Nancy and Jim Reiff, family farmers in Kosciusko County, didn’t get any hoped-for federal assistance after an energy audit of their grain dryer operation. But that’s not the end of their story.
With the help of Purdue Extension renewable energy specialist Chad Martin, they applied to their electric and gas supplier, NIPSCO, for an energy rebate. That’s where they succeeded.
The Reiffs sought a federal energy credit through the Rural Energy for America Program, known as REAP, after they built a larger grain dryer on their farm. During the application process they learned that they had to undergo an energy audit. Such audits show how electricity and gas can be used more efficiently.
They didn’t know how to go about that, so Nancy Reiff (pronounced REEF) Googled “energy audit” and found that Martin was involved in them. Purdue’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering is leader in the grain dryer technology sector and has created an energy auditing program based upon years of data collection on grain dryers across the Midwest.
She contacted Martin, who showed up at their farm four days later to conduct the audit.
“I was very impressed with how quickly he responded,” Nancy Reiff said.
Like many people, the Reiffs qualified for a REAP credit after the audit. But unlike those who got an energy rebate, the Reiffs were deemed to be a low priority, and there wasn’t enough money in the program that year to go around.
Not giving up, Martin showed them how they could apply to NIPSCO for an energy credit. They did, and in January 2016 they received a check for $4,000.
Nancy Reiff is grateful to Martin for the direction he gave and for helping to turn a rejection into an acceptance.
“Everything worked out great,” she says. “Overall, it was a very good experience.”
Since 2008, Purdue Extension’s Renewable Energy Program has delivered educational resources and on-site audits to producers in Indiana and beyond. All of which works to emphasize the value in, and enhance adoption of, renewable energy technology.
The combined efforts of Purdue Extension specialists and educators have connected clients to financial resources, individually analyzed factors affecting energy consumption, and provided ways to improve and adapt energy-efficient practices.
550. On-farm audits in Indiana and 14 other states since 2008.
$14,000. Annual per-farm estimated savings.
$7.7 million. Total estimated fuel and electricity savings.
859 billion. Total estimated BTUs saved from all audits.
We continue to strengthen and improve auditing efforts producers must provide when they apply for grants, rebates, or incentives. We emerging as a regional energy efficiency expert and encouraging environmentally responsible investments in farming.