First Steps to Energy Management

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 Energy Management for your Farm

Energy costs are a significant portion of total operating costs for many farms. Costs for energy sources, like natural gas, diesel, gasoline and electricity, can vary greatly, sometimes spiking unexpectedly. Improving energy management on your farm will help reduce your energy costs and lessen the impacts of price fluctuations. And better energy management is also better for the environment!

Energy management involves five main steps:

  1. adding up your energy consumption and costs, called energy accounting
  2. assessing your options to reduce energy use and costs
  3. developing an action plan to make your priority changes
  4. implementing your plan, and
  5. beginning the process again to assess the effects of implementing your plan.

The process needs to be done on a regular basis and more often when large operational changes occur.

In this publication
This booklet provides a straightforward approach to energy accounting, the first step in the energy management process. Energy accounting is the foundation for beginning to improve energy management on your farm. It helps you to see exactly how much energy you are using and what it is costing you.

Completing this first step of the energy management process will:

  • demonstrate how important energy use is for your farm operation
  • identify the energy costs for each energy use on your farm, and
  • identify any spikes in your energy use
The results from energy accounting may also suggest some simple, low-cost changes that could save a significant amount of money. To help you move towards making such changes, this booklet includes some tips for improving energy efficiency or reducing energy use. And if you do make some changes, the information from energy accounting will provide a baseline to assess the effects of the changes.

Your energy accounting results will be unique to your farm. Farms vary widely in terms of size, type of operation, climate and soil conditions, number and age of people living on the farm, and distance to town, so no two farms have the same energy use.

Copies of this publication are available from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry:

All Alberta government offices can be reached toll-free by dialling 310-0000.

  • Agriculture Information Centre: 310-3276 or 1-866-882-7677
  • Publications: 780-427-0391 or 1-800-292-5697
  • Farm Stewardship Centre: 1-403-329-1212
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Darryl Slingerland.
This document is maintained by Laura Thygesen.
This information published to the web on March 15, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 8, 2017.