Energy Savers

Queensland Horticulture Farms

Energy Savings
Solar Photovoltaic, Fan, Heating, Lighting, Irrigation, Pump upgrade, Variable Speed Control
Capital Cost


This case study summarises the outcomes from audits conducted on 41 Queensland Horticulture farms. Additional value adding from the energy audits showed how an increase in water delivery, could increase production and profit with a reduction in energy consumed per unit of output

Collectively the total energy consumption consumed from the measured areas on the 41 farms was 4,619,701kWh at an annual cost of $1,002,647, resulting in emissions of 4,250 tonnes of CO2-e per annum. 

Opportunities:  the main opportunities identified on Horticulture farms include

  • Pumping and Irrigation Upgrades Savings from Variable Speed Drive (VSD) installation, pump replacements and maintenance. Changes to irrigation design and automation. 
  • Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC). Cooling upgrades and condenser motors including VSD, ventilation fan and heating upgrades.  
  • Lighting and General- Replacement and retrofitting of lights with LEDs, infrastructure upgrades to facilitate efficiency gains and general management changes. 
  • Solar Systems- Ranging in size from 5-100kW systems. 

 Table 1. Technology Recommendations and Savings in the Horticulture Industry. 


Total  Energy Savings (kWh)  Cost Savings ($)  Capital Cost ($)  Average Payback (Years) 

Emission Reduction (tCO2-e)

Pumping and Irrigation Upgrades 

52  608,113  202,497  1,802,342  19 



19  177,513  49,194  487,032  9 


Lighting and General 

30  113,839  34,796  275,652  7 


Solar Systems 

34  888,019  239,874  1,353,324  6 



134  1,787,484  526,361  2,953,682  10.2 


Total Recommendations 

665  7,459,015  2,817,342     12,784,670  6.85 



Table 1 highlights that total energy savings of 1,787,484kWh were discovered from the audit process.  


Including production benefits a saving of $526,361 and estimated 1,644 tonnes of CO2-e could be realised per annum. At a capital cost of $2,953,682 the average payback was 10.2 years.  

Additional value adding from the energy audits showed how an increase in water delivery, could increase production and profit with a reduction in energy consumed per unit of output 

Table 2. Pre and Post Audit Metrics.  

Metric  Pre-Audits  Post- Audits 

Reduction (%) 

Energy Consumption (kWh) 

4,619,701  2,832,217 


Energy Costs ($) 

1,002,647  476,286 


Emissions (tCO2-e) 

4,250  2,606 



As installation of the recommendations is made within the industry, measurement and verification will be undertaken, and case studies will be updated to include the actual energy savings. 

 Horticulture 2

Energy Efficiency for your Industry and Business 

An energy audit is a great way for a business to identify the most effective way to cut costs, reduce emissions and boost productivity.  

The audits show that there are significant opportunities in the horticulture industry to improve energy efficiency by investigating the pumping and irrigation systems as well as by implementing solar systems. A banana farm has saved $40,000 per year by upgrading its irrigation system with a lower capital cost than annual savings, to see more details click HERE 

To keep up to date with the changes taking place in the energy space sign up to the e-news HERE 


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.  



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