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Energy Efficient Fans In The Hog Barn

Good quality fans are essential for proper performance of mechanically ventilated swine facilities. Inefficient fans add to production costs in two ways: One is wasted energy from over-ventilation. The other is poor air quality and stressed animals due to under-ventilation.

Jay Harmon is a professor of ag and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University.  He says there are several criteria to consider when buying fans for the hog barn. First, know what the building needs, and then do your research.

"If I’m sizing those summer fans I look for a high delivery, and I also look at the CFM per watt rating," he says. "There’s a lab at the University of Illinois, it’s called BESS Lab, that provides these ratings and it is an electrical efficiency, essentially. And so, the higher that number, the better."

Check with your utility company to see if they offer rebates when replacing or upgrading fans. But even if you buy the best fans possible, ignoring maintenance can negate any energy savings. Harmon says cleanliness and belt tension are really important.

"A dirty fan where the shutters are heavy with dirt, some of those will move only 50% of what their rated output is. Or, a belt that slips on a fan, and a lot of belted fans are the very large fans and those are used for heat stress," says Harmon. "So, if you’re not delivering as much as you need to with those large fans, you’re probably going to pay a price because the pigs are going to be overheated."

Visit the BESS lab website for the latest on criteria and performance of agricultural ventilation fans

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