Livestock and dairy operations often have substantial air and water heating requirements. Modern pig and poultry farms raise animals in enclosed buildings, where it is necessary to carefully control temperature and air quality to maximize the health and growth of the animals. These facilities need to replace the indoor air regularly to remove moisture, toxic gases, odors, and dust. Heating this air, when necessary, requires large amounts of energy. With proper planning and design, solar air/space heaters can be incorporated into farm buildings to preheat incoming fresh air. These systems can also induce or increase natural ventilation levels during summer months. Solar water heating systems can provide low to medium temperature hot water for pen cleaning.
Commercial dairy farms use large amounts of energy to heat water to clean equipment, as well as to warm and stimulate cows’ udders. Heating water and cooling milk can account for up to 40% of the energy used on a dairy farm. Solar water heating systems may be used to supply all or part of these hot water requirements.