Looking to save money and cut down on your farm’s fossil fuel use? Wanting to take your farm to the next level in terms of efficient systems or explore renewable energy options? Here’s a checklist to get started…
1. Farm energy interests and questions? Call us to discuss at 413.475.3349
2. Submit a Request Form and we will contact you.
1. Research ways to reduce your energy use and how to plan a renewable energy project.
Our Farm Energy Best Management Practice guides (BMPs) walk through energy efficiency and renewable energy considerations for farms in the Northeast. These documents are organized by sector and based on the experiences of Massachusetts farmers as they make upgrades to farm infrastructure to save energy and money and set up renewable energy systems across the state. Visit our Technical Resources to explore these guides.
2. Take advantage of immediate cost savings through the Farm Energy Discount Program, as well as energy conservation and Time-Of-Use practices. Click here to download tips on immediate cost savings.
New England farmers pay 23-56% higher rates for energy resources the US average. As farmers identify the source of their energy demand and make improvements to their systems, they can reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and improve their bottom line. There are numerous programs to support reducing energy demand through audits and financial incentives for energy saving improvements. Energy projects result in different financial returns for farms, either through reducing energy use or offsetting fossil fuel use with renewable energy.
1. Get a farm energy audit or assessment.
An energy audit or assessment will give you a snapshot of where energy is being used on your farm – essential information for making a plan and getting financial support to make farm systems more efficient or integrate renewable energy technologies. Visit ourEnergy Audits and Assessments page to learn more about what type of audit – ranging from simple lighting reviews by utility subcontractors to long-term net-zero energy planning – may work best for you.
Per dollar invested, energy efficiency projects save 2.5 times more energy on average than renewable systems generate. Efficiency upgrades also pave the way for successful renewable energy projects, and strengthen grant proposals.
1. Choose a Project! Prioritize and get started on energy efficiency upgrades.
Energy audits include recommendations for equipment upgrades and operations – including upfront costs, payback periods, and energy savings calculations – that will help you determine cost-effective next steps. Your next project might include replacing lighting and refrigeration components, or investing in more efficient pumps, insulation, ventilation, or other equipment or systems. If one of your goals is to invest in renewable energy, reducing your energy demand can make project economics more feasible by reducing the size of a renewable energy system.
• Review audit to make informed decisions about purchases and installation
• Finalize price estimates, and confirm availability and installation timing with vendors and contractors.
• Plan with farm season for successful project completion.
2. Identify financial incentives to help pay for energy efficiency projects.
Whether through your public utility, a grant program, or MFEP financial incentives, there are funds available to help pay for the cost of energy efficiency upgrades. Find more info on our Funding Resources for Efficiency page.
1. Do your best to become energy efficient first.
Reducing your energy demand first can help reduce the size – and cost – of your renewable project. Proving energy efficiency can also be a requirement of renewable energy grant funding.
2. Research technologies and get to know your options.
Your site, energy needs, local regulations, and the specifics of your operation will all contribute to how feasible a renewable energy project is for you, and which technologies are most suitable. For more information on renewable energy technologies, visit our Technical Resources page.
3. Contact an installer and request an assessment.
Since renewable energy is typically a higher-cost investment, it is recommended to work with a professional to complete a site assessment and feasibility study. For more information about how to initiate a renewable energy assessment, refer to our overview of Audits and Assessments.
4. Fund your project.
There are funding opportunities available for renewable energy projects through grants, income streams, tax reductions, and rebates. Many grants have a single deadline for applications each year. Making a plan early and working with a knowledgeable installer can help to make your application more successful. Look at our Funding Resources for Renewable Energy for information about opportunities, deadlines and requirements.
Any questions? Need a place to start? Give us a ring , send an email, or submit a request for assistance!