The rise of legal marijuana in Denver may be bolstering the local economy, but it’s also putting a huge strain on the local grid. With the pot business booming, the influx of growing facilities has spiked Denver’s electricity use – and the businesses now use 6 times more as the pharmaceuticals industry. As the weed biz becomes legalized in more locales, it’s clear that growers need to turn to more energy efficient systems like LED lighting.
According to a Columbia Environmental Law Journal Report, the marijuana-growing industry sucks up six times as much energy as the pharmaceuticals industry, accounting for an estimated one percent of our nation’s energy use. A growing facility also sucks up eight times as much energy as an average commercial office building, largely due to the massive lighting systems required to grow crops of marijuana.
As the industry increases in Denver, it has started to chip away at the electrical consumption, now accounting for 45 percent of the average rate increase of 1.2 percent citywide per year.
If growing pot continues to be a booming, profitable business, greener steps will need to be taken in order to alleviate impact. Lighting companies are already beginning to work with marijuana companies to use efficient LED lighting, but experts also suggest transferring the crops to the outdoors to minimize impact. Growing weed outdoors is not yet legal in Colorado, but the environmental effects could prove invaluable to the state’s energy consumption rate.