I am building a new lambing barn. What are some resources for building energy efficient barns?
T.S.KansasAnswer: Thank you for your recent request for information from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service regarding energy efficient lambing and lactation barns. Using passive ventilation and lighting methods, like we talked about, can certainly reduce your operating energy costs.There are a number of construction designs available for lambing and lactation barns. The expandable lambing unit (Canada Plan Service, M-4312) may be a good option for you to expand over time, as we discussed. You will need to make some modifications to this to achieve passive ventilation and lighting. Scan through the article “Natural Ventilation“, by Andy Walker. The Design Recommendations of this short publication are very helpful, although not all are relevant to agriculture buildings. I’ve referenced several other sets of plans for you to consider as well. Some of the least expensive daylighting options include integrating polycarbonate corrugated roofing into your metal roofing so that it brings in natural light. You may also want to use casement windows that will be used for both ventilation and light. “[I]f the wind blows from east to west along a north-facing wall, the first window (which opens out) would have hinges on the left-hand side to act as a scoop and direct wind into the room. The second window would hinge on the left-hand side so the opening is down-wind from the open glass pane and the negative pressure draws air out of the room.” (Walker, Andy)In addition to the ATTRA publication on efficient buildings, I would also recommend eXtension resources on farm building energy efficiency available online at http://www.extension.org/pages/Introduction_to_Farm_Building_Energy_and_Conservation. More plans and resources are available from Iowa State Extension, online at http://www.public.iastate.edu/~mwps_dis/mwps_web/sh_plans.html. Another good source is http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/farm_structures. Keep in mind that your latitude is 38 degrees. Therefore, adjustments in passive heating depend on what time of year you need heat (tilted flatter during the summer to optimize for solar collection and steeper during the winter to optimize for solar collection). Resources:Sheep Housing. Plan 4000. Canada Plan Service.Expandable Lambing Unit. M-4312. Canada Plan Service.240 Ewe & Lambing Barn. MWPS-72506. Midwest Plan Service. Cooperative Extension Service.500 Ewe and Lamb Feeding Barn. MWPS-72507. Midwest Plan Service. Cooperative Extension Service.Walker, Andy. Natural Ventilation. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Solar Ventilation Wall with Heat Storage. Plan 9732. Canada Plan Service. Passive Solar Design in Wisconsin. Renewable Energy. Focus on Energy. Darby, D.E., Borg, R. Hot Water Heating. 9735. Canada Plan Service. A Consumer’s Guide: Heat Your Water With The Sun.