Marijuana cultivation facilities have been specifically identified as a key contributor to Denver’s increasing electric use, undermining the city’s goal of reducing energy usage.
Electricity use in the city has been rising at a rate of 1.2% a year, the Denver Post reported, citing city officials. About 45% of that increase comes from grow sites.
Denver cultivators in 2013 used 121 million kilowatt hours of electricity, up 41% from the prior year, according to the city. The energy is required to run grow lights, air conditioners and ventilation systems in indoor grow facilities.
The amount of electricity used is at issue as officials want to cap energy use at 2012 levels. However, city officials are not yet considering energy-efficiency rules for the cannabis industry.
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project director Howard Geller said LED lights that put out less heat reduce electricity costs are one solution. Xcel Energy spokesman Mark Stutz said the company is offering advice on how much electricity different lights use, according to the Post.
Cannabis companies have been working on energy conservation in a bid to reduce electric costs and boost their bottom lines. Some companies, including Biological Innovation and Optimization Systems (BIOS), have developed LED bulbs that do not negatively affect yields, require less electricity to operate and emit less heat than traditional bulbs.