Energy Efficiency And Farming

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You may think that farming is one of those industries that is already performing quite well when it comes to the environment. It is not a massive corporation which is spewing pollution into rivers, or an urban retail business which wastes so much cardboard and plastic, not the mention the immense amounts of electricity required to keep the lights on all day. However, this would be a misconception. The carbon footprint of a farm can still be quite substantial. For instance, the use of machinery like combine harvesters or tractors requires fuel which results in a certain degree of pollution. Not only that, the manufacturing process that created those machines would have resulted in a great deal of pollution. There is then the issue of how the farm manages to sell its products. Employing a transit company, irrespective of whether it does its best to reduce its emission, is another toll on the environment. There is then the issue of all of the fuel and electricity that are used when running a farm. The animals themselves can be a problem too. Cows are said to produce between 70 and 120 kg of methane a year. That is the equivalent of 2300 kg of carbon dioxide, which is about as much as is produced when you burn 1000 liters of petrol. You could drive 12500 km with that much.

While there are many more grievous offenses to the environment than those committed by farms, the reality is that if the human impact on global warming is going to be reduced, everyone in society has to play a part in it. If you want to make your farm more energy-efficient here are a few ways of doing it:

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Relying on conventional sources of energy such as coal-burning power stations is obviously not the best choice that you can make. As society becomes advanced in energy options, consumers can make choices that are better for them and for the environment as a whole. One of those options is solar power. The technology is improving all the time. Not only that, they can actually make you money in the long run. A study in the UK found that a 4kW system would cost between £6000 to £8000 (which is about $7750 to £10330). In the first year, you could save about $500 but over twenty years, you can expect to have made a profit of $2650. With energy costs set to rise, investing in solar technology becomes a better idea, especially since it can help you become less dependent on the grid. In the event of damage (like a flood or a storm), you would still be able to power your home.

Harvesting your own electricity is one thing, put you can also create your own fuel. Anaerobic digesters break down all sorts of organic materials, such as crop residues, manure, and slurry, and turns them into a methane-rich gas that can be used as both a fuel and as a fertilizer. Since you will have lots of stuff lying around your farm in any case, you may as well put it to good use.