Submitted to: Biological Engineering (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2007
Publication Date: 6/17/2007
Citation: Purswell, J.L., Lott, B.D. 2007. Heating poultry houses with an attic ventilation system. Biological Engineering (ASABE). ASABE #074125.
Interpretive Summary: Maintaining the proper environment within a broiler house is necessary to minimize declines in production efficiency, and thus profitability for the grower. Fuel usage during winter months constitutes a large proportion of the energy costs to broiler producers, and increasing fuel costs have illustrated the need for alternative methods to reduce energy usage in broiler production. A series of air inlets were installed in the ceiling of a broiler house to draw fresh air from the attic. Air temperature measurements showed that the attic is a reliable source of pre-heated air, with attic air 6 °C warmer than outside air 86% of the time over the first two weeks of the flock. Heating system operation was reduced by 17% for brooders and 45% for forced air furnaces. The house equipped with the attic ventilation system was able to maintain a significantly lower moisture level in the house, which can lead to lower ammonia levels in the house.
Technical Abstract: Fuel use constitutes a large percentage of the energy costs incurred by growers during winter flocks and increasing fuel costs have illustrated the need for alternative methods to reduce energy usage in broiler production. The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of using the attic space of a broiler house as a source of pre-heated air to reduce energy usage during winter flocks. A series of air inlets were installed in the ceiling of a broiler house to supply pre-heated air during brooding. Inlets were installed in the peak of the ceiling and manually controlled with a curtain actuator. Temperature and relative humidity data were collected for the brood chamber, attic space, and outdoors. Heater, brooder, and fan run times were also monitored. Heating system run time was reduced for the house with the attic inlet system installed, with estimated gas savings of 128.8 l of LP gas over the first two weeks of a spring flock. Humidity was also reduced in the house with the system installed; the humidity ratio with the system installed was 0.0141 kg water/kg dry air versus 0.0155 kg water/kg dry air in a house with a traditional sidewall inlet system.