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Net-zero egg barn opens in Alberta

Facility is the first of its kind in Canada

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

The 105-person Brant Hutterite Colony in Alberta recently cut the ribbon on a new egg barn designed to achieve a net-zero status in terms of energy consumption.

There are 100 solar panels installed on its roof and other sophisticated equipment including a Heat Recovery Ventilation system that uses heat from air as it’s vented outside to heat the barn. The barn could generate as much energy as it uses while producing 13,000 eggs daily.

It’s the latest attempt by members of the agricultural community to improve the industry’s sustainability.

"This project really is a first of its kind in Canada in trialing new technologies that could potentially define the new normal for energy efficiency and reducing climate impacts for animal housing," Nathan Pelletier, a University of British Columbia professor specializing in sustainability, told CBC.

The provincial government supported the initiative by providing a $250,000 grant to offset some of the costs.

The colony must provide data to Egg Farmers of Alberta. It also installed a live video stream inside the barn.

The chickens were placed in the barn in January, and so far results are positive.

“It looks very promising, I think we’ll be very close to net zero with solar,” Darrel Mandel, a member of the colony told CBC. “With the colder months coming we’ll have more data available to maybe prove that it was a good cause.”

Jenna Griffin, who helped manage the project with Egg Farmers of Alberta, told CBC more data and information will be collected to determine if more solar panels are needed to achieve net-zero status.

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