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Green Building Practices Come to the Farm

Green Building Practices Come to the Farm
Use of new energy-efficient materials save money in long-run.

John Marks, Celestine, is a believer in what he does. Today, he works for a company that specializes in using 'green' construction strategies in farm buildings, hog buildings, turkey houses and even homes.

"I grew up on a farm, and I owe it to my uncle and grandfather to work with farmers and help them when I can," Marks says. He's convinced the technology that he can install in farm buildings today can save a tremendous amount of energy, making buildings more efficient for use in livestock production.

One of the products he installs are insulated concrete forms. He insists using this kind of construction in farm buildings or homes keeps buildings warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. And he says that in some cases, it may not be any more expensive than using traditional building materials.

One of the jobs they did in the recent past was to install reflective Mylar insulation inside a turkey building. The standard would be to use aluminum instead of Mylar. However, aluminum gets hotter and absorbs heat.

"The firm we built it for had two buildings built at the same time," he notes. "They used the green concept in one building, and traditional construction methods in the other. The owner has told me that there is no comparison in which building is more efficient and less costly to maintain. The building using the new Mylar-reflective insulation has a huge advantage according to the turkey producer, Marks says.

Marks is convinced that what he and the company he works for, Betz Bros. Building Supply, is doing is not a fad. Instead, he believes it will be the wave of the future when new buildings are built. Energy savings will drive people in this direction, he believes.

Besides competitive cost, there's also the potential to qualify for energy incentives for the government for these types of installation. Some programs applied to homes, but there are also programs for farm buildings available through USDA. The agency that handles this issue for agriculture is the Rural Home and Development division. Several regulations about grants and how to fill them out apply. Most of the details are available if you visit their site. You can learn what grants are available and when deadline for grant applications for various rounds of funding are coming up.

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