OXFORD COUNTY A new air exchanger that is designed to use the energy from warm air in a poultry barn to heat cold air coming in from outside is saving one chicken farm money on electric bills.
In 2013, Jack Van Ham and his son Jerry were the first Ontario poultry farmers to install an air-air heat exchanger, which was designed by ITB Companies in the Netherlands.
Warm air from the barn enters the heat exchanger, and passes through tubes where cold outside air absorbs the heat before being circulated into the barn. A computer manages air flow and fan speeds, and adjusts for changing outside temperatures.
The system improves air circulation to rid barns of humidity and allows manure to dry quicker, minimizing ammonia production. The drier air also improves bird health and has better dust control, said the Van Hams.
The Van Hams, who grow 2.3-kilogram birds in an eight-week cycle on two farms in Oxford County, say they reduced their use of natural gas by 50 per cent and increased their hydro use by 15 per cent. Overall, they estimate a cost savings of about 60 per cent.