TARK LAUT makes beef cattle farming environmentally more effective through increased productivity – more kilos of beef will be produced for each 1 kg of methane produced by a bovine animal grown in a microclimate with optimal air circulation and temperature. The airtight building is ready to be integrated with cost-efficient future smart ventilation solutions that would lower the greenhouse gas levels released from the building.
The energy efficient TARK LAUT makes full use of solar energy. In winter, the 500 m2 building keeps the animals warm, fed, hydrated and lit, while only using 700 kw/h of net energy (around 70 euros per month), while in summer the building dries 100 tons of hay within 48 hours by using 200 kw/h of net energy (around 20 euros for 24 hours). By optimising the production processes one can autonomously produce all the electricity and heat energy needed for the building.
The air in the TARK LAUT building is always fresh. The smart ventilation system comes with a heat recovery unit and guarantees an optimal microclimate for keeping beef cattle in the building throughout winter. In summer, the ventilation system breathes in more than 100 000 m3/h of air even in the moody Estonian climate conditions while using almost only passive energy.
Based on science
The innovative engineering solution for TARK LAUT was developed with top scientists at the Intelligent Materials and Systems Laboratory in the Institute of Technology (University of Tartu), and was led by the Koivakonnu organic cattle farm who is promoting sustainable agriculture.
Rich in sunlight
TARK LAUT comes with optimised outer geometry and a coating that enhance the well-being of the animals by allowing them plenty of daylight in wintertime and catching up to 80% of sunlight in summer (that is 850 W/m2). This allows the farmer to earn some additional income – they can use the building for growing high value by-products or for producing dry hay.
You can raise the temperature above 60C in the thermoregulated building which, in addition to optimising the metabolising energy of the beef cattle, enables to handle the manure in a novel way and to sterilise the cattle housing after emptying the building: together, high temperature and UV-light effectively kill the dangerous pathogens in the building.
TARK LAUT project
In the course of TARK LAUT project, Koivakonnu organic cattle farm and the Intelligent Materials and Systems (IMS) Lab of the Institute of Technology of University of Tartu cooperated and created an innovative energy-efficient thermo-regulated concept-solution for a cattle housing operating with renewable energy (TARK LAUT – Smart Livestock Housing).
The purpose of the project was improving the winter housing conditions for beef cattle (especially weaned young animals) with an innovative concept-solution for a cattle housing to increase the economic performance, competitiveness, and profitability of beef cattle farmers through the increased mass gain of animals in winter and thereby make beef cattle farming more environmentally effective through increased productivity.
The main problems to be solved were how to ensure to the animals during the winter feeding period, in a sustainable and economically viable way: a) optimum temperature (so that the animals would use as little of the energy from the feed to regulate their body temperature), b) as much sunlight as possible (to prevent animals from developing skin diseases and metabolic disorders), c) efficient air circulation (to prevent condensation and a damp environment for the animals in the cattle sheds which promote the spread of pathogens), and d) good working conditions for the farm workers (by increasing the convenience of changing the bedding, handling the animals, and feeding/watering them).
During the project, various energy- and resource-efficient architectural and engineering solutions were combined with high-tech green technology and mechatronic solutions to find the best structural-technical solution to achieve the object of the project. This included various analyses, simulations, computational models, and tests. During the project, several researchers and specialists in the field from various universities in Estonia reviewed and consulted on the developed solutions.
The created concept-solution TARK LAUT is a structural-technical solution for raising cattle in an optimal microclimate, which increases animal welfare by a better use of daylight, making changing bedding / manure handling more convenient for both animals and the farmers, and increases the efficiency of the metabolising energy of animals through optimal temperature and air circulation. The building uses maximum solar energy and all-year warm indoor temperature is ensured with minimum additional heating. The concept-solution allows beef breeders to use the building during the summer to produce by-products with a high added value or dry hay which is an additional source of income for livestock farms.