Shed ventilation has a major influence on animal performance, with inadequate ventilation frequently raised as being an underlying contributor to significant health issues.
Monaghan man Noel Lennon says a relatively new louvre system can provide enhanced airflow into sheds and could be the answer to cutting down on health issues and improving animal performance.
It is recommended that the system be installed in such a way that there is a continuous 10mm opening between each louvre.
A safe edge on the top and bottom of the louvre prevents rainfall from entering the shed when installed at this spacing.
Noel is confident in this guarantee on rain prevention, with the concept stemming from his main business, Lennon Lines and Products. The company, based in Latton, is best known for its all-weather clotheslines.
We have seen instances in blizzards or storms where strong winds might blow in some snow or light moisture, but, in general, there is complete protection
Explaining the concept, Noel says: “We have over 13 years’ experience perfecting the louvre system for our range of clotheslines and one thing is for sure, if they did not work or were letting in rain we would not still be in business.
“We have seen instances in blizzards or storms where strong winds might blow in some snow or light moisture, but, in general, there is complete protection.”
Noel says the machine used to roll the louvre is the only one of its kind in the world and it can roll any length of a louvre.
Up to 18 months ago we were importing louvres from two UK companies to satisfy occasional demand
He adds that the purchase of the machine about 18 months ago is the reason he is now keen to let people know about its potential for shed ventilation.
“Up to 18 months ago we were importing louvres from two UK companies to satisfy occasional demand from people who had purchased clotheslines and wanted to avail of the technology in sheds.
“The situation was fine for dealing with small orders, but it had limitations for handling large volumes, so it was not something we have pushed.
“Having constructed all manner of sheds for close on 20 years, ventilation is an area I was always interested in exploring more and, thankfully, we are now in a position to be able to do so. We have a product we are happy with and one that will stand the test of time.”
The machine rolls the louvre from a large steel coil to any length. The steel sheet is 0.7mm thick and is galvanised and painted.
The most common colour is slate grey, followed by green and brown, but a range of other colours can also be supplied.
As demonstrated in Picture 1, the louvres are installed at 4in centres and are typically fastened in a standard 15ft 9in opening in four positions.
Noel says there are numerous ways in which the louvres can be installed, but this is the most common system.
Picture 2 is taken from inside the shed and provides greater insight.
The louvres are fastened to four lengths of box iron, which are bolted on to the vertical timbers or the top timber and the wall. In this instance, the bracket is fixed to pre-fabricated concrete panels.
The box iron can be cut to whatever length is required and brackets will then fit inside the box iron, avoiding the need for brackets to be welded on to the box iron and interfering with galvanising and protection of the steel.
This mechanism also allows the box iron to be cut to whatever length is desired to easily fit different openings.
A 15ft 9in length of louvre costs €12 plus VAT. The shed opening in the picture with a height of 4ft 6in requires about 15 louvres, giving an overall cost per bay of €180 plus VAT.
Noel says there is a quick turnaround time, with the machine capable of rolling and cutting about 1,000 louvres if required in a day.
He is currently looking into getting the system approved by the Department of Agriculture and, pending approval, hopes to have it available for investments under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme in the near future.
While COVID-19 restrictions have had a negative impact on many rural businesses, Noel says the company has not been too badly affected.
A contract signed with an agent in the UK will see manufacturing of the all-weather clotheslines increase, while he hopes this development will also open the door to exports for livestock housing and general-purpose sheds, with enquires starting to build.