Energy Savers
Atherton Tablelands

Atherton Chicken Farm

Energy Savings
Fan, Solar Photovoltaic
Capital Cost


An energy audit showed how improving the current systems can lead to energy and cost savings. The recommendations explored in the audit included replace 40 ventilation fans and install a 10 kW solar PV system.

The farm, near Tolga in North Queensland, comprises five broiler meat chicken sheds with 6,900m2 of usable floor area that house approximately 188,000 birds. The main energy consumption is driven by climate and temperature control systems, as well as water supply, food supply and lighting, with an annual energy consumption of approximately 280,000 kWh at a cost of $82,000. 

An energy audit showed how improving the current systems can lead to energy and cost savings by investing $58,000, the recommendation explored in the audit included: 

  • Replace 40 cross flow ventilation fans with more efficient units.
  • Install a 10 kW solar PV system to offset the base load consumption during the day.

Table 1. Energy savings from audit recommendations

Recommendation  Energy savings (kWh)  Cost Savings ($)  Emission Savings (tCO2-e)  Payback Period (Years)  Cost to Implement ($) 
Ventilation upgrades 36,500 10,000 30 4 40,000
Solar PV system 18,700 5,500 15 3.3 18,000
Total 55,200 15,500 45 3.8 58,000

By installing the recommendations in the 
audit, the business could reduce energy consumption by 20%, and costs by 19%, with carbon emission savings of 45 tCO2e per year. Cost savings include reductions in maintenance costs given more efficient ventilation units.

Table 2. Pre and post audit energy consumption and costs. 

Audit Metric  Pre-Audit  Post-Audit  Reduction (%)
Energy Consumption (kWh)  280,000 224,800 20
Cost ($)  82,000 66,500 19


Additionally, it was recommended to evaluate biogas generation opportunities every year, comparing market pricing against capital investment, until become economically viable.

An energy audit is a good investment 

An energy audit is a great first step in moving a business towards a more efficient future by reducing energy use, costs and Carbon emissions onsite.  

An energy auditor will review your past energy bills, your equipment and the way your business operates. They’ll show you where you’re using excess energy and explain what you can do about it. Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE. 

See our range of agricultural energy efficiency case studies HERE and Subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE  

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at energysavers@qff.org.au.  

The Energy Savers Plus Extension Program is delivered in by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works.