Cannabis Energy Use and Building Energy Codes

The majority of medicinal and recreational marijuana in the United States is grown in controlled indoor agricultural facilities. Cannabis is the plant from which marijuana is derived. To date, 15 states, two territories, and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, and 34 states have legalized medicinal marijuana. Growing cannabis indoors is extremely energy-intensive because it requires cooling, dehumidifying, ventilating, and specialized lighting fixtures that are used constantly throughout a plant's life.

The purpose of this policy brief is to provide insight into: how much energy an indoor cannabis operation uses; some of the challenges of regulating horticulture lighting and other necessary growing equipment from a building codes perspective; how some states are increasing cannabis operations energy efficiency; and recommendations on how states can decrease the energy use of indoor grow facilities using building codes and standards.

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