Dairy Rising energy costs and unstable milk prices are making it more and more difficult for many dairy farms to stay in business, and considering that 97 percent of the 51,000 dairy farms in the U.S. are family owned, that's a lot of livelihoods at stake.
Dairy farms consume more energy than any other agricultural sector. Dairy operations spend $1.5 billion a year on purchased electricity and fuels, the bulk of which is used for ventilation, lighting, and milk cooling. Widespread concern for the environment and decreasing profits due to high energy and feed costs are driving the trend of efforts to increase energy efficiency on dairy farms, which can have a huge impact on an operation's bottom line.
Star Energy Solutions is dedicated to helping dairy farmers increase productivity and profits while reducing their environmental impact. Our comprehensive energy audits examine all aspects of a farm's energy consumption. We examine utility bills, inspect HVAC equipment, distribution systems and dairy equipment, analyze building envelopes and measure greenhouse gas emissions to accurately gauge your overall energy consumption and measure the environmental impact of your operation.
Armed with this information, we work with farmers to develop clear-cut, actionable energy conservation goals and develop a list of opportunities to improve efficiency that will lower utility bills and increase the operation's bottom line.
Solutions for increasing the energy efficiency of your operation include utilizing new technologies; replacing outdated and oversized equipment with properly-sized, high efficiency models; utilizing alternative fuel sources and developing no-cost and low-cost strategies to reduce the amount of energy you use, lower your carbon footprint and boost profits.
It can't be overstated that increasing the energy efficiency of your operation is the most effective way to reduce your overall operating costs. Retrofitting older equipment with new, energy-saving technologies is a cost-effective way to save money on the farm. For example, vacuum pumps account for about 25 percent of all of the electricity consumed in dairy farm operations, and installing a variable speed drives on these pumps can reduce their energy consumption by up to 60 percent. Replacing inefficient lighting with high-efficiency bulbs and installing timers and motion detectors can save up to 75 percent on lighting costs.
In addition to providing sustainable and practical solutions for increasing energy efficiency, Star Energy Solutions provides training and tools for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of energy use, which alone can reduce your overall energy costs by up to 15 percent.