August 23, 2019
Looking to “Green” Your Grow? Key Considerations to Guide Your Redesign
There are many reasons that cannabis cultivators might want to redesign their indoor facility, but for some, the strongest impetus is improving sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. Growing cannabis indoors can be an incredibly energy-intensive endeavor and around two-thirds of the United States’ energy is generated by burning fossil fuels – resulting in literal tons of carbon emissions to put cannabis on dispensary shelves.
Redesigning your grow facility is an enormous undertaking that shouldn’t be rushed – especially if you want to maximize your site’s efficiency. Before you start knocking down walls, ask yourself:
- Is financing available? Money is a top concern for anyone looking into a serious redesign. The process can be expensive, and cannabis businesses should be prepared for these costs. Investigate financing options when it comes to paying for construction or needed equipment. Some companies offer leasing and you might be able to take advantage of energy rebates.
- Will I continue production while I’m redesigning? Retrofitting a functioning cannabis facility can be difficult, especially because the plants can easily be harmed or exposed to contaminants during the construction process. Consult an expert to explore potential solutions.
- What are my future goals? Ensure your redesign aligns with your future goals. Do you see yourself expanding your facility soon? What about introducing new crops (such as hemp) or adding an extractions lab? Keep your long-term vision in mind as you prioritize certain changes.
For environmentally conscious cannabis businesses, here are the top considerations when taking on a facility redesign.
Choosing the right lighting for your grow facility is one of the most important decisions to make. If you’re currently using fluorescent or HPS lights, investigate energy efficient LED options. The upfront costs might be a little higher, but it pays off in lower electricity costs and improved performance. If you’re already using LED lights, it might be time to upgrade to even more sophisticated fixtures. Wondering what to look for when purchasing new LED lights? We provide a guide here.
Your current setup could be wasting water either due to outdated equipment or evaporation. Growers, especially in water-scarce regions like Arizona and California, will want to look into some valuable conservation techniques. Hydroponic gardens are extremely efficient, using 10 times less water than other agricultural methods.
Maintaining an ideal balance between humidity, light and temperature can be a challenge. You’ll want to ensure you have the right equipment (HVAC, lighting, monitoring) to keep all these factors under control. Recent advancements in renewable energy and sustainable technologies have made newer options more environmentally friendly than ever. Additionally, avoid wasting money and energy by using outdated equipment and invest in the latest developments.
Expanding your facility’s square footage can easily spike your energy bills. It may be wise to investigate smart design options – such as vertical racking. Because of advancements in the LED industry, growers can now take full advantage of their facility’s vertical space. Sustainable cannabis growers can produce more product, without sacrificing quality or having to add on to their square footage.
As the cannabis industry continues to expand, there’s an expectation for cannabis businesses to integrate sustainable practices and use resources responsibly. Business leaders who design indoor cultivation facilities with sustainability as a priority can save money on energy, be a positive influence on other businesses and appeal to an increasingly educated and aware consumer base.