Choosing an efficient barn design
Radio interview source: Lachlan Oldaker, Senior Equine Architect, Gralla Architects
Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below
Whether you have two animals or dozens, efficient planning now will save you money in the future. Lachlan Oldaker is a senior equine architect with an architectural firm in Oklahoma. She says when you're ready to build a barn, it's important to have a master plan. "We typically ask our clients what are your current needs, what are your future needs, how do you see yourself growing?" says Oldaker. "And even though they may not build an indoor arena or even an outdoor arena right now, we need to plan for it now. It aids in the overall efficiency of the facility."
As you're looking for a building site, study the lay of the land and the features to take advantage of or avoid. Low-lying areas may give you trouble with drainage. Shade trees, orientation with the sun, and wind direction can help save on energy costs.
You can design the roof to take advantage of the sun's heat in the winter and overhangs will provide shade in the summer. Plenty of windows add natural light. Inside the barn, plan for what you'll be storing and how much space you'll need for stalls, feed, and supplies. "We usually separate the tack and the feed room. The feed room is sized based on how many horses they have, and how they feed," Oldaker says. "Everybody kind of feeds differently, we really talk to the client and try to understand how they feed, how they hay. Some people hay on the ground, some people hay in hayracks. Do they like the swing-out feeders or do they like buckets on the ground, etc."
Oldaker says they don't advise adding a hayloft anymore. It's bad for ventilation, impedes natural light, and is a fire hazard. She recommends a separate bulk facility for hay storage.
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