A recent report by EQ Research compares the energy required to maintain indoor cultivation operations for medical marijuana to the power grid drain caused by data centers. According to the findings published in the repot, entitled A Chronic Problem, indoor growing centers potentially boast an energy intensity of 2,000 watts per meter. In 2012, Berkeley Lab discovered that indoor marijuana production could claim as much 1 percent of total electricity consumption in the U.S. This adds up to nearly half of that consumed by data centers.
Colorado estimates that, in 2014, medical grow centers consumed about 0.5 percent of the state’s electricity, a figure could increase 50 percent annually. In Denver alone, electricity consumption by marijuana grow centers surpasses 2 percent.
Energy consumption in these grow centers is due to the draws of high-intensity lighting requirements, complex air circulation needs and industrial moisture control systems. Unlike data centers, however, the medical marijuana cultivation and growth industry lacks strict, detailed energy regulations, distancing them from inclusion in state-run sustainability and conservation programs and making them less desirable as economic boosters.
Technology creating new benefits
Sustainable technology is also prohibitively expensive for medical growth centers that are already facing limited opportunities and tight budgets due to the reluctance on the part of state governments to accept it as having a positive impact on communities.
If states encouraged to conservation programs and utilities to collaborate with medical marijuana growth centers in early development phases, energy consumption reduction opportunities could be discussed and planned, with incentives available for both states and growers.
In an industry this young, opportunities abound for improvements in program development, facility management, and economic collaboration. AGRiMED is committed to developing and advancing the most sustainable, economically viable and civically beneficial institutions possible by employing great minds and leading edge technology.
Source: NORML/EQ Research