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Reducing energy cost and improving energy efficiency

The first step any farmer can take to reduce energy cost is ensure that the farm is on the best tariff and maximise the use of off-peak electricity.

Use night rate electricity for water heating and the morning milking. Night rate hours are from 11 pm to 8 am during winter time and 12 midnight to 9 am for summer time.

Note: There is no charge from ESB networks to install a night rate meter. 


Energy saving actions and payback strategy

Action cost of action Annual saving simple payback
Move to cheapest supplier none From €500 up to €5,000 immediate
Milk pre-cooling (installing a plate cooler) €3,200 €1,000 3 years
Install night rate electricity none €1,000 immediate
Synchronise water heater with night rate €50 €170 <1 year
Variable Speed Drive (VSD) on the vacuum pumps €460 €3,300 7 years
Solar thermal heating €4,000 €350 >10 years
Heat recovery system (in addition to pre-cooling) €3,500 €350 10 Years
Photovoltaic system €6,000 €700 8.5 years
Wind turbine €25,000 €800 >30years


Methods of maximising energy efficiency on your farm

Milk Cooling

Correctly sized Plate Heat Exchangers can reduce the energy costs for cooling milk by up to 50%, which can give a saving of €9 / cow /year.
 Use of water to pre-cool the milk before it enters the tank will save about 30% of milk cooling costs - an energy saving of €5 / cow / year.

Vacuum Pumps

Install a variable speed drive to the vacuum pump in the milking parlour. It can give you a 60% reduction in pump running costs, equivalent to €4 / cow / year.

Correct Lighting

Light efficiency is measured in lumens per watt. The higher the lumens per watt the greater the lighting efficiency. Correct lighting can reduce your costs by 50%.
Tip - Replace the 500 watt halogen flood light with an equivalent light output 150 watt High Pressure Sodium lamp. It will save €128 / year and it lasts 10 times longer.