Oregon State University’s Energy Efficiency Center is offering its energy-efficiency services to Oregon farmers and rural businesses looking to cut their energy expenses, reports Sustainable Business Oregon. A pilot program shows that businesses can cut their annual energy cost by 10 percent.
OSU says savings can be gained by installing more efficient systems, running equipment less often, generating renewable energy, increasing productivity and reducing waste as well as by using different ways of using fuel, fertilizer and farm equipment. As an example, running a tractor at less than full throttle in a higher gear can save 10 to 25 percent in fuel cost.
The program, which provides assessments of energy use and recommendations for cutting costs, is available to any small rural Oregon business or farm that makes more than half of its gross income from agriculture.
The new initiative is supported by a two-year grant from the Rural Energy for America Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 75 percent of the actual cost of the energy assessments will be paid for by the federal government, which means that any farm or business operation only pays a flat fee of $370.
This program is an expansion of a similar OSU initiative supported by the Department of Energy for industrial clients. During the past 24 years, the Industrial Assessment Program recommended more than $18 million of savings for local industrial clients.
Oregon State University was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this year as one of the Individual Conference Champions for the highest green power purchases in the U.S. by colleges.