The medical and recreational cannabis industries are continuously growing and with more and more countries deciding to legalise, many are turning to growing their own cannabis.
However, one downside can be the energy it takes to power the lighting, heating, pumps and ventilation needed to successfully grow a cannabis plant. In fact, did you know that on average, producing one pound of cannabis requires about 2,000 kWh; the same amount of which the average household will use in two and a half months!
Luckily, in the article below, we have put together a range of methods you can use to save energy, money while growing cannabis. This has been written in collaboration with 2 Fast 4 Buds, leading providers of autoflowering cannabis seeds.
Use LED Lights
LED lights are a much more energy efficient option, compared to other types of lighting. Therefore, if you are looking to cut down on your energy usage and therefore costs, they’re a great choice to make!
They won’t produce as much heat as other lights and will also cool down much quicker, which goes even further in reducing your energy costs. What’s more, more often than not LEDs will have a light spectrum which is perfect for your plants needs.
Overall, choosing LED grow lights means higher efficiency because less power is converted into heat and into a light spectrum of which your plant doesn’t fully appreciate.
Adjust the Size of your Grow to Your Needs
By adjusting how many cannabis plants you are growing to how much you actually need, you can make a big impact on your energy costs. In fact, this is by far one of the most effective ways to reduce your energy consumption.
For example, if you are using around 30g of cannabis a month, one single autoflower plant can produce this amount in its life cycle of 8 weeks. Therefore, by having four plants, you can ensure that you’re well stocked.
Try to perfectly match how much energy you use on your plants with the amount you need. You can also adjust lighting without having to move plants by looking for light movers. This allows you to setup lighting that can be adjusted without having to adjust the plants making lighting more portable.
Improve Your Insulation
If the space in which you are growing your cannabis isn’t properly insulated, then you will be wasting a huge amount of energy. This especially applies if you are using a heater or an air conditioner to help keep the space at the right temperature.
To ensure that your space is properly insulated, you want to use styrofoam wall panelling to insulate doors and windows and ensure that any piping in the room is properly insulated. This will help to ensure that you aren’t unnecessarily running your air conditioner or heater.
Optimise Your Climate Control
It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to constantly run your heaters, coolers and (de)humidifiers on full blast. In fact, many professional greenhouse growers will choose to measure a value known vapour pressure deficit or VPD. VPD will indicate the difference between the amount of moisture in the air and how much moisture the air can hold when it is saturated. This will then allow you to achieve the optimal climate for your plants, benefiting their health and also your energy usage.
You could also consider an integrated climate control system. Whilst this involves much more than just having a heater or air conditioner, an ICCS will intelligently control all of your growing equipment. For example, the system could temporarily switch off your exhausts to ensure that you aren’t wasting CO2 unnecessarily.
Sometimes, however simple methods prevail when optimising the climate for your plants. You could just run an ordinary standing fan or open a window or door to let fresh air in, and this could be enough for you to save on additional cooling methods.
Monitor Your Energy Consumption
If you are looking to cut down on the amount of energy you are using to grow cannabis, it is important to keep track of exactly how much energy you are using. From this you will be able to formulate a plan to control consumption and actually make adequate changes.
Establishing energy-spending targets of which you plan to achieve are a great starting point. However before you do this, make sure you know how much your energy costs per KW/h and how much energy each individual piece of equipment uses. Not knowing this will mean that the whole process will essentially be a guessing game, making saving energy much more difficult.
Take a look at your energy consumption in previous months and see whether you can improve on this. Even if you are making small changes, these can go a long way.
Once you understand how much energy you are using and how much is essentially going to waste, then you can make appropriate changes. This can include switching your grow lights for LEDs, reducing your light hours, installing climate control and so on.
After making these changes, make sure to check as to whether you’re actually hitting your previously set goals and therefore whether your energy-saving tactics are actually working. IF you find that improvements are small, think of it as an opportunity to make more changes, whether that’s making more tweaks or consulting an expert.
Saving More Water
Being energy efficient isn’t just about cutting down how much electricity you use, it’s also about lowering your overall environmental footprint. Another great way to do this is by saving water.
Make sure to water your plants only when they need it. Lifting up your pots can help you to determine how much water is in there. Make sure to only water the plants when the pots are light. Even better, set up specialised sensors to do this for you!
Whilst hand watering may not seem hard, overwatering is an incredibly easy mistake to make. Using an irrigation system can ensure that water waste is greatly reduced and benefit the overall health of your cannabis plants.
Another great way to save water is by stopping ‘drain-to-water’ watering and choosing to grow your plants hydroponically. Hydroponic systems use tanks to recirculate water and therefore nutrients, resulting in significant water savings. These systems are also much more environmentally friendly as they don’t waste large quantities of water and nutrients.
When growing cannabis, you want to ensure that all of your equipment is working at its best and the only way to ensure this is by performing regular maintenance.
If you own either an irrigation or hydroponic system, you want to ensure that you are cleaning it and replacing filters and valves regularly. Your system will also require a cleaning ‘flush’ once in a while.
Likewise, you will want to keep a grow room as clean as possible, to reduce the likelihood of equipment failures.
If it is available to you, moving your plants outdoors could effectively remove the costs of operating an indoor growing system.
If you want to go a step further, investing in a greenhouse could be well worth it. A greenhouse will provide both you and your plants with all of the benefits of growing indoors, along with those of growing outdoors!
No matter how you do it, it is actually fairly easy to make your cannabis growing system more energy efficient. By no means will you have to sacrifice on the quality of your plant and you’ll benefit from a lower energy bill at the end of the day!