A heat recovery programme on New Zealand dairy farms has huge
potential to save power.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is
offering subsidies to have heat recovery technology installed
in dairy sheds. Heat generated during the milk-chilling
process is harnessed and used elsewhere.
EECA selected four companies to install the equipment,
including Oamaru-based Waitaki Refrigeration Ltd.
Information collected from the sheds where the system was
operating has gone into a new online tool that shows farmers
how efficiently they use electricity.
EECA projects and relationship manager Kirk Archibald said
the average New Zealand dairy farm spent more than $20,000 a
year on electricity. However, dairy sheds varied a lot in
''Some dairy farms are using three times as much electricity
as others for the same milk solids production.''
Overall, dairy farmers could save $42 million a year through
cost-effective technologies and simple actions, he said.
''By answering a few simple questions, you can map your
energy use against 150 dairy farms across New Zealand.
''You can find out how you compare against others, and the
improvements that would make a difference in your milking
The country's 12,000 dairy farms use $251 million of
electricity a year - 7% of the nation's total use.
Electricity contributed about 15c to the cost of every
kilogram of milk solids produced.
The heat recovery programme showed dairy sheds reduced
electricity use by around a fifth after having the equipment
installed. It would pay for itself in less than three years.
There were 37 farms taking part in the programme, with EECA
offering advice as well as funding. Efficiency moves also
included variable speed drives and vat insulation.
Mr Archibald said about half of the farms installing the
technology were setting up new dairy blocks, with the rest
More farmers were being encouraged to join by applying for up
to 40% of the cost of changes until June 30. Details are
online at: www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/dairy-farms
- by Sally Brooker