Energy opportunities

Top 5 quick energy opportunities

“Getting solar and closing our water systems was going to pay for itself in less than two years. I want to hand the farm on to the next generation in the best shape for them to be successful.” 
- Angie, Southland farmer

Taking action



Tane chose LED lighting simply for better light.

Changing the most used lights, and adding a switch to turn these on/off, boosts savings.

For Angie, timers were a simple step to bill savings (and carbon cuts) for hot water cylinders, ice banks and effluent pumps. The electrician helped calculate loads, run times and settings, and installed timers for best use of solar PV.

Pete gets multiple benefits with efficient pumping with variable speed drives
(VSDs) and digital pump controllers (e.g. F60s) including:
• lower water cost
• reduced waste water
• better plant life/reduced risk
• energy savings
• leak/burnout detection.

Debbie cut her exposure to energy price rises and prepared for resilience by adding solar panels on the farm. She ensured proper design for actual daytime loads that helped the payback.

Timers on hot water cylinders, ice banks and effluent pumps means that when we use power better matches solar PV.

Doing ground works themselves helped cut costs - but installers were happy to do everything too.

Insulate VATs
• Fonterra can advise you on your VAT type/ size

Wrap hot water cylinder, lag pipes and fix leaks
• For cylinder wraps call your plumber (can also self wrap)
• Pipe lagging must suit temperature and pipe diameter

Install variable speed drives and pump controllers (e.g.F60s)
• Call your pump supplier
• Check all pumps (see our advice)

Install LED lighting
• Call your electrician

Install timers
• Call your electrician

Install solar panels (PV)
• User timers/smarts
• PV has pay-as-you-generate (Power Purchase Agreement or PPA) and other finance options
• See the solar panels guide for more on what to ask, look for and consider

Financial insights are illustrative based on generic information. Specific sizing, costing and benefit assessments are recommended. Version 14/1/24

Are these top energy saving investments in your Farm Plan?

"We wanted a farm that was labour efficient. So, we needed to invest in good automation and monitoring. As an off shoot we also got energy efficiency. Our rule was payback within half the warrantied life” - Pete, Southland farmer

Hot water heat pump

Heat recovery

Snap chilling

Yard washdown

Precision Irrigation

Replace cylinder(s) with hot water heat pumps.

Running costs 25-35% of old cylinders; 50% of gas hot water, but re-plumbing needed

Hot water for cleaning is pre-heated.

This is from the waste heat in chilling and dumped wash water.

Can reduce water needs/ waste and improve farm resilience (less energy needed).

30% energy efficiency for cooling, plus heat recovery.

Higher capital cost options often save more over life and cut emissions.

FarmSource partners are Coolsense (incl. Fonterra exclusive Pay As You Save – PAUS - option) and DTS..

Consider water and effluent savings by moving away from a high water use wash system.

You can make the most energy savings where there is significant pumping (distance or elevation).

Consider installing a low water system e.g. a "dung buster" scraping system on backing gate.

Precision irrigation claims up to 50% water reductions. Energy savings are a byproduct.

Nanobubble technology can also save 15-25% (not in costs/ savings below).

Hot water heat pump

Heat recovery

Snap Chilling

Snap Chilling

Yard Washdown

Precision irrigation





30%/ $10,000k pa










Minor increment

Minor encrement

Payback years







Taking action


Plan now for renewals

Estimate renewal date

Update your Farm Plan

Talk to supplier(s)
well in advance

Hot water heat pump to replace cylinder
• On cylinder renewal
• Heat pump most beneficial for new shed

Install heat recovery
• On chiller renewal

Install snap chiller
• On chiller renewal
• Check FarmSource partners
• Coolsense offer Pay As You Save and reduced greenhouse gas from refrigerants

Yard Washdown
• Water use, water cycle, scraping gates
• Timing depends on opportunity/ related investment

Precision irrigation
• If you use significant irrigation and assessing for other reasons, consider energy savings

Hot water heat pumps are energy efficient so ideal for Sue's new shed. More work e.g. re-piping is needed for replacements of existing cylinders.

For Ray, assessing the best heat recovery option well ahead of chiller replacement not only saves on hot water, but gets it quicker – reducing risk.

For Bob, choosing a snap chiller was about milk quality. But for the same or little extra money, energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gases boosted the benefits. Adding the scraping gate has helped

Chris cutting effluent and water use, with the bonus of energy savings on reduced pumping.

Smartly irrigating, for Mark, drives water use and stock health, but planning for energy efficiency adds to the return.

Financials are illustrative based on generic information. Specific sizing, costing and benefit assessments are recommended. Version 14/1/24

Dairy shed

Diesel and time savings

Plant renewal plans

Plan in place for what to buy when you have plant failure

Energy efficiency included as part of that decision

Feeding practices

Feed stored in more than one location to save time and reduce tractor miles

Plant service schedules

Your refrigerant plant is checked annually

Your milk plant is checked annually, e.g. vacuum regulation, airflow, leaks, drive belt

Water leaks are spotted quickly (e.g. excess pumping)

Frequency, choice
and care of vehicle

Plan for multi-purpose trips to save time and fuel

Use the smallest appropriate vehicle for the job at hand (tractor size, ute, quad, motor bike)

Check tractor servicing, tyre pressures and choose settings for the job/ load (check visor/ manual quick guide)

Electric options include ubco or e-bike, Tuatara electric quad, electric ute and tractor (light duties only, high cost) assessed

Set point temperatures

Your hot water cylinder temperature is checked and optimum (55C at end of wash)

You have considered a hot water wash every second day (efficient plant set ups)

Regular temperature check of your milk cooler water and milk outlets

Using contractors

Using contractors more often as they tend to have right sized and most modern vehicles, reducing fuel and carbon

Switch off unused plant

Unused hot water cylinders

Lights off after milking

Your pumps

Herd wearables

Assess energy efficiency gains when assessing wearables g If using them, reducing the frequency of trips (miles) as wearables allow.