Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Resources
From a business, as well as an environmental, perspective, many dairy farms across Massachusetts are now ”moo-ving” to become more sustainable through energy efficiency and clean renewable energy technologies. In fact, 17 dairy farms have implemented energy related projects through the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) over the past three years alone.
DAR provides technical and financial assistance for these farms through a variety of programs, including our own Agricultural Energy Grant and the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP), as well as a variety of state and federal energy programs and initiatives. These include the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center; the Mass Save® energy efficiency programs; USDA’s Rural Development, Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency programs; and federal tax incentives.
DAR’s technical specialists work with dairy farms towards the implementation of what we consider the best energy efficiency management practices. These practices include: refrigeration heat recovery (free heaters), milk plate coolers, variable speed vacuum pumps, energy efficient lighting, and high efficiency fan ventilation.
DAR also works to promote renewable energy applications such as photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines for electric generation; solar thermal and biomass for farm heating; and anaerobic digesters for comprehensive manure management and energy generation. For the latter, it is the dairy farm’s own resources (cow patties) that are helping contribute toward the farm’s energy goals!
Many farms have incorporated some type of applicable energy efficiency improvement, while some have installed renewable energy technologies. Though PV, wind, and biomass are the more common applications, we soon will see our state’s first anaerobic digesters in operation! DAR contributed over $325,000 in grant funding for these type of dairy projects, and in conjunction with our MFEP, has helped farms obtain the balance of funding needed to complete these projects by leveraging matching funding from other sources.
Energy savings vary by project; overall, each farm typically will achieve anywhere between 15 to 30 percent energy and dollar savings as a result of their implementation. Each project also reduces farm operations’ greenhouse gas emissions, providing both more energy and environmentally sustainable dairy farm operations in our Commonwealth.
Three photos with captions are from Mayval Dairy Farm, Easthampton Solar thermal evacuated tube caption photo is Appleton Farm, Hamilton Photo dated 1.11.11 is a roof-mounted PV project at Chase Hill farm, Warwick Photo dated 3.16.11 is a roof mounted PV project at Mapleline Farm, Hadley.
Daylighting: The Bright Way to Save posted on Feb 11
Have you ever noticed that lighting can change your mood, depending on whether it’s natural or artificial? Going beyond occupancy sensors, the right lighting mix can also reduce energy consumption and save homeowners and commercial building operators’ money by using natural light with coordinated design. …Continue Reading Daylighting: The Bright Way to Save
CoFFEE Funds Sustain Greenfield Community College posted on Feb 2
Greenfield Community College (GCC) is the first Commonwealth facility to complete an energy efficiency project through the Commonwealth Facility Fund for Energy Efficiency (CoFFEE), a self-sustaining revolving loan program for state facilities. Through a partnership between the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) …Continue Reading CoFFEE Funds Sustain Greenfield Community College
Public Entities Recognized for Leading by Example posted on Nov 19
Every fall, the Commonwealth holds the annual Leading by Example (LBE) Award ceremony at the State House. And every year, there is a surplus of impressive energy and sustainability achievements to celebrate. This year’s 8 winners, from state agencies, public higher education, and municipalities were …Continue Reading Public Entities Recognized for Leading by Example