Getting the Most from Your Energy Dollar...
There’s no avoiding this reality in farming: Direct energy accounts for 5 to 7 percent of farm expenditures; indirect energy accounts for 9 to 10 percent. Because small farms operate on profit margins well under 10 percent, efficiency measures that reduce energy costs can make a real impact.
The following websites offer online tools that can be used to make high-level efficiency, cost savings calculations. While these calculators do not offer the level of detail recommended for project implementation, they will give a general sense of the size of opportunity linked to a best management practice for your operations.
Below you'll find links to several energy calculators. Keep in mind that each of the tools described here has its own unique uses and limits. Check them out to see which might work for your operation.
USDA-NRCS Energy Estimator: Animal Housing
This tool is designed to enable you to estimate potential energy savings associated with swine, poultry or dairy cow housing operations on your farm or ranch. The tool evaluates major energy costs in lighting, ventilation and heating costs for swine and poultry, as well as major energy costs for lighting, air circulation, milk cooling, water heating and milk harvesting for a typical dairy.
USDA-NRCS Energy Self Assessment Tools
A wide variety of tools to help farmers and ranchers conserve energy and explore renewable energy options. The energy conservation tools include dairy, grain drying, irrigation, storage, greenhouses, lighting, livestock, water fountains and ventilation. Renewable energy tools are provided for solar water heating, solar electric (photovoltaic), wind turbines, biomass, and biogas.