Save Energy in the Farrowing Room             Handbook. Midwest Plan Service.
  distributed warmth.
                                            with Hovers. University of Minnesota        MWPS-3. Fourth Edition, 2002.
• On dairy farms, using variable-           Extension Service, 1994. Available at
  speed drives for vacuum systems        Horse Facilities handbook. Midwest
  can save up to 60 percent on energy       livestocksystems/DI6513.html               Plan Service, MWPS-60. 2004.
  costs normally spent moving
                                          Dairy Farm Energy Management
  the milk.
                                           Handbook. Wisconsin Department
• Milk precoolers likely will save         of Agriculture, Trade and
  15 percent to 30 percent per month       Consumer Protection. Available at
  on milk cooling energy costs.  
  The precooler uses well water to         dfeh/index.jsp
  cool the milk before it goes into
  the bulk tank.

                                                                                            • 13
Livestock Water Systems
A dependable supply of drinking          Facts and Actions:                            • Energy-free or frost-free water
water is essential in any livestock                                                      fountains can be operated without
production facility. Keeping the water
                                         Livestock Water Systems                         the need for a heater even in harsh
                                         • Adequate water for livestock is               winters of the northern Plains.
from freezing is important so the
                                           essential. Water fountains that               These types of water fountains
animals can drink at any time.
                                           overflow are costly from the                  cover the water surface with balls,
Most of the energy used by a livestock
                                           standpoint of pumping the excess              lids or small openings to reduce
water fountain is used to keep the
                                           water or purchasing the water                 heat losses. They require no
water from freezing. Insulation around     from a rural water supplier.                  supplemental energy, but require
the automatic waterer or water tank
                                         • Improperly working thermostats are            a minimum number of animals
and protection from the wind will
                                           a common problem. Test to make                drinking from the fountain to keep
help reduce the heat loss and thereby                                                    from freezing. They can save $60
                                           sure the thermostat is functioning
reduce the energy needed.                                                                to several hundred dollars per year,
Keeping float valves in good condition                                                   depending on the type of fountain
                                         • Adjust thermostats to maintain                (Figure 8).
so they don’t stick open or leak will      frost-free water. Groundwater
reduce energy needs by reducing            temperatures are generally between          • Insulate the concrete surface inside
the amount of water that must be           42 °F and 52 °F, so make sure the             fountains and add insulation inside
pumped, heated or evaporated.              setting is below that level so the            the fountain body and inside the
The amount of ice and mud around           heater does not turn on when                  top 3 feet of the riser pipe.
waterers also will be reduced.             animals drink. Thermostat settings          • When installing the fountain,
                                           from 32 to 34 °F will provide                 use 12-inch-diameter (minimum)
                                           frost-free water.
Questions to ask:                                                                        heat well for riser pipe.

• Are you using a water fountain                                                       • Make sure to protect the water
  with a covered water surface?                                                          fountain from the wind.
• Do water bowl covers fit snuggly,
  but can be easily opened by
• Is the thermostat set so that the
  water does not freeze but not so
  high that it turns the heater on
  when livestock drink? (32 to 34 °F)
• Is the thermostat working properly?
• Is good wind protection around
  the water fountain?
• Do float valves leak?
• Would extra insulation be
  beneficial? Can it be installed?
• Is the waterer the right size for
  the number of animals?

                                         Figure 10. Energy-free livestock water fountain.
                                         (Photo courtesy of Ritchie Industries Inc.)

14   • A-1366 Farmstead Energy Audit
Additional Resources
Energy Free Water Fountains,
 Agri-fact, Alberta Agriculture and
 Rural Development, Alberta, Canada.
 Available at

Midwest Plan Service publications:
 Low-cost agricultural publications
 available through Iowa State
 University, Ames, Iowa, at

Beef Housing and Equipment
  Handbook, Midwest Plan Service,
  MWPS-6. Fourth Edition, 1987.

Dairy Freestall Housing and
 Equipment, Midwest Plan Service,
 MWPS-7. Seventh Edition, 2000.

Swine Farrowing Handbook, Midwest
 Plan Service, MWPS-40. 1992.

Sheep Housing and Equipment
  Handbook. Midwest Plan Service.
  MWPS-3. Fourth Edition, 2002.

Horse Facilities handbook. Midwest
 Plan Service, MWPS-60. 2004.

                                 • 15
                          This is not a complete list of ways to make your operation more cost effective and
                          energy efficient. The hope is that this guide will serve as a starting point for energy
                          savings and that you will consider additional items that are specific to your operation.

                          If you have questions about techniques for implementing any conservation measures,
                          contact your local Extension office. Additional sources of information can be found
                          at the following Web sites:

                          • The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, at

                          • North Dakota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
                            Energy Programs, found at

                          • North Dakota State University Extension Service, Fargo, N.D., energy home page found at

                                                  For more information about energy
                                                   from the NDSU Extension Service:

                               Vern Anderson, Ph.D., Animal Scientist. North Dakota State University, Carrington Research Extension Center.
                                                       William Casady, Ph.D., P.E., Associate Professor. University of Missouri.
                                       Chet Hill, Agriculture Diversification Specialist. North Dakota State University Extension Service.
                                              Randy Hauck, Member Services Manager. Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Velva, N,D.
                                                     Larry Oswald, CEM. Manager energy programs. Montana Dakota Utilities.
                                                     Scott Sanford, Senior Outreach Specialist. University of Wisconsin, Madison.

               This publication may be copied for noncommercial, educational purposes in its entirety with no changes. Requests to use any portion of the document
              (including text, graphics or photos) should be sent to Include exactly what is requested for use and how it will be used.
                                             For more information on this and other topics, see:
North Dakota State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam Era Veterans status, sexual orientation, marital status, or public
16 • status. Farmstead Energy Audit
assistanceA-1366Direct inquiries to the Executive Director and Chief Diversity Officer, 202 Old Main, (701) 231-7708.                                                                              2M-6-08