According to reports, 3 percent of the power used in both Washington and California goes straight to producing cannabis for the respective states’ industries. And on top of that, one percent of the power usage in the entire United States goes to the production of cannabis. While these may not seem like big numbers, many cultivators are now beginning to realize the need for greener growing methods. This has led a number of people within the cannabis industry to begin a new effort that will revolutionize current growing methods in favor of something more sustainable.
A recent article from the International Business Times has provided a new detailed look at how the legal cannabis industry is beginning to transform a number of industry methods and bring forth a sort of renaissance for new agricultural methods.
Tantalus Labs, a company from British Columbia is working to create a new 120,000-square-foot greenhouse that they believe will revolutionize the way that cannabis is cultivated. Dan Sutton, the managing director of the labs, is hoping that the new structure will be the most energy-efficient greenhouse for growing cannabis that has been designed to date.
Sutton has been working for the last three years with a group of biologists and engineers to come up with the most environmentally-friendly way to produce cannabis for mass production so that the legal states that require a steady supply of the plant will not be disappointed and the energy costs will be significantly lower due to the state-of-the-art design that Tantalus Labs has put together.
“We said, ‘Let’s assume everything that’s ever been done in cannabis cultivation is wrong and we have to build from the ground up,’” said Sutton. “We have this broad realm of science that no one has been able to previously explore.”
Because cannabis can be such a difficult plant to grow, requiring a very precise balance between the light she receives, the amount of moisture in the air and the amount of water required, it can be time and energy consuming to create the perfect setup to ensure the highest yield of THC in the crop. But new steps taken amongst industry heads like Sutton have put a new way of looking at growing in the minds of growers across North America. These thinkers are moving the industry standards more toward a sense of environmental friendliness while at the same time producing stronger, healthier crops of cannabis throughout the continent.
The team at Tantalus Labs has designed a greenhouse that utilizes lighting arrays, digital sensors and ventilators that are all connected to a new digital data collecting software, which can track how the plant is being treated and how much energy is going into the production of each plant. By adapting to different and cleaner methods of growing, the labs could create a new way of growing cannabis that does not involve a large detriment to the environment.
Besides Tantalus Labs, a number of new firms around the world have also stepped up to join the innovation revolution occurring across the legal cannabis industry. For example, a Swedish lighting firm by the name of Heliospectra AB have created cannabis-centric, light-emitting diode lamps specifically designed to keep energy costs down when growing cannabis.
The company claims that the artificial illumination for the diode lamps actually shine brighter, last longer and covers a greater distance of area than the normally used LED lamps. They have even developed similar software to that of Tantalus Labs that allows the growers to augment and adjust the light with ease in order to best match the necessary growing conditions of each different strain they produce. This could lead an increase in the variety of strains that a single plant could put out, since they would have the ability to adjust each lamp to best fit the strain in question rather than having to focus on a particular strain over a single area of space.
On top of this, a company called Ambient Water has teamed up with BW Global structures to attempt to reinvent the greenhouse as well. The team is working on building a greenhouse that forgoes the normal component of glass paneling; instead, the structure will have polycarbonate panels that reacts differently to the plants’ growing processes. The polycarbonate panels actually diffuse photosynthetic radiation, meaning that the panels on top of greenhouse that normally need to be vented in warm environments will no longer be necessary. This leads to an increase in the yield and medicinal quality of the crops altogether.
BW Global also uses data tracking software that actually tracks the plants’ genetic strains from the initial planting period to when the product is ready to be distributed. This helps the growers to understand the necessary conditions to produce the desired levels of THC in each strain, giving them more insight into how to best grow their crops to best help those who truly need it.
These new methods are not restricted to just the cannabis industry. The new growing strategies can also be applied to the food production industry, which can utilize the new green-focused methods and instruments to begin producing healthier food with less impact to the environment.
“We have an opportunity to play in a space with beautifully broad margins,” said Sutton. “That’s not true of most food production.”
A tomato producer in a greenhouse would most likely earn roughly 10 percent profit on its revenue, before operating costs. On the other hand, a cannabis grower in a similar setup could rake in as much as 80 percent, Sutton estimated.
“With tomatoes, if you take on an extra 5 percent on your bottom line to experiment with new technology, that could affect your competitiveness,” he said.
Not only are the methods more energy-efficient, but they also end up making the producer more money in the long run. If the cannabis industry continues to affect neighboring and similar industries like this in the coming future, it’s safe to claim that cannabis will end up making the world a happier, healthier, and environmentally safer place to live.
Do you cultivate cannabis? How are you doing your part to be environmentally friendly? Share your tips in the comments.