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Poultry Barns, Wet Environments, and Inspectors!

October 31, 2013

ONCE bulbIn 2011, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry began classifying agricultural buildings as “wet environments” via the National Electric Code.  Curiously, no poultry farmer would want a “wet environment” since moisture does not help bird health.  For agricultural wiring purposes, nonetheless, a wet environment requires enclosed, dust-tight, and corrosion resistant light fixtures.  Many of the existing open, porcelain screw-in fixtures that hold incandescent or curly-q CFL bulbs do not meet the new “wet environment” standard.  To make matters urgent, the word on the street is that Minnesota state inspectors are getting active and requiring junction boxes and jelly jars for poultry producers.

As much as poultry producers do not need another burden, this new regulation may turn out to be a benefit in the end.  LED poultry lights, including those of ONCE Innovations, our project partner, meet the new “wet environment” standard and have the appropriate housing under the 2011 National Electric Code.  Moreover, most LED poultry lights only consume around 12 watts an hour, may be dimmed, and have a science-backed lifespan of 35,000 to 50,000 hours or more, depending on the maker.  In comparison, incandescent bulbs consume oodles more energy at 100 watts or 75 watts with a rated lifespan of 5,000 hours.  Frankly, LED bulbs easily outshine other lights.

If poultry farmers will be forced to purchase new lighting fixtures or jelly jars in order to meet code, they might as well invest the money in LED poultry lighting technology and save themselves energy dollars and a visit from a state code inspector.  The Minnesota Project would be happy to provide more info for interested farmers.  Just give us a call at (651) 789-3330 for real poultry farm data we’ve amassed through our CARD grant with the Minnesota DER.

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