Learn more about energy and sustainability in the agriculture industry. You will find lots of information here to support your Ag Science project at School.

Introduction

For students studying Ag Science this page should give you some starting points for any project or research you are undertaking. The agriculture industry has a part to play in reducing Ireland’s emissions. There are many steps that can be taken.

Farms, like all businesses, can spend a significant amount of money on energy. Whether you are a dairy farmer, pig farmer, poultry farmer or even in horticulture, energy used for lighting, space heating, water heating and other areas such as milking, cooling and water pumping can make up a large proportion of operating costs.

Farmers can make their business more efficient and resilient to rising energy costs.  Start by looking at how and when energy is used.  Examine the low cost measures first and then move on to investments in new controls and other technologies.  

Energy saving tips

What can famers do to reduce energy costs? Here are the top ten areas to focus on

SEAI Energy Academy

Energy efficiency in agriculture

This is a free e-learning module for the agriculture sector on the SEAI Energy Academy.

Developed in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, this tailored module is aimed at helping farms reduce their energy related costs.

Between 8% and 15% of a farm’s overhead expenses are spent on energy every year. By working through this module students will gain a better understanding of what actions can be taken on a farm to reduce energy costs and in turn emission. You will need to sign up to the Energy Academy to access this module.

Sign up to the energy academy about SEAI Energy Academy

Research Projects

Use some of the top tips to start a research project

Switch Suppliers

Make a list of all energy suppliers. Review what they charge for energy and what incentive if any they offer for you to switch. Compile a spreadsheet of each on to see which might be the best.

Insulation

Do a survey of all the buidlings on the farm and what insulation they have. Do some research on different types of insulation and see what might be suitable to use and the cost to install it.

Heating and Hot Water

Review the current heating and hot water system in terms of age, efficiency and your costs. Is an upgrade needed? Create a table of heating system options, costs and the benefits of changing.

Bioenergy

Bioenergy is anything that can decompose or is organic in its origin. It is a broad sector and it can be used in some form or another in the heat, electricity and transport sectors. Typically the main sectors in bioenergy are:

  • solid biomass (wood chip, pellet, forestry residues),
  • wastes (farm, food etc) which are utilised in an Anaerobic Digestion plant to create biogas/biomethane
  • energy crops which can go on and create biofuels amongst other things.

Check out SEAI's webpage on Biomass

Any business needs to examine if biomass is a suitable energy source for them. 

Check out SEAI’s webpage on solid biomass.  You can review all the options, look at a cost calculator as well as the best practice.

Learn about the story of bioenergy and what SEAI are doing in this area.

School Tour Option


Green Generation is a Kildare-based company, using anaerobic digestion to convert agricultural and food waste to renewable energy. They were the winner of the Innovative Deployment of Renewable Energy awards at the 2020 SEAI Energy Awards.

They welcome school tours to their plant. Visit their website for more informtaion and contact details.

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Dairy Farmer Grant