10 July 1998

Energy audit move

A SIMPLE self-assessed audit to identify where energy costs can be cut in livestock housing has been launched by the Farm Electric Centre.

Energy bills amount to 2.5% of total variable costs, but often producers do not know which equipment is more costly to run and, therefore, where savings can be made, said FEC livestock specialist Steve Bettany.

Although energy costs look less important than feed costs, energy is used to control environmental conditions in livestock housing which has a large effect on feed use and efficiency, said Mr Bettany.

"Ask producers which is more costly to run, lighting or ventilation systems and most will say it is the latter. It is not; there is a great deal of misunderstanding about energy use," he says.

The easy-to-use 30-page audit gets producers to identify energy use, such as lighting, in each building or room. Using guidance notes, it is possible to assess and then prioritise energy use and areas where savings could be made. For example, producers could fit high-pressure sodium light bulbs which are cheaper to run, he said.

Summaries of completed audits should be sent to the FEC where energy specialists will analyse where potential savings can be made for each producer. There is also a free telephone support service.

Costing £40, the audit is currently available to pig producers and versions for dairy and poultry units will become available over the next few weeks.