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Serving: WI

WFTD Applied Technology Center Has Answers to the 'Energy Blues'

Ideas for farmers, families looking to save money on energy costs.

As energy prices increase, farmers and families are looking for better ways to save money on energy costs. Visitors to the Applied Technology Center at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Brown County will find people to answer their questions and useful ideas for conserving or generating energy.

Get a free CFL

Lighting consumes 25% of the electricity on a typical farm. The incandescent light bulb, invented by Thomas Edison in 1880, is widely used but is the least efficient and has the shortest life of the lighting technologies available today. An energy efficient direct replacement for the incandescent bulb is a Compact Fluorescent Lamp. It uses 75% less energy to produce the same amount of light and lasts six to ten times longer.

You can get a free Compact Fluorescent Lamp just by stopping by the Applied Technology Center. Other types of energy efficient lighting for your home, shop, barn, or yard will also be part of an interactive display.

Reduce drying costs

Growers are re-assessing the cost of drying grain because of high propane and natural gas prices. Drying costs can be reduced by 30% to 50% when comparing an older style dryer and a new high efficiency dryer. This may be the year to consider purchasing a new dryer, but which are energy efficient: cross-flow, mixed-flow, low temperature, bin dryers, roof dryers?

If you can't afford to replace your dryer, there are methods that can reduce drying costs by reducing over-drying or adding heat recovery for almost every type of dryer. Information at the Applied Technology Center grain drying display will help you squeeze more drying from your energy purchases.

Cool ideas for ventilation

Summer heat will soon be here and the fans will be spinning the electric meter while you're trying to keep the cows cool. Did you know that a poorly designed fan can use up to twice the energy to move the same amount of air? Two displays will focus on energy efficient fans: one for exhaust fans, the other on stirring fans.

There will be demonstration ventilation fans to prove that you can't look at a fan and tell how efficient it will be. There are characteristics that are common to high efficiency fans such as efficient motor and blade design, but the best way to tell if a fan will operate efficiently is to refer to a free third party fan test data before buying the next fan.

Circulation or stirring fans can be used to increase the air velocity to aid in reducing animal stress during warm temperatures. Large diameter paddle fans which are referred to as High-Volume, Low-Speed or HVLS fans are an energy efficient way to increase air velocity in loose housing barns with high ceiling compared to high speed stirring fans. Independent test data is now available for circulation fans so better purchasing decisions can be made.

Generate your own electricity

Have you thought of trying to harness the wind or capture sun's energy? Several renewable energy industry experts will be displaying equipment and be available to answer questions on putting up a wind turbine or a solar photovoltaic (electric) panel.

Experts from the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program, University of Wisconsin and the renewable energy industry will be on hand to showcase new technologies and ideas. Visitors can also find out about state and federal programs to support the adoption of energy conservation and renewable energy.

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