Introduction to Greenhouse Efficiency and Energy Conservation


Greenhouses do their job most successfully using designs and siting for energy efficiency and maximum light transmission. Greenhouses must optimize crop growth and energy use by allowing sunlight in during the day, retaining as much heat as possible during cold weather, and providing sufficient ventilation to …

Optimizing Field Efficiency to Save Fuel


Field efficiency means completing a particular field operation while wasting the least amount of time, fuel, and farm resources. The term refers to the time the operation should take vs. turning and other nonproductive time. For example, spending an inordinate amount of time turning around at the ends of short, wide fields or overlapping tillage operations within a field can result in higher fuel consumption per acre.

Machine maintenance and repair also affect field efficiency – equipment that is …

Natural Ventilation in High Tunnels

Roll-up sides and drop-down curtains are low-cost vent systems that can be installed in most high tunnels. These systems operate on the principle that heat is removed by a pressure difference created by wind gradients, so no energy is required to operate fans to move air. A wind speed of 2-3 miles per hour is adequate to force cool air in the windward sidewall. The air traveling over the high tunnel creates a vacuum on the leeward side to pull …

Introduction to Energy Efficient Irrigation

Irrigation is Nevada

Irrigation is Nevada. Photo: US EPA and National Archive and Record Administration; Wikimedia Commons.

Learn how efficient irrigation technologies and practices reduce water and power costs.

Table Of Contents

Energy Efficient Irrigation

Overhead or sprinkler irrigation is common in vegetable production; it can deliver a lot of water quickly to an entire field. Photo: Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension

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Combat Higher Fuel Prices with Efficient Heating Systems

Heating fuel prices have been volatile over the past few years. How high they may go in the future will depend on many factors including the world fuel supply situation, demand, level of inflation and the weather. Good energy conservation measures can help to offset this increase and keep production costs under control.

Keeping the greenhouse heating system in peak operating condition is a good starting point. It can save by increasing efficiency, providing more uniform temperature in the growing …

High Tunnels – Low Cost Seasonal Growing Space

At a cost of $1 to $2 per square foot, a high tunnel can add low-cost growing space for season extension or plant protection. High tunnels also do not rely on as much energy inputs as traditional greenhouses with furnaces and forced-air ventilation. Growers and researchers are finding many innovative ways to utilize these structures to supplement their greenhouse operations.

By definition, the high tunnel is a walk-in, hoop or gothic-shaped pipe frame structure that is covered with a single …

Shell Corn as a Fuel for Greenhouse Heat


Corn has joined the list of popular alternatives to fossil fuels. Its high heat value, ease of handling, and ready availability in some sections of the United States have growers looking for information on cost, handling, and equipment suppliers. Although burning corn isn’t for everyone, a grower that is close to a good supply may find that it can reduce heating costs significantly.

Penn State Cooperative Extension has a Corn Energy Equivalent Table and an Energy Selector tool that …

Introduction to Farm Building Energy and Conservation

Tunnel Vent Barn with ridge vent. Photo by Dan Ciolkosz.

Agricultural buildings are very important to the successful operation of farms and ranches, and they deserve careful attention when it comes to managing energy expenses. The best time to incorporate energy efficiency that will yield the highest savings and the lowest operating costs is during the design and construction phase. Unfortunately, energy efficiency is often ignored when farm buildings are constructed. Energy efficient building design involves the selection of …

Mechanical Extraction Processing Technology for Biodiesel


Oil separation, the extraction of oil from seeds or plant parts, is accomplished by mechanical pressing, sometimes followed by chemical extraction. Mechanical pressing alone does not remove all the oil from the seed. Chemical extraction uses a solvent to remove the remaining oil that mechanical press cannot. Chemical, mechanical, and solvent extraction are terms accepted and understood by the industry.

Small biodiesel businesses will likely extract oil from seeds using a mechanical method – a press that squeezes the …

Introduction to Energy Efficiency and Conservation on the Farm

Energy efficiency and conservation are integral to sustainable agriculture. Efficiency means increasing the work or yield per unit of energy; conservation means reducing total energy usage

Fuel and electricity use on farms is just as important to sustainability and energy savings, as use of soil and water. Energy efficiency is an integral part of sustainable agriculture. While U.S. farms have almost doubled their average energy efficiency over the past 25 years, most farms still have good opportunities to save energy …