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Agriculture and horticulture

Energy and carbon saving advice for the agriculture & horticulture sector

Agriculture and horticulture

In farming and horticultural businesses, energy costs may only represent a small percentage of turnover, but reducing them can directly increase profits and competitiveness. In fact, a 20% cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.

Whilst agricultural and horticultural sectors encompass a wide range of activities such as pig and poultry farming, dairy farming, crop growing and storage, there are a number of common areas where energy is wasted.

Lighting, heating, ventilation, air circulation and refrigeration equipment are the biggest energy consumers and are therefore areas that offer the most significant savings.

Proportions of energy use always vary according to the type of business and activity or process being carried out. The table below identifies major consumption areas for specific agricultural sub-sectors.


Major energy consumption area


Heating typically accounts for 90% of the energy used in a greenhouse.

Pig farming

Energy plays an important part in animal welfare/feeding systems, building services and environmental protection and, most notably, in waste management and emissions control.

Poultry farming

Energy use is mainly associated with the maintenance of good environmental conditions for housing the stock.


Energy use is generally split into cooling, water heating and general power for lighting and pumping.

Crop stores

Energy use is closely related to insulation thickness and the difference between storage temperatures and the external air temperature.

Combinable crops

Storage and drying are often a large area of energy waste.


In each of the work areas identified above, there are three main opportunities to save energy:

Switching off - All energy consuming equipment should be switched off when not required. This can be done by staff, by time switches or by adjusting building control systems and need not cost any money.

Maintenance - A number of energy efficiency measures can be carried out as part of routine maintenance procedures for no extra cost.

Controls - Simple adjustments to the location and setting of controls can reduce costs without affecting the comfort of staff and livestock or the growing and storage of produce.

Further guidance

Agriculture & horticulture sector overview (CTV009 / CTV055)

For technology specific advice, please visit the following pages:

Energy efficiency support

If you'd like to improve energy efficiency of your organisation, see our services to find out how we can help.  This includes financing and implementation support for organisations seeking to invest in energy efficient equipment.

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