Cannabis Energy Efficiency 101 – The Top 5 Best Practices You Need to Know
In such a green industry, it’s hard to believe that cannabis is so far from energy efficient. Growing indoors, for instance, requires an exorbitant amount of electricity. As an increasing number of industries and individual companies shift towards green practices, how can cannabis companies join them? Here, we’ll explore all the latest on cannabis energy efficiency and the best practices to optimize energy use.
Switch to LED lighting
Similarly to how your home energy company encourages changing lighting, going LED for your commercial grow room operation is far more efficient compared to any other lighting system. According to research by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), some LED manufacturers claim the switch can save as much as 50 percent on lighting energy and even better, use far less heat. That means you won’t need to use as much energy cooling off your room, either.
Understand your environment
Environmental conditions impact your energy use. When it comes to increasing cannabis energy efficiency, understanding how your environment heats, cools, and remains healthy, is crucial. Often cannabis cultivators have a “go big or go home” mantra with the way they operate—until, of course, they cultivators take a look at those electricity costs each quarter.
By knowing how to measure your commercial grow room’s VPD or light systems’ photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and daily light integral (DLI), you can better dial-in levels of usage for optimal and minimal use. In doing so, you can save energy by reducing the number of units used, or amount of time they’re used for.
Improve HVAC systems
In addition to lighting, HVAC systems are to blame for the majority of those grow room electricity bills. Cannabis cultivation requires humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, regular fans, exhaust fans, and other hefty equipment to control the optimal temperatures required for optimal health and growth.
With so many working parts, there’s a wide range of improvements you can make to improve the energy efficiency of your operations’ HVAC system. Here are a few of the most successful tips and tricks.
- Use efficient fans: For exhaust fans, buy one with a large diameter but small motor. This method will get you similar results for airflow without using as much energy compared to a larger more powerful motor.
- Install proper insulation: Just like your house, insulating your indoor grow operation properly can save your HVAC systems from working overtime to achieve ideal temps or humidity levels.
- Buy equipment with changeable settings: When shopping for equipment, whether lighting, dehumidifiers or fans, ensure the equipment model you choose has changeable or variable settings. That way, you can use less energy with the low setting.
- Integrate climate control: Controllers are key for automating systems and monitoring conditions for the minimum amount of use, but integrating varying controllers to work all together is even better. That way, each system is speaking to one another and tracking key measurements in your room (like CO2 PPM) to only turn on when absolutely necessary.
Use smart meters
Smart meters and cannabis grows go hand in hand when it comes to increasing energy efficiency. The new innovation tracks and measures actual usage of a facility. By gaining this baseline energy usage, you can better gauge and determine what improvements need to be made.
In today’s legal industry, most energy companies don’t provide cost energy audits and will even suggest improvements, even for cannabis cultivators. Don’t be shy and use smart meters for increasing energy efficiency with the power of hard data on your side.
Integrate automated technology
Moving towards the future, technology and energy efficiency are another obvious pair. By integrating technology into your operation, you can not only track and analyze energy use like the use of smart meters and grow rooms, but automate processes and maintenance, too.
For instance, if you use compliance or operations software like ProCanna to track SOPs, why not implement a policy or procedure for routine energy efficiency maintenance? In doing so, you can rest assured knowing your team is staying on track for maintaining current systems while analyzing data for future improvements.
The final word
Improving cannabis energy efficiency is not simple nor cheap. However, doing so can be highly beneficial for cutting costs and energy use over time. Keep in mind becoming more energy efficient is also beneficial on the consumer side as well. A 2021 GreenPrint survey found that 78 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand labeled as environmentally friendly.
Are you ready to use the power of technology to reap the benefits of cannabis cultivation energy savings? Look no further than ProCanna, the all-in-one software that automates policies and procedures for compliance and operational success. Request a demo to see ProCanna in action now.