SUNNYSIDE, Wash.-- Businesses are always looking for ways to improve their bottom line, and these days, many are taking steps to make their facilities more energy efficient.
Dan DeGroot owns Skyridge Farms in Sunnyside. A dairy farm with more than 3,000 cows, producing thousands of gallons of milk every day.
DeGroot says the work he's done isn't just about saving money, it's about making his cows a little more comfortable.
"We're always looking for ways to make our cows more comfortable here. Comfortable cows are happy cows," DeGroot said.
And happy cows, produce a lot of milk.
DeGroot built Skyridge Farms back in 2003 and has since been working to improve his energy consumption, while making life for his dairy cows a little bit better.
"As we're walking around the dairy, we saw various ways we can make some changes to make it a little more efficient, improve cow comfort, improve employee safety and comfort, or to save energy costs," DeGroot said.
And he's been successful in all of those missions. DeGroot has a programmable logic controller installed on the farm.
It's a device that gives him full control of just about everything, from automatically turning on sprayers if the cows get too hot, to making sure barn lights and fans aren't over used.
In fact, DeGroot even swapped out 130 different light fixtures around his farm, a move that's cut his light bill in half.
"We save thousands of dollars. It was nice for the employees and it was definitely nicer for the cows," DeGroot said.
All his work hasn't gone unnoticed either. DeGroot was recently nominated for a U.S. Sustainability Award for the changes he's made at his farm.
Changes that have made a world of difference for his pocketbook, his employees, but most of all, his cows.