Friday, March 23, 2012

Going Green at the Barn


The other day, I was looking up some green ideas for horse farms. Since going green can save a barn owner money, and I wanted to someday be a barn owner, I wanted to know what the options were for going green. Here is what I found:

If you are building a barn, make sure to put in as many windows and open "sky light" type areas on the roof as possible. This will cut down on using your electric lights because it uses natural light to illuminate an area.  Plus, if there are more windows, that means more ventilation for your barn, and we all know that is a must!  If you are not building a barn, and I know that many such people are not, you can still put in skylights in your roof.

Next are solar panels. First, you have the photovoltaic panels, which is what you see more often than not, on a person's house.  These types of panels cut down on electricity because they convert energy from the sun's rays into electricity.  You can also use solar panels on your electric fence charger. The next type of solar panel heats water.  The sun heats fluid filled tubes that run through a roof mounted collector. What better way to heat water for your barn than to get it from the sun!

After harnessing the sun's energy, you can harness the wind by using a wind turbine. They kind of look like those big windmills, but they are beneficial to the barn. There is the horizontal axis or the vertical axis. With the horizontal axis, the blades are at the top and they must be pointed into the wind. With the vertical axis, the direction that the wind is moving is not as critical because the rotary shaft is arranged vertically. Another plus to the vertical axis, is that it can still generate electricity even at lower wind speeds.

Of course with either the use of wind or sun, looking at a solar and wind resource map will help determine whether either of these will be economical. And don't forget to look up your local zoning ordinances for solar panel and wind turbine installation. The solar panels and wind turbine can be a little costly depending on the area, so looking up grants and incentives can help with that.

Now on to the little stuff...
  • Try to buy the biggest shampoo, conditioner and other horse care bottles available.
  • Put lights on timers
  • Use fly predators whenever possible
  • Make your own fly spray
  • Replace your regular light bulbs with fluorescent ones
  • Re-use and recycle as much as possible
  • Use bedding made by wood byproducts (as wood composts easily)
  • Get a barn cat to take care of the rodents
  • Collect rainwater for daily chores (only where viable)
  • Use horse waste as fertilizer (you can change the pH for whatever you plan to use it on)
  • Compost organic material
  • Install bird houses around high manure areas, as the birds will eat most of the bugs
  • Install automatic waterers
  • Install energy efficient devices
  • Join local recycling and environmental awareness groups - they will give you more great ideas!

Any other "green" ideas?

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