Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for Saving Money on the Farm


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Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for Saving Money on the Farm

  1. 1. Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for saving money on the farm A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Holly Hill Agricultural producers depend on energy, an important input to production. Direct costs of energy,NCAT Research such as fuel and electricity, paired with indirect energy costs in the form of fertilizers and chemicals, canSpecialist significantly affect farm net revenues, especially as the price of energy continues to rise. Minimizing direct© 2008 NCAT and indirect energy consumption on farms in the United States can lead to considerable savings.ContentsFarm energy Figure 1. Total energy directly and indirectly consumed on U.S. farms in 2002 was 1.7 quadrillion Btu.calculators......................... 2General farmcalculators......................... 4Renewable energycalculators......................... 4Biofuels and biomass Source: Johncalculators......................... 5 Miranowski, EnergyEnergy efficiency Consumption in UScalculators......................... 6 Agriculture. In Joe Outlaw, Keith Collins, and James Duffield, eds., Agriculture as a Producer and Consumer of Energy, CABI Publishing, Cambridge, MA, pp. 68-111, 2005. Introduction Farm energy calculators are another set of T tools to estimate energy consumption and he fi rst step to reducing farm energy calculate the cost of various energy inputs costs is determining where you useATTRA – National Sustainable on your farm.Agriculture Information Service energy in your operation. One way tois managed by the National Cen- gauge energy use is to have an accredited This publication provides links to a vari-ter for Appropriate Technology(NCAT) and is funded under a agency perform an energy audit on your ety of farm energy calculators availablegrant from the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture’s Rural farm. Several organizations provide farm on the Internet. This list is a cross sec-Business-Cooperative Service. energy audits, which examine existing energy tion of Web-based calculators and is notVisit the NCAT Web site ( consumption and determine opportunities for comprehensive. Keep in mind that eachphp) for more informa-tion on our sustainable savings through energy efficiency improve- tool has its own limitations and does notagriculture projects. ments and equipment upgrades. provide farm-specific recommendations.
  2. 2. However, by changing user input you can cow operations on your farm or ranch. begin to evaluate options for simple, cost- The tool estimates savings from efficiency effective solutions that can cut input costs improvements to lighting, ventilation and and save money. For more information on heating systems for swine, poultry and how to increase energy efficiency on your dairy cow housing. The tool also estimates farm, see the following ATTRA publications: savings for more efficient ways to heat water Eff icient Agricultural Buildings: An and cool and harvest milk. Overview, Energy Saving Tips for Irrigators, Maintaining Irrigation Pumps, Motors and Engines and Conserving Fuel on the Farm. Farm Assessment Toolkit This online toolkit assesses your farm Farm energy calculators operation’s energy efficiency, identi- fies areas for improvement and sug- USDA-NRCS Energy Estimator: gests energy-efficient equipment and Nitrogen management options. The University of The Energy Estimator for Nitrogen, devel- Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin’s oped by the U.S. Department of Agricul- Focus on Energy, a group that works to ture’s Natural Resources ConservationRelated ATTRA install cost-effective, energy-efficiency and Service, enables you to calculate thepublications renewable energy projects, jointly devel- potential cost savings related to nitrogen oped the toolkit. Each assessment will takeEfficient Agricultural use on your farm or ranch. NRCS agron-Buildings: An about 10 to 20 minutes to complete. The omists developed this model to integrateOverview assessments collect general information general technical information on nitrogen about your operation to help determine ifEnergy Saving Tips use with farm-specific information on fer- you may be able to save energy. At the endfor Irrigators tilizer types, costs, timing and placement. of each assessment, you will get a reportMaintaining Irrigation with your responses and any appropriatePumps, Motors and energy tips. After completing an assess-Engines USDA-NRCS Energy Estimator: ment, you can print out the report and useConserving Fuel on Tillage it to guide decisions you make to improvethe Farm This tool estimates diesel fuel use and costs the energy efficiency of your operation. in the production of key crops in your area You may also wish to contact a Focus and compares potential energy savings on Energy representative or partner for between conventional tillage and alterna- additional assistance. tive tillage systems. Alliant Energy Farm Energy Audit USDA-NRCS Energy Estimator: This calculator, from Alliant Energy, a Irrigation public utility holding company in Madison, This tool enables you to estimate the energy Wisconsin, estimates the electric energy costs of pumping water for irrigation on use of equipment and appliances that your farm or ranch. The estimator is based you operate on your farm. The calculator on your specific crops, energy prices and recommends energy-saving alternatives pumping requirements. It estimates energy and estimates potential savings. Addi- savings from implementing a selection of tional calculators from Alliant Energy system improvements. analyze potential savings for electric motors, grain dryers, heat reclaimers, irrigation systems, lighting equipment, USDA-NRCS Energy Estimator: milking equipment, scroll compressors Animal Housing and ventilation systems. This tool calculates energy use and costs associated with swine, poultry or dairy public/documents/pub/p010003.hcspPage 2 ATTRA Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for saving money on the farm
  3. 3. Oregon Tilth and Oregon State for water heating, milking systems, milkUniversity Organic Fertilizer Calculator chilling and lighting specific to dairy farms,This organic fertilizer calculator will help as well as case studies of cost savings andyou choose soil amendments based on cost payback time.effectiveness and soil and crop requirements. file download includes a Microsoft Excelcalculator and instructions. Note that there DLtech, Inc., Dairy Farm Energyare several worksheets within the calculator. Calculators This page includes milk harvesting, milk cool-organic-fertilizer-calculator ing, lighting, ventilation and equipment calcu- lators. DLtech is a New York-based companyWisconsin Public Service Corporation that serves agriculture through engineeredSavings Calculators electro-technology that enables farmers toThese calculators estimate savings from produce a better product, conserve energyinstalling energy-efficient equipment for and improve profitability. These calculatorsthese specific applications: tractor engine complement DLtech’s Dairy Farm Energyblock heaters, vacuum pumps, ventilation Management Guide, which discusses how tosystems and milk pre-coolers. manage energy costs Calculators.docMontana State University Farm Nitrogen Management on Dairy FarmsEnergy Calculator This Web site, a partnership of Cornell Uni-This energy calculator helps you exam- versity, the University of Vermont and theine the costs and energy used in three dif- USDA, is designed to deliver backgroundferent tillage systems for a range of crops information and management guidelines forincluding winter wheat, spring wheat, bar- efficient nitrogen use throughout the dairyley, canola, f lax, lentils and camelina. farm system. It covers crop and soil nitro-In addition to crop acres, the calculator gen management, feed storage nitrogenrequires some summer fallowed acres be management, herd nitrogen managementincluded in the crop mix. This calculator and manure storage nitrogen management.also helps you compare the costs of biodie- www.dairyn.cornell.edusel and ethanol to petroleum ElectronicCropMixTillageEnergyPriceBioD.swf Calculator for Broiler House Minimum Ventilation Fan Timer SettingsCentral Iowa Power Cooperative This PDF calculator is designed to helpAverage Farm Energy Calculator you do the best possible job of setting fanThis calculator allows you to input the types timers used in cold weather minimumof electrical equipment you use on your farm ventilation., a projectand provides your farm’s typical monthly of Auburn University, provides practical,electric use. The calculator lists ways to save up-to-date information on the design andenergy specific to your equipment. management of modern poultry mental control systems and housing that is useful to poultry producers, flock supervi-Genesis Energy Dairy Energy Calculator sors and industry managers.This tool, from Genesis Energy, an energy in New Zealand, provides calculators documents/ ATTRA Page 3
  4. 4. General farm calculators California Agricultural Pumping Efficiency Program Pumping Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Cost Analysis Development Crop Calculators This tool analyzes the potential cost This calculator offers you a large selection savings for retrofitted electric-powered of agricultural calculators including a fertil- water pumps. izer cost estimator and a farm machinery calculator, among many others. costanalysis.asp#assumed jsp?type=Crop C-Plan Carbon Footprint Calculator The C-Plan Carbon Calculator, created by NRCS Tools by Landuse farmers in central Scotland, allows you to This is a large list of planning tools and quickly and easily enter the data for the land spreadsheets including fuel-use estimators, you manage and obtain an estimate of the various irrigation systems cost tools and fenc- greenhouse gas emissions for your business. ing cost calculators, among many others. tools/index.html#Irrigation Noble Foundation Agricultural Tools This page contains links to several agricul- Martindale’s Calculators Online ture-related tools including calculators for Center: Agriculture estimating fertilizer spread rates and costs, This Web site, developed by Martindale’s feeding rations and grazing carrying capac- Reference Desk, includes an extensive col- ities, among many other topics. The Noble Foundation is an Oklahoma-based nonprofit lection of online calculators and design organization conducting agricultural, forage tools, including many with relevance to improvement and plant biology research. farm energy usage. 2_A.html Renewable energy Iowa State University I-FARM calculators I-FARM is a database-driven farming sys- tems simulation model that predicts eco- National Renewable Energy Labora- nomic returns and ecosystem impacts of tory Wind Energy Finance Calculator farm operations, integrating both crop and This online tool allows you to enter wind livestock components. and power data to calculate a wind project’s capacity factor. The calculator provides a quick, detailed economic evaluation of potential utility-scale wind energy projects. Agriculture Cost Estimator The Agriculture Cost Estimator, hosted by login.asp, a division of Farm Journal Media, Inc., allows you to quickly compare Windustry Wind Project Calculator the cost of using propane gas to the cost of This spreadsheet assists you in evaluating using other energy sources for grain drying the economics of installing a wind turbine to and irrigation pumping in your operation. provide electricity for your farm and home. The program estimates the cash flows forPage 4 ATTRA Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for saving money on the farm
  5. 5. investing in a wind turbine and the rate of The Solar Estimatorreturn on cash investments. This is a Micro- This resource, offered by the U.S. Depart-soft Excel spreadsheet that uses macros. ment of Energy, the American Solar Society and the Solar Electric Power Asso- ciation, provides an idea of price, savingsRETScreen International Wind Energy and system size specific to your geographicProject Model location.The RETScreen Clean Energy Project Software is a unique decision sup- php?page=rightformeport tool developed with the contribution ofnumerous experts from government, indus-try and academia. The software, provided Texas State Energy Conservation Officefree of charge, can be used worldwide to Energy Calculators and Softwareevaluate the energy production and savings, This site includes a photovoltaic systemcosts, emission reductions, financial viabil- economics calculator, a solar water heatingity and risk for various types of renewable- calculator and two greenhouse gas pollutionenergy and energy-efficient technologies, calculators.or RETs. The RETScreen Wind Energy Model can be used worldwide toeasily evaluate the energy production, life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions Biofuels and biomassreduction for central-grid, isolated-grid and calculatorsoff-grid wind energy projects ranging in sizefrom large-scale, multi-turbine wind farms Biodiesel Cash Flow/Incometo small-scale, single-turbine wind and Statement Worksheetdiesel hybrid systems. This worksheet, developed by the State University Agricultural Marketing Pol- icy Center, allows you to compare small-scaleBergey Windpower Small Wind oilseed processing and biodiesel productionProject Calculator options based on their specific situation.This cash flow spreadsheet model, from Windpower, a supplier of small energyinformation.htmlwind turbines, can be used for both resi-dential and commercial applications. It is West Midlands Biodiesel Economica useful tool for determining payback andrate of return. Evaluation Calculator This calculator helps you assess the economic viability of producing biodiesel and oilseed rape oil in farm operations.National Renewable Energy Bioenergy West Midlands aims to promoteLaboratory PV WattsResearchers at the National Renewable activity in, and markets for, bioenergy inEnergy Laboratory developed PVWATTS the West Midlands area of the United King-to help non-experts quickly obtain perfor- dom. BioenergyWM encompasses threemance estimates for grid-connected photo- main market areas, namely biomass, biogasvoltaic systems. and biofuel (bioethanol and biodiesel). ATTRA Page 5
  6. 6. EERE Theoretical Ethanol Yield EERE Energy Cost Calculators Calculator These calculators, developed by the U.S. This tool, from the U.S. Department of Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Energy’s Federal Energy Management Pro- Management Program, allows you to gram, approximates the theoretical ethanol enter your own input values, such as util- yield in gallons per dry ton of feedstock ity rates and hours of use, to estimate the based on the dry mass percentage of the energy cost savings from buying a more material that is sugar components. efficient product. yield_calculator.html eep_eccalculators.html California Biomass Collaborative Cost of Energy Calculator USDA Fuel Value Calculator The Cost of Energy Calculator computes the The Fuel Value Calculator is a tool in PDF annual cost of energy in both current and format that can be used to compare typical constant dollars for a generic biomass power unit costs of various fuels including wood, plant using a revenue-requirements meth- natural gas, electricity, switchgrass and pro- odology. The calculator includes spread- pane, among others. sheet models for combined heat and power operations, biomass gasification operations value_calculator.pdf and biogas operations. jenkins/CBC/Calculator/index.html Penn State University Energy Cost Calculator The Energy Cost Calculator is an Excel Energy efficiency calculators spreadsheet with two worksheets. By Alliant Energy Energy Efficiency entering the unit price for various fuels, Calculators you can determine the cost per million This Web page provides a list of energy effi- British thermal units. It also provides ciency calculators for residential, small busi- the energy content and heat conversion ness, commercial and industrial equipment efficiency information for varying fuels. that includes air conditioning and lighting. costcomparator.html documents/pub/p013446.hcspPage 6 ATTRA Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for saving money on the farm
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  8. 8. Farm Energy Calculators: Tools for saving money on the farm By Holly Hill NCAT Research Specialist © 2008 NCAT Holly Michels, Editor Amy Smith, Production This publication is available on the Web at: or IP326 Slot 320 Version 072808Page 8 ATTRA