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Underground “Earth-Tube” System Heats, Cools Calf Barns
To reduce heating and cooling costs for her calf-raising operation, Colleen Vanderloop of Brillion, Wis., researched earth-tube heating systems that she first heard about in the early 2000’s.
  After visiting two farms with variations of the underground heat system she designed a system that would work with her barns.
  To begin, Vanderloop had 21 12-in. dia., 210-ft. long corrugated pipes buried 8-ft. deep with 8-ft. spacing leading from a nearby field to her barns.
  “They need to be at least 8 ft. deep because that’s where the temperature stays steady,” says Vanderloop. “Fresh air is pulled into the tubes in the field and travels through them into the barns. Since they’re corrugated, the air circulates and either cools or warms the air depending on the season.”
  The field end of each pipe begins 3-ft. above ground and is rain capped to keep out birds and debris while allowing air to flow into the underground pipes. The pipes join up at a manifold that tapers up to 48 in. dia. before entering the barns.
  “Fans move air through the system and into the barns, pushing it into the positive pressure tubes like a furnace in a house,” Vanderloop says. “We have exhaust fans that suck the air from the barns as well to keep air circulating.”
  The air reaches the barns at approximately 52 F on average during the winter, so no supplemental heating is required for the older animal housing. The barn for the younger calves is heat supplemented an extra 10 degrees with boilers, in-floor heating, and a radiator and fan system.
  “We’ve found our fuel savings to be very worthwhile,” Vanderloop says. “We’ve been using our system consistently since 2017 and it’s been trouble-free. We haven’t had to touch it.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Colleen Vanderloop, Brillion, Wis. 54110 (ph 920-428-0774; avagroupinc.us@gmail.com; www.avagroupinc.us).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #5