Photo courtesy of PharmaCann

When developing an environmental plan, regulations serve as a mandate, but also create an opportunity to be a good steward and promote sustainability. Ensuring state and local requirements are not only met, but exceeded is a team effort, from building and design, to procurement, engineering, production and quality control. Here are 3 tips to better align your operation with current regulations and future mandates.

1. Work with utilities to maximize savings.

Usage rates for key resources like electricity are often mandated. In Illinois’ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, for example, the Conditional Adult Use Requirements dictate “a commitment to a technology standard for resource efficiency” and that “a cannabis cultivation facility commits to use resources efficiently, including energy and water.” (See 410 ILCS 705/20-15(a)(23).)

When making the decision to retrofit and integrate new technologies, consider sustainability, environmental impact and efficiencies. By working closely with your energy provider, you can identify opportunities for rebates on high-efficiency systems, which can help cut costs.

As an example, PharmaCann’s Illinois cultivation facility implemented light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. This decreased energy usage from 2.2 amps to 1.5 amps per fixture, with a 30% reduction in kilowatt usage and energy lost to heat. Bulb life is expected to increase from just over one year with standard fixtures to 5 years (as under warranty) with LED lighting. This change conserved resources and provided energy cost savings.

2. Recycle and reuse water.

Water application and filtration are key components of the environmental plan created in compliance with regulations. By using dehumidification to remove moisture from the room, turning condensate back into water, and returning it to a holding tank, you can recover more than 90% of the water transpired by plants. This will allow you to both reduce the amount of water you are using from your main water source (municipal, well, pond, etc.) and closely manage water usage.

3. Responsibly manage waste.

Uncompromising adherence to waste management requirements and the inclusion of recycling programs are the cornerstone of any environmental plan. This includes ensuring partners you are working with on disposal are applying sustainable recycling and waste management practices.

While regulations vary from state to state for cultivation facilities, what many have in common is the promotion of responsible environmental stewardship, conservation and sustainability for the cannabis industry. Use these tips to make sure that you remain on the cutting edge of sustainable and responsible cultivation.

Mike Manietta is the operations manager at the PharmaCann cultivation facility in Dwight, Ill., and has more than 30 years of manufacturing experience.