Volume 17 Part 1 Article 31: Energy-Management Strategies to Increase Profitability of Mushroom Production

Volume 17 Part 1 Article 31
Year 2008
Title: Energy-Management Strategies to Increase Profitability of Mushroom Production
Author: D.E. Buffington


Contemporary practices of mushroom production are very energy intensive. Mushroom producers must adopt strategies to use energy in an efficient manner to increase profitability. The energy management strategies must be dynamic, because prices for energy continue to fluctuate, supply of conventional energy sources becomes more uncertain, and restrictions of carbon emissions loom on the horizon. Three major facets of energy management strategies that must be evaluated are: 1. energy-efficient equipment; 2. energy demand management; and 3. energy purchase arrangements. The paper identifies and documents the variables involved with each facet to determine the potential savings. The use of energy-efficient equipment is discussed with respect to electric motors, lighting, and HVAC equipment. Energy demand management focuses primarily on managing electricity usage patterns to increase the cost effectiveness of the electricity consumed. However, the principles involved apply to natural gas as well. Energy purchase arrangements will identify the numerous options available to commercial and industrial customers of utilities. The paper provides the background information and recommendations needed by an individual mushroom producer to develop appropriate energy management strategies for a particular operation. Reduction of 30–35% in expenditures for energy consumption without sacrificing quality and quantity of mushrooms produced is certainly attainable, thus enhancing profitability.

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