SADDLE UP WITH DR. TOM
One of the thrusts of Whiting Farms over the years has been to be as efficient and environmentally conscientious as we can in our operations. In the mid 1990s we were early adopters of compact fluorescent light bulbs in all our rooster and breeder sheds, replacing all our 60 or 40 watt incandescent bulbs with 9 or 7 watt “U tubes” as we call them. Currently we have somewhere in the realm of 1500 of these compact fluorescent bulbs in service. Over all these years this has saved an enormous amount of electrical energy, and considerable expense. When a satisfactory “dimmable” fluorescent bulb gets perfected, we will convert all our brooder sheds away from their current 60 watt incandescents. This hopefully will be within a year or two.
In all our recent construction, which comes to just under 100,000 square feet of buildings, all have been built for high efficiency. Principally this involves R30 ceilings and R19 walls and high efficiency heating systems. These buildings include 2 brooder sheds, 3 breeder sheds, 4 cage sheds and the new hatchery. What has and will save energy is that all these new facilities replaced far less energy efficient facilities that had been retired and torn down.
One other major “green” asset at Whiting Farms includes a photovoltaic system installed in 2011. This involves a large array of solar panels, which we call the “solar field”, which was designed to supply all the electricity needs of four of our brooder sheds nearby. To supply energy to these brooders was obviously our highest need and highest return project. This is because these special-purpose sheds are for growing the day old chicks up to ready-to-cage half-grown birds, which requires incandescent light bulbs so the light level on the floor of the brooders can be quite bright to initially help the baby chicks find the feed and water easily, and then the light level dimmed down as they grow. Incandescent bulbs are not nearly as energy efficient as fluorescent bulbs, but until a satisfactory dimmable fluorescent becomes available we have to use the less desirable incandescents. The system size is about 84 kilowatts, which makes it the largest photovoltaic system in all of Delta and Montrose counties. It even required permission for the local utility company due to its size. Furthermore, since we are “tied to the grid” at this site the system allows Net Metering, which means any excess electricity not used by Whiting Farms is put back into the grid for all other electrical users to use. This was a huge investment but we are very glad we did it and plan on doing further solar projects when feasible.
Another “green” asset Whiting Farms has invested in is our EcoDrum Composter. This is a large 6 foot diameter by 66 foot long drum that can compost nearly all the organic waste we generate. The unit is manufactured in Canada, and this is the first installed in all of Colorado.
During our construction process we uncovered a substantial amount of boulders and thought they might be useful to the local conservationist group in their recovery projects. Last fall the local Gunnison Gorge Anglers Chapter of Trout Unlimited undertook a major irrigation re-placement project on the Gunnison River east of Delta, CO. Whiting Farms is proud to have provided over 100 truck loads of basalt boulders that were unearthed during construction of the new barns.
Whiting Farms will always strive to be efficient and conscientious in our operations.