Energy consumption is the biggest expense for cannabis facilities. As daunting as the energy challenge might be, it also provides the largest opportunity to save money, reduce your environmental impact, and stay gain a competitive advantage in an industry that is still in its relative infancy.
Cannabis facilities know just how important their energy bill is to the future of their business. As the world waits for a switch to renewable energy at grid-scale, energy-intensive industries like cannabis have already shown an admirable impatience. Instead, forward-thinking companies are already prioritizing energy efficiency as the keystone element of growth.
We’ve put together five ways the most competitive cannabis companies can invest in their future with energy efficiency serving as the core focus.
1. Know what you’re paying for. No business, in any industry, should have bills on autopay. We’ve met clients that have only given their bills a passing glance. Cannabis facilities need to understand the terminology of their energy bills and invest time in tracking, monitoring, and questioning their bill for inaccuracies. While most utility companies are diligent, mistakes happen, and mistakes can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars if they’re allowed to keep happening. Watch for changes in fees, rates, peak hour rates, and any notable fluctuations in what you pay.
2. Understand peak demand charges. Peak demand hours can change seasonally, alter as power sources change regionally, and can simply go up at the discretion of a utility. Get creative with scheduling and staffing, with the end goal being to run the most energy-intensive processes well before or after peak demand. Paying staff a third-shift salary is almost always less expensive than having a full staff on-hand during peak demand.
3. Invest in energy storage. While energy storage may not be enough to run your facility during peak load, it could be enough to power processes during low energy use. Use solar or wind, or a combination, to produce power that can be stored to offset peak rate charges or operate HVAC units during lower energy periods.
4. Know your light fixtures. Lighting fixtures can vary widely in how much energy they use, how much heat they produce, and how they impact other elements of your facility. LED fixtures will slowly replace high-pressure sodium lighting because they are 40% more energy efficient. They also produce little waste heat and provide an equal replacement ratio to 600W HPS and 1000W HID lamp fixtures.
5. Understand your facility. Knowing your facility inch by inch makes a difference. Before contacting an energy consultant or HVAC contractor, take the time to learn everything you can about the construction and materials of your grow area. It’s especially important to know the number of divided spaces or rooms, different climate zones, the type of insulation, the number of windows, and whether the foundation is insulated or not.
Finally, ask questions. Changes in technology offer new opportunities to support your sustainability initiatives. We are always here to get the conversation going. Contact Keen Technical Solutions today for a free energy consultation.