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An innovative concept building design incorporating passive technology to improve resource efficiency and welfare of finishing pigs.

Lookup NU author(s): Paul Jackson, Dr Jonathan Guy, Dr Barbara Sturm, Professor Steve BullORCiD, Emerita Professor Sandra Edwards



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In conventionally-designed buildings for finishing pigs, extreme weather conditions can impact negatively on feed utilisation and animal welfare. The SPaTHE (Solar, Passive, Thermal, Heat Exchange) concept is an innovative, resource-efficient engineered building designed to provide an internal environment where finishing pigs can thrive. Passive design elements include solar shading and capture combined with integrated earth tubes to facilitate heat exchange with incoming fresh air to reduce extreme summer and winter internal temperatures. The SPaTHE specification was dynamically modelled and compared to an existing conventional finisher building operating in the UK. The same dimensions (18 m × 14 m) and build specification were used for each building, which was designed to hold 292 pigs from 20 to 100 kg liveweight. Results showed that pigs in the optimum configuration of conventional building form spent 661 fewer h y-1 in conditions < 19ºC, and 102 fewer h y-1 in conditions > 28ºC than with a standard building. Whereas with the SPaTHE design, during 2222 h y-1 the pigs were kept at optimum conditions between 19ºC to 22ºC. The model also estimated that the SPaTHE design would reduce peak summer internal operative temperature by 3.4ºC when the external temperature was 28ºC, and increase the peak winter internal operative temperature by 1.2ºC when the external air temperature is -5.4ºC. Hence the concept design potentially provides an environment which more closely matches the needs of finishing pigs and thus may contribute to more sustainable food production systems.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jackson P, Guy JH, Sturm B, Bull S, Edwards SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biosystems Engineering

Year: 2018

Volume: 174

Pages: 190-203

Print publication date: 01/10/2018

Online publication date: 07/08/2018

Acceptance date: 17/07/2018

Date deposited: 15/09/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1537-5110

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2018.07.008


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Funder referenceFunder name
Innovate UK-funded (The ‘Green Pig’ Project, Ref No 101829
Paul Jackson was in receipt of a Postgraduate Studentship from the Facility of Science, Agriculture and Engineering (SAgE) at Newcastle University.