Marijuana growers who are worried about high utility bills and bad press generated by the industry’s enormous energy demands may want to check out Boulder County, Colorado, which has found some interesting ways to help cultivation sites reduce their electricity costs.
The county created a so-called “energy-impact offset fund” that marijuana growers can pay into if they can’t meet its renewable energy requirements, according to Al Jazeera.
Some of the money is spent on energy reduction education, while program participants also receive a monitoring device that allows them and county officials to measure real-time energy use.
The fund was created after many licensed growers failed to meet a rule that went into effect last year requiring them to use only renewable energy to power their facilities.
Ron Flax, the county’s sustainability examiner for land use, told Al Jazeera that growers couldn’t meet the standard because of their “tremendous” energy consumption, inadequate roof space for solar panels, and difficulties in paying for energy-efficient equipment.
But the investment may be worth it, as growers can reduce their electricity costs by more than half with “state-of-the-art technology,” Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project in Boulder, told Al Jazeera.
Utility company Xcel Energy also offers a rewards program for businesses that improve their energy efficiency.