Reports

Best Practices for CEA Operations.

We offer guidance for cultivators and their project teams to achieve profitable operations.

Our reports are peer-reviewed by governments, utilities, engineers, architects, and equipment manufacturers.

Best practices for cannabis HVAC and lighting systems do not have to be a mystery. Operating in the constantly evolving cultivation industry, it is hard to know who to trust. The horticultural market changes quickly, technology advances, and so do the technical terms describing everything. Navigating the purchasing process when planning a facility? Facing challenges when evaluating minimum performance requirements for equipment?

We are here to help. As a non-profit organization, RII establishes industry standards and facilitates best practices that drive resource efficiency. Our peer reviewed Best Practices Guides are a way of helping everyone understand high-performance technologies and how to use them to boost your bottom line.

Also check out our Independent Studies, Curated by RII.

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Controlled Environment Agriculture Market Characterization Report: Supply Chains, Energy Sources and Uses, and Barriers to Efficiency

The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service engaged the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Resource Innovation Institute (RII) in April 2021 to initiate the three-year Conservation Innovation Grant project entitled Data-driven market transformation for efficient, sustainable controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The first objective in the project is to characterize the market to inform the development of a strategy to transform the market toward efficient cultivation practices and thus enhance the competitiveness of farmers while advancing energy savings, carbon emissions reductions and more resilient communities.

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Best Practices Guide: Automation & Controls For Cannabis Cultivation: & Controlled Environment Agriculture Operations

Manually operating lighting, HVAC, and watering equipment can be intuitive, but designing, installing, commissioning, and operating automation and control systems for cultivation applications efficiently and effectively requires specialized expertise. The Automation & Controls Best Practices Guide is intended to serve producers and their partners seeking to optimize controlled environments for cultivating cannabis, including architects, engineers, hardware manufacturers, suppliers, systems integrators, data aggregators, controls contractors, commissioning agents, and utility and efficiency program energy engineers.

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Cannabis Energy & Environment Policy Primer

The purpose of the Cannabis Energy & Environment Policy Primer: For Federal, State, and Local Policy Makers and Regulators is to provide objective guidance and assistance to jurisdictions contemplating cannabis regulation and policies related to energy and environmental issues. The Policy Primer was guided by RII’s Policy Working Group, comprised of government, industry, and policy representatives with firsthand experience on the issues, and was peer-reviewed by leading researchers and equity advocates. RII is available to provide free briefings to government officials.

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Program Design & Market Engagement Primer for Energy Efficiency Utilities & Program Implementers Serving Cannabis Cultivators

The Utility Primer promotes utility energy efficiency program design and implementation best practices related to the cultivation of cannabis in both greenhouses and warehouses. It includes utility program planning information, including how to coordinate between utilities and governments, program design details, including measure identification and savings methodologies, program implementation guidelines, including market engagement, and an overview of North American cannabis and CEA utility programs, including incentive structures and contact information.

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Cannabis H2O: Water Use & Sustainability in Cultivation

Cannabis H2O: Water Use & Sustainability, a collaboration between Resource Innovation Institute, New Frontier Data and Berkeley Cannabis Research Center, is the first large-scale assessment of water use in the legal regulated cannabis market, based on analysis of aggregate data from RII’s Cannabis PowerScore benchmarking platform. Cannabis H2O: Water Use & Sustainability establishes water efficiency and productivity benchmarks by cultivation method, evaluates the flows of water within cultivation operations (from sourcing to filtration to storage to application to recirculation to discharge) and provides recommendations for policy makers and industry leaders. Guided by the Water Working Group of RII’s Technical Advisory Council, and peer-reviewed by leading cultivation operators, technology suppliers, and government agencies.

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LED Lighting for Cannabis Cultivation & Controlled Environment Agriculture Best Practices Guide

Demand for a variety of lighting solutions and cost compression in cannabis markets have also produced new attitudes about LED lighting, as growers consider operational energy and resource efficiency to become a cut above the rest. In some regions, standards and regulations for energy performance have emerged, and cultivators everywhere can benefit from understanding how LED lighting can be a tool for their facility’s compliance and operational success.

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Energy Efficiency for Massachusetts Marijuana Cultivators

This guide supports Commonwealth cultivators and their businesses with objective recommendations on operating an energy-efficient cultivation facility and helps them make informed decisions that consider upfront costs, operating costs, available incentives, and greenhouse gas emissions impacts. The guide is assembled by the non-profit organization Resource Innovation Institute, funded by the Massachusetts Dept. of Energy Resources, and peer-reviewed by Massachusetts-based practitioners with experience designing, constructing, and operating cannabis cultivation and other horticultural facilities with energy efficiency in mind.

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Key Lighting Terms

Learn key terms related to horticultural lighting, their units of measurement and how they are used, why the terms are important to cultivators, and how the terms may be commonly misunderstood or misapplied.

The key terms address the topical areas listed below:

  • Cultivation
  • Energy & Power
  • Horticultural Lighting
  • Cultivation Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
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HVAC for Cannabis Cultivation & Controlled Environment Agriculture Best Practices Guide

Growers can now choose between a greater quantity and variety of sophisticated heating, cooling, ventilation and dehumidification options which are much more customizable, durable, and suitable for horticultural facilities than the options designed for human occupancy spaces sitting on the shelf at the box store. These systems are also better able to maintain optimal conditions for cultivation facilities, which is crucial for successful crops and achieving expected yields.

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The Cannabis Energy Report

The initial collaboration between Resource Innovation Institute and New Frontier Data, The Cannabis Energy Report is the first large-scale assessment of energy use in the legal regulated cannabis market, based on utility bill data from RII’s Cannabis PowerScore benchmarking platform. The Cannabis Energy Report looks at the aggregate annual electricity usage profiles of 81 cultivation facilities, with analytical insights about energy use intensity, grid-related carbon emissions and the impacts of geographies and technologies on resource consumption. Published in 2018, in collaboration with Scale Migrogrid Solutions.

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Cultivating Cannabis with LED Lighting
A PRIMER: What You Need To Know

Learn about how LED lighting systems can reduce operating expenditures and how utility incentives can offset the higher first costs of efficient technology. Read the story of how growers can achieve more productive operations while avoiding common pitfalls.

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Key HVAC Terms

Learn key terms related to heating, cooling, air conditioning, and dehumidification in cultivation facilities, their units of measurement and how they are used, why the terms are important to consider as a cultivator, and how the terms may be commonly misunderstood or misapplied.

The key terms address the topical areas listed below:

  • Cultivation
  • Energy & Power
  • Environmental Conditions
  • General HVAC
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Construction
  • Cultivation Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
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How Efficient Are Your Grow Environments?
Get an instant performance benchmark with the Cannabis PowerScore

Measure operation efficiency of cultivation facilities to understand how cannabis HVAC and LED lighting best practices pay off.

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Members of RII receive complementary copies of our published Best Practices guides. Consider joining as a member to get the most value out of Resource Innovation Institute. Connect with industry stakeholders on the best practices for resource efficient cannabis cultivation today!