The following is a preview of a Guest Post we provided for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s member blog.
Indoor cannabis cultivation facilities are complex environments, where a large number of variables interact to create an ideal ecosystem to grow cannabis. The upside of an indoor facility is it allows a year-long growing climate, optimized for each stage of the plant grow cycle. The downside, however, is creating this ideal climate is very energy-intensive.
The total energy costs for indoor cannabis grow operations typically vary between 20%-50% of total operating costs (approximately 120-150 kWh/sq.ft). In comparison, energy use in a typical commercial building environment is approximately 25 kWh/sq. ft. As indoor cultivation facilities increase, they can be a source of strain on electrical grids. A recent study showed indoor cannabis cultivation alone accounted for 4% of the energy grid usage in Denver. (IEEE, 2020)
With that context, any areas we can identify to improve energy efficiencies without introducing a negative impact to the grow environment can have enormous bottom-line impacts for cultivation owners and society at large.