The Carbon Trust — an independent company set up by the government — is offering interest-free loans, designed to pay for themselves through direct energy savings, over a period of up to four years. The Trust says that upgrading heating and ventilation controls on livestock farms typically costs £3,000 and saves over £4,000 and 23 tonnes of CO2 a year.
“Given this sort of payback there is no longer any excuse for wasting energy,” says Nick Bird. He points out that in pig production the biggest savings are in the farrowing houses and weaner pens where energy use is the most intensive and, generally, the most wasteful.
A Farmex/BPEX energy survey showed that a typical farrowing house uses 1,500-2,500 kWh per pen place annually, whereas a ‘good’ unit uses as little as 900 kWh — giving a possible saving of £52 to £141 per year.
Typical weaner pens use 100-200 kWh per weaner place a year compared with efficient ones using only 30 kWh, offering a saving of between £6 and £15 per weaner place per year.
Loans of as much as £570 and £60 could be available for saving energy per farrowing pen and per weaner place, respectively.
“Monitoring is crucially important to in achieving energy savings. Our energy survey show that just having the right equipment is only part of the battle,” said Nick Bird. “You have to learn to use it well. Monitoring with professional assistance can make all the difference.”