Energy savings potential of automation in cultivation

13-09-2021    10:26   |    Greenhouse Grower

The Resource Innovation Institute (RII), in collaboration with Evergreen Consulting Group, CLEAResult, and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), is hosting a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 16. Titled “Optimizing Controls & Automation In Cannabis Cultivation Environments: Best practices on maximizing energy and water savings, and harmonizing efficiency incentive programs,” the event is part of RII’s ongoing Harvesting Savings series, which explores emerging technologies in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Registration for the event is available here.

Optimizing control of environmental control systems for crop steering can reduce energy and operating costs while increasing yields per square foot. Control system upgrades can pay for themselves by freeing up growers to scout for pests and diseases that may have gone unnoticed, which can prevent crop loss and increase facility productivity.

Growing operations can prioritize using automation in cannabis to increase precision for fine-tuned production operations, conserve resources, and reduce demand during peak periods. Controls hardware and software designers and manufacturers have solutions purpose-built for cannabis cultivation that have gained the lessons learned from diverse commercial and industrial applications. Sensing equipment is now more specialized for horticultural facilities, lower cost, more widely available, and more durable than ever before. Environmental control systems gather and monitor data from sensors and report on grow room conditions and system operation so HVAC, lighting, and irrigation systems can maintain target environmental conditions like light intensity, room temperature, and watering rate, and these systems record data efficiency programs can use to claim savings.

The potential savings from lighting and HVAC controls are not well understood by efficiency programs and incentives for high-performance automation approaches are often being calculated using custom assessments of energy savings. Cultivators also struggle to understand how different environmental controls approaches affect their ability to provide consistent conditions and save energy in their growing environments.

Utilities and energy efficiency programs can benefit from understanding traditional and efficient approaches to lighting and HVAC controls to quantify the energy benefits using consistent approaches. Learn how to standardize approaches to harvesting savings to support a greater number of customers and claim more defensible savings.

Participants will learn about:

  • Key concepts
  • Market barriers
  • Technical standards
  • Utility approaches

Source and Photo Courtesy of Greenhouse Grower

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