Could cannabis be a leader in sustainable agriculture? While this budding industry is continuing to grow, their energy efficient technology is something mainstream commercial agriculture might want to look at for sustainable inspiration.

While the cultivation, under licenses issued by Health Canada, is currently legal north of the US border — medical marijuana is now legal in 20 states. Many suppliers opt for growing these plants indoors and require the use of artificial lights. As you can imagine, these little buds rely on energy-consuming lighting to reach full bloom.

Well, these indoor greenhouses just got greener!

So how do these ‘farmers’ save energy from going up in smoke?

With the social acceptance of marijuana growing, more and more folks are getting involved in what’s trending as the “green rush.” But with more suppliers wanting to cash in on a budding industry, attention is being turned to environmental impacts.

The fact is, this industry has a rather large carbon footprint and according to an Independent study by a researcher from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2011, one per cent of the US’s electricity consumption is being, well, consumed by indoor cannabis production.

But pot farmers are becoming increasingly aware of the resources needed for their growth production and are aiming to not only reduce their energy use (and save on costs), they’re on board with rainwater collection systems. In fact, it seems that the marijuana industry may even be ahead of other commercial greenhouse crops in the lighting department, according to The Guardian. 

There are some indoor marijuana growers that have been using brilliant LED technology that caters almost exclusively to this industry, developed by Lighting Science Group, in efforts to serve medical marijuana users in an energy efficient fashion.

This new technology by the Florida-based Lighting Science Group is actually making it possible to not only reduce electricity consumption for lighting alone — they’re gaining benefits by lowering air-conditioning use due to the lower-temperature these LED lights produce.

“Cary Mitchell, a professor of horticulture at Purdue University, thinks the marijuana industry’s work with LED technology might have practical applications in mainstream commercial agriculture,” reports The Guardian.

It seems that those who grow fruits, vegetables or other greenhouse plants may actually benefit by following the lead of indoor marijuana growers to reduce energy consumption.

Cannabis growers are leading the way in sustainable indoor-farming

Another thing to consider is for a cannabis plant to be successful; it has to, uh, have the right affects. According to Popular Science, new energy efficient technology is definitely working.

“According to a lab analysis of a couple of his plants, the THC levels are some of the highest that the lab has ever seen,” reports Popular Science about a grower who opted for LED lights for his own plants.

The thing about energy efficiency is it not only beneficial for the environment; it keeps money in your own pocket. The cannabis community recognizes that and often addresses the energy issue on websites like Toke of the Town.

Hopefully, the marijuana industry will be able to spark some energy efficient inspiration for greenhouse growers everywhere.


Image credit: Greater Manchester Police