More "Buzz" from ACEEE Summer Study—Grow Homes

Joe Clark and Martha Wudka of Evergreen Economics did a study in which "getting into the weeds (or weed)" was the whole point. Since marijuana is becoming legal in state after state, they wanted to zero in on the energy use in "grow homes". These are homes where residents grow marijuana for personal use. The biggest energy use gain? Lighting to grow the plants indoors.

Here is the abstract from the paper that was presented at the 2018 ACEEE Summer Study of Energy in Buildings, followed by a link to the paper:

Heading into 2018, eight states andthe District of Columbiahaveadopted legislation thatlegalizes recreational marijuanausage. Withthe exception of Washington,each state alsolegalized homecultivation of cannabis, allowingresidentstogrowbetween four and six plants.Unlike commercialgrowersthatregister through regulatory boardsand often work with utilitieson their energy needs, homegrowersare harder to track and maybe less familiarwith the energyuse associated with indoor cannabis cultivation. These energy demandsprimarilystem fromrunning high-intensity discharge (HID) lights 12 to 24 hours aday, which, in a traditional four-by-four-foot grow operation, can significantlyincrease the electricity usage of an average U.S.home(Podorson 2015).

This paper describesourfindingsfrom recent research conductedwith homegrowers inOregon and California based on two anonymousweb surveys that reachedover 150 homegrowers; interviews with specialty lighting manufacturers,distributors,and indoor agricultureretailers; and outreach atthe California Grower Workshop attended by local growers and utilityrepresentatives. The paper outlines the characteristics of home growers and their facilities, homegrower lighting preferences, thepotential energy demandimplicationsofhomecultivation,andthe receptiveness of homegrowers to energy efficient solutionssuch as LEDs.

The trend towards cannabis legalization is leading to an increase in indoor cultivation, which has local and widespread energy impacts.Understanding the home grower market can help utilities and cannabis market actors identify both market drivers and barriers to adopting energy efficient solutions in this emerging and largely unstudied market sector.

Paper: "Highest Users on the Block: An In-depth Look at the Oregon and Cali...," by Joe Clark and Martha Wudka, of Evergreen Economics.

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