WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #163
How to Get a Greener Barn
Consider these energy-conserving tips to save money and minimize
your barn's carbon footprint.
Do you have a "green" barn? We're not talking color, here, but
the extent to which your horses' home is as energy-efficientas it
can be. Here are some tips to help you nudge your barn in that
direction, without breaking the bank-and with a resulting cost
savings on energy down the line. (Plus, you may become eligible
for tax credits or reimbursements.
CHANGE LIGHT BULBS
Yes, this one's the same as for your own home. Switch out
standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent
lighting specially designed for equine facilities (one source:
equilumination.com). Compact fluorescents use one-fourth the
electricity of incandescent bulbs, provide the same amount of
light, and last nine times longer (about 6,000 to 10,000 hours,
compared to roughly 750 to 1,000 hours for incandescents). Some
fluorescent lighting is even designed to be safe for use in and
around wash racks.
DIM AND 'DETECT.'
Install dimmer switches on your lights so you can moderate use
(and save electricity) when full brightness isn't necessary.
Outside your barn, use motion-detector lighting that switches on
only at need, rather than leaving lights on continuously through
LIGHT WITH THE SUN.
Consider installing reflective rooftop domes that capture
sunlight and redirect it down into your barn via reflective tubes
(one source: solatube.com). The tubing typically fits between
rafters and installs with no structural modification. Your horses
may be happier under this type of light than under fluorescent
lightingplus, light from the sun is free.
USE SOLAR POWER.
Systems that V use energy from the sun are now available to power
many functions that traditionally have used standard electricity,
including hot-water heaters, water pumps, and electric fences.
PRESERVE HOT WATER.
If you do heat water for your barn, insulate your tank and your
hot-water lines to avoid heat leakage. For non-solar heaters, use
a timer on the tank so the water is heated only when you
typically need it, and regularly flush the sediment from your
tank to increase its heating efficiency. Or, install a tankless,
on-demand hot-water system.
If you use automatic waterers but I don't have the latest energy
efficient type, consider upgrading to one of the newer insulated
units with lowwattage heating elements.
IRRIGATE WITH CARE.
If you irrigate pastures, be careful not to overwater, and
minimize evaporative loss by scheduling waterings to avoid
especially hot, sunny, or windy days.
MOVE THE AIR.
Be a fan of fans. Barn fans not only keep barns fresher and
reduce bugs and bacteria in the summertime, they also help to
equalize temperatures and circulate horses' body heat in
wintertime. Some models are even solar-powered, which saves
further on energy costs.
If you live in a cold clime and especially if you heat your barn
in the wintertime, consider having insulation added to your barn
walls and ceilings. If you use a lot of energy for heating, the
savings over the long term will offset the cost of improvements.
CONSIDER WINDPOWER. Find out about the potential of generating
wind energy to power your barn. (Google "Wind Energy Resource
Atlas of the United States" for help determining whether you have
enough wind in your area to run a windmill.)
MIND THE MAINTENANCE.
To save on fuel costs, make sure your farm
equipment tires are inflated properly, and be sure to follow
recommended maintenance schedules for most efficient performance.
OCTOBER 2011 "HORSE and RIDER"