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Welcome to the Cannabis PowerScore™: An energy benchmarking tool for growers of all types

By January 20, 2018 No Comments

Overview
Wholesale prices are falling in another market, this time Oregon. With predictability, each state that regulates sees a winnowing of producers shortly after supply hits a certain level. It is clear that cultivation operators who invest in energy efficiency measures that lower their cost structures are significantly better positioned to weather the storms that come with intense competition.

At Resource Innovation Institute, our work throughout 2017 has focused primarily on solving the challenge related to the lack of energy consumption data from cultivation facilities. The goal of the Cannabis PowerScore is to help inform the industry and stakeholders about the most reliable ways to move toward a lower-cost cultivation model through energy efficiency.

Like everything we do, the Cannabis PowerScore is peer-reviewed. It was conceived and has been thoroughly vetted by our Technical Advisory Committee, who we are honored to support in facilitating a resource efficient cannabis economy. We’ve facilitated a discussion forum on Reddit and the PowerScore has been tested by nearly 100 users, including indoor, outdoor and greenhouse cultivators from Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio and the Province of Ontario.

Testing out the Cannabis PowerScore at Oregon’s Collaborative Cannabis Conference.Testing out the Cannabis PowerScore at Oregon’s Collaborative Cannabis Conference.

Audiences, objectives and key metrics
The objectives of the Cannabis PowerScore are to:

  • Create industry benchmarks on cultivation facility energy performance based on efficient production (grams per annual kWh consumed) and efficient use of the facility (annual kWh per square foot of flowering canopy)
  • Help cultivators confidentially self-assess their energy performance and gain support in moving toward efficiency
  • Assist governments, utilities and manufacturers in establishing policies, incentives and R&D approaches to drive conservation

How the PowerScore ranks your performance
The Cannabis PowerScore calculates your Facility Efficiency (kWh/SF) and Production Efficiency (grams/kWh), as well as separate scores for Lighting and HVAC, if relevant to your grow operation.
You have the ability to choose your own comparison set by:

  • Production type (indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, hybrid)
  • Region (climate zone, as determined by ASHRAE)
  • Both, or
  • None (which defaults to a North American average)

The PowerScore sample data set is currently small, though we expect it to quickly grow expand as growers (including yourselves?) share their data and participate in the survey. We at RII are taking the following steps to generate more data:

  • Performing outreach to growers
  • Forming partnerships with cannabis trade associations, manufacturers, design/construction partners, utilities and others
  • Continuing discussions with public agencies in multiple states about how to set up a system that generates energy consumption data in a standardized, simple manner that protects the confidentiality of growers. We are close to an initial data transfer from one state.

Early learning’s from Cultivation Classic and Emerald Cup partnerships
We are honored to be entering our second year of affiliation with Oregon’s Cultivation Classic competition, which requires PowerScore contributions as part of the application process. We most recently supported the Emerald Cup Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award.

I’d like to thank all the amazing farmers who have trialed – and provided invaluable feedback on – early versions of our data collection efforts. In particular, a huge shout-out to Jeremy Plumb of Pruf Cultivar in Portland and Jesse Dodd of Biovortex in Humboldt for enabling these partnerships and for their leadership on our Technical Advisory Committee.

Relevant to all forms of cultivation
Our user testing among cultivators growing in multiple environments has enabled the PowerScore to provide relevant rankings for all types of cultivation – outdoor, indoor, greenhouse, hybrid. As a result, the tool:

  • Asks questions about where artificial light is used, if any
  • Looks at HVAC only where it is used, be that in veg, flowering, drying/curing or elsewhere
  • Considers how to disentangle unrelated electricity usage reflected on utility bills (e.g., residential, multiple tenants in a shared space)

Laying the groundwork for Cannabis CarbonScore and Cannabis WaterScore
Looking ahead to the near future, the Cannabis PowerScore tool will form the basis of our upcoming Cannabis CarbonScore (which will count renewable sources, impacts of generator and heavy vehicle use, etc.) and Cannabis WaterScore (which will account for sources, usage and release). Keep an eye out for the evolution of our accounting frameworks for resource efficiency!

Feedback welcome!
We welcome any and all feedback on the tool. Our objective is to constantly update it so that it becomes broadly useful to all supporters of a resource efficient cannabis industry. Together, we can create the future we all want to see. Thank you for your collaboration!

Very best regards,
Derek Smith
Executive Director
Resource Innovation Institute

p.s. Thank you to our initial (and upcoming) raffle prize contributors. We appreciate the support of leading organizations like Fluence, Calyx King, Phylos Bioscience and soon others. If you’re interested in offering a raffle prize, please send me an e-mail at Derek@ResourceInnovation.org.