What resources are available to help me conduct an energy self-audit of my farm?
Answer: Understanding the energy required and consumed by your farm is the first step in planning how to reduce energy consumption, invest in more energy-efficient equipment, and select renewable energy equipment. There are a number of energy analysis tools which will help you audit your own farm and buildings.The Farm Assessment Toolkit will help you assess your farm’s energy efficiency as well as identify areas for improvement and suggestions for energy-efficient equipment. Each assessment will take about 10 to 20 minutes to complete. The assessments collect general information about your operation to help determine if you may be able to save energy. At the end of each assessment, you will get a report with your responses and any appropriate energy tips. After completing an assessment, you can print out the report and use it to guide decisions you make to improve the energy efficiency of your operation. http://www.soils.wisc.edu/foe/login. You may also wish to use is the Energy Tools available from NRCS, available at http://www.ruralenergy.wisc.edu/. These tools allow you to assess improvements that can be made to things like lighting, a greenhouse, and ventilation. They also explain the basics of things like solar water pumping. More farm energy calculators are available on the ATTRA website at http://attra.ncat.org/energy_calculators.html. Finally, you might be interested in Farm Energy Calculators: Evaluations and Recommendations. This 2009 report by the National Center for Appropriate Technology evaluates over 30 farm energy decision-making tools, including comments from farmer-reviewers, and includes a dozen recommendations for making these tools more useful. The report is available at http://www.ncat.org/news/news2009.php#calc_report.