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Workshop highlights LED lighting, energy efficiency in poultry facilities

The energy savings potential of LED lighting systems and other energy efficiency opportunities in poultry barns were described in a “Field Day” on Oct. 11 in Willmar, Minn., that attracted poultry farmers, utility reps, and energy efficiency specialists from the Upper Midwest.

The Minnesota Project and ONCE Innovations, partners in a test-pilot CARD project on LED lighting systems in Minnesota poultry barns, were featured. Fritz Ebinger, program manager of The Minnesota Project, shared how the cost-share CARD project has installed 1,800 LED lights across 17 barns in Minnesota to save an estimated 347,000 kWh per year. As an example, he noted how one barn in the project that replaced its incandescent lamps with LEDs used 53,455 kWh/yr of electricity with incandescent lights before the change-out and only 12,257 kWh/yr with LEDs after changing over, for a savings of 41,198 kWh for one year.

Brian Wilcox, president of ONCE Innovations of Plymouth, Minn., explained how “color matters” in poultry barns and how the red color of LED lights can stimulate reproductive activity and increase growth at the brood stage, and how green and blue LEDs can enhance growth during the early age of the birds.

Ebinger and Wilcox provided a glimpse of the energy savings, performance, and durability of LED lighting technologies for poultry barns. A couple of the barn owners participating in the CARD project were on hand to share their experiences. A mid-project report (pdf) was issued in August 2012 on the CARD project; a final report is expected in several months.

In addition, Jennifer Brinker, an agricultural energy specialist from GDS Associates of Green Bay, Wis., provided an overview of the many ways to improve efficiency in poultry barns—eg, implementing improvements in air sealing, insulation, ventilation, controls, lighting, drop ceilings, and more. The workshop was hosted by the Minnesota Project and the West Central Clean Energy Resource Team. Contact Ebinger at for more information.