Significant energy savings, ease of handling and durability are just some of the attributes being claimed for insulating material, Valeron AVA, which is being installed on a number of farms in the egg and broiler sectors.

The material comes in rolls 1.25m wide and 96m long, giving a total coverage of 120sq/m, explains Allan Meldrum of Food Chain Innovation which is marketing the product. “It is like a sandwich,” he says. “The core product, Valeron, is a three-way polypropylene weave made in Belgium, which is then shipped over to Bristol, where aluminium foil is stuck on both sides.”

Installing the lining is relatively easy – “a job for a good joiner and a couple of young lads” – and once in place it seals the unit, conserving energy in poultry housing in cool climates, while reflecting heat away in hot countries,

“Brooding costs are up to 30% lower, with initial heating up time reduced to a matter of a few hours from the usual 24 hours plus,” claims Mr Meldrum. “We also see improved litter quality through better environment control, with a reduction in topping up saving 25% in litter usage.

In the UK it has been used to completely insulate a large broiler unit in Essex, and leading egg packer Noble Foods is using it to improve and refurbish its pullet rearing facilities in Scotland. “Initial results indicate more than 25% saving in gas consumption,” says Sam Davison, engineering manager of Noble Foods.

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