How much power are you wasting?
There is a lot of chatter about power consumption, carbon footprint and cost of goods sold for cannabis growers. That is the problem–a lot of chatter and not a lot of solutions–until now. Power companies across the US have been ramping up for a megawatt surge as states come into the circle of grow, but are all these board meetings, infrastructure upgrades, and legislation warranted? More specifically, the problem has not been a lack of effort from the power companies, rather a lack of empirical data and solid historical statistics to base any standards on moving forward.
Resource Innovation Institute (RII), a California company, has virtually solved the challenge related to the lack of energy consumption data from cultivation facilities. Their proprietary Cannabis PowerScore works to help inform the industry and stakeholders about the most reliable ways to move toward a lower- cost cultivation model through energy efficiency. It was conceived and has been thoroughly vetted by their “Technical Advisory Committee”; PowerScore has been tested by nearly 100 users, including prestigious indoor, outdoor and greenhouse cultivators from Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and the Province of Ontario.
The objectives of the Cannabis PowerScore are to:
• Create industry benchmarks on cultivation facility energy performance based on efficient production (grams per annual kWh consumed) and efficient use of the facility (annual kWh per square foot of flowering canopy)
• Help cultivators confidentially self-assess their energy performance and move toward efficiency.
• Assist governments, utilities and manufacturers in establishing policies, incentives, and R&D approaches to drive conservation
HOW POWERSCORE RANKS PERFORMANCE
The Cannabis PowerScore calculates your Facility Efficiency (kWh/SF) and Production Efficiency (grams/kWh), as well as separate scores for lighting and HVAC, if relevant to your grow operation.
You have the ability to choose your own comparison set by:
• Production type (indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, hybrid)
• Region (climate zone, as determined by ASHRAE)
• Both, or
• None (which defaults to a North American average)
The PowerScore sample data set is currently small, though it’s expected to quickly grow as growers share their data and participate in the survey. In the meantime, the kind folks at RII are taking the following steps to generate more data:
• Performing outreach to growers
• Forming partnerships with cannabis trade associations, manufacturers, design/construction partners, utilities, and others
• Continuing discussions with public agencies in multiple states about how to set up a system that generates energy consumption data in a standardized, simple manner that protects the confidentiality of growers.
RII is proudly entering their second year of affiliation with Oregon’s prestigious Cultivation Classic competition, which requires PowerScore contributions as part of the application process. And they most recently supported the Emerald Cup Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award.
RELEVANT TO ALL FORMS OF CULTIVATION
The PowerScore is able to provide relevant rankings for all types of cultivation–outdoor, indoor, greenhouse, hybrid. As a result, the tool:
• Asks questions about where artificial light is used, if any
• Looks at HVAC only where it is used, be that in veg, flowering, drying/curing, or elsewhere
• Considers how to disentangle unrelated electricity usage reflected on utility bills (e.g. residential, multiple tenants in a shared space)
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
Looking ahead to the near future, the Cannabis PowerScore tool will form the basis of their upcoming Cannabis CarbonScore (which will count renewable sources, impacts of generator, and heavy vehicle use, etc.) and Cannabis WaterScore (which will account for sources, usage, and release).
And naturally, keep an eye out for the evolution of their accounting frameworks for resource efficiency!
Proactive growers, electric co-ops, municipalities, and states all across the country are working with the team at RII to standardize a more efficient process for everyone and ultimately for the health of the planet. We urge closet growers, Governors, and everyone in between to reach out to Cannabis PowerScore and see how they can help to make a brighter future for the industry.