Energy production based on conventional sources (coal, gas, fuel oil) has negative environmental consequences, as it depletes energy resources, causes emissions of greenhouse and other gases and pollutants in the form of dust.
Measures are becoming necessary to minimise these effects by, among other things, reducing the energy used for agricultural production. The most important thing here seems to be the reduction of direct energy consumption on the farm. This can be achieved (in addition to the field work described in section 12.3) by:
- replacing energy-intensive equipment with newer , less energy-intensive equipment. This may apply on the farm:
- household appliances (e.g. washing machines, fridges), lighting (e.g. replacement of light bulbs with led lighting),
- increasing the number of lighting points, making it possible to install lower wattage light sources and to switch on only the necessary ones,
- installation of automatic switches or programmers to switch lights on and off,
- at the very least, replacing the old cooker with a new one of higher efficiency,
- a change in heating technology from coal cookers to gas heating, or better still to heat pumps or geothermal sources,
- better insulation of residential and commercial buildings, heating installations, etc., from where heat escapes significantly;
- installing automatic door closers or fitting curtains to reduce unnecessary extraction of warm air;
- replacing ventilation systems with equipment that recovers heat from waste water or from heated air leaving the building (recuperation);
- the use of modern solar or wind installations and heat pumps to generate heat (e.g. water and/or building heating) or electricity;
- replacing old engines driving farm equipment with new, economical ones;
- replacing old cars, tractors and other vehicles with ones that burn less fuel;
- the correct operation of all engines and vehicles in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations.
Reducing direct energy consumption does not close the issue of possible energy savings that can be undertaken on the farm. Knowing that practically every item that is purchased for farm or personal use requires a certain amount of energy, eliminating unnecessary purchases will contribute to reducing not only expenses, but also energy consumption and atmospheric emissions. This includes, for example, purchasing such quantities of fertilisers, plant protection products, feed, food or equipment that are actually needed. The possibility of situations arising where, due to obsolescence or spoilage, it is necessary to throw away unused purchases of any type of goods should be reduced.
Another important issue is packaging. As long as we can influence it, which is not always possible, we should minimise the size and quantity of packaging and choose packaging that is so-called biodegradable (broken down by bacteria). Both the production of packaging and its disposal are significant energy expenditures.