Indoor Cultivation Operations Using LED Lighting Demonstrate Better Efficiency

Over the past few years, growers have traditionally been reluctant on using LED lighting technology to grow their plants. Advancements in materials and manufacturing has lead to LED grow lights becoming more and more popular amongst horticulture operations. Thanks to researchers at Resource Innovation Institute, and their CannabisPowerScore tool, we now have data that shows how energy efficient these LED systems really are.

Key Performance Indicators assessed were Electric Facility Efficiency and Electric Production Efficiency. Electric Facility Efficiency is similar to area-based Energy Use Intensity (EUI) often used by architects, engineers, and utilities to evaluate commercial and residential buildings occupied by humans; Electric Facility Efficiency uses units of electricity measured in kiloBtu (kBtu) per square foot of flowering canopy to normalize EUI for cannabis cultivation facilities, buildings occupied by plants. Electric Production Efficiency is similar to production-based metrics typically used in industrial settings where efficient output of product is the objective; Electric Production Efficiency uses grams of cannabis flower produced in grams (g) per unit of electricity measured in kBtu. Electricity is often measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), and RII converts from kWh to kBtu. kBtu is used as a standardized unit of energy to enable comparison across all fuel types and conversion to equivalent carbon emissions (CO2eq).

The graphs below summarize Electric Facility Efficiency (the lower, the better) and Electric Production Efficiency (the higher, the better). The grey bar shows the average performance of the complete indoor Ranked Data Set; the green bars denote the facilities using LED lighting systems, the orange bars denote facilities using other kinds of lighting systems. The numbers in parentheses next to each group’s label designates the number of records in the group within the dataset of indoor facilities.