New report sheds light on energy use in Boulder County cannabis cultivation facilities

Reducing the environmental impact of the cannabis industry is the goal 

Boulder County, Colorado logo

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County’s Cannabis Energy Impact Offset Fund (EIOF) sponsored an energy assessment of cannabis cultivation facilities in unincorporated Boulder County between July 2019 and February 2020. The report, compiled by Energy & Resources Solutions (ERS), assessed energy usage, utility consumption data, and productivity.  

With this data, the report was able to offer recommendations to increase cost savings, lower carbon footprints, and maximize production yields in these cannabis cultivation facilities. Notably, the report also developed energy intensity and productivity metrics for future county benchmarking and industry comparison requirements. 

Boulder County requires commercial cannabis cultivators to either offset their electricity use with local renewable energy or pay a surcharge for non-renewable energy usage. The fees from this surcharge are placed into the Boulder County Energy Impact Offset Fund which supports the implementation of sustainable energy practices and funds carbon pollution reducing projects. 

“We are proud to collaborate with local cannabis cultivators to reduce environmental impacts,” said Susie Strife, Director of Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience. “Through the Energy Impact Offset Fund we are able to fund meaningful studies, like this ERS report, to develop best practices that help both the planet and local business.” 

Here are five key findings of the report: 

  • While indoor facilities are more electrically intense due to 100% reliance on artificial lighting, greenhouses are more fuel intense due to poor envelope performance inherent with greenhouses.  
  • The greenhouses in the study use approximately 30% less combined electrical and fuel energy per square foot of flowering canopy than the indoor facilities.  
  • Greenhouse productivity is approximately 15% better than the indoor facilities in terms of grams of dry usable product per MMBtu of site energy, which includes all fuels. 
  • When considering grams of product produced per pound of CO2 equivalent emissions, greenhouse facilities are nearly 70% more productive.  
  • Horticultural lighting accounts for 69% of total annual energy use in the indoor facilities and 32% of total annual energy use in the greenhouse facilities.  

“As the cannabis industry matures and nationwide market competition increases, it will be imperative for Boulder County cannabis cultivators to make data driven decisions that lead to energy savings while maintaining or increasing their productivity levels,” said Dave Hatchimonji, Energy Efficiency Program Manager at Boulder County. “This ERS report should give these organizations a foot up on their peers, while addressing Boulder County’s need to lower the carbon emissions for this energy intensive industry.” 

To further address this need to lower carbon emissions in the cannabis industry, Boulder County is working with the Cannabis Conservancy to launch a Cannabis Carbon Conscious certification program on June 11, 2020. This certification program is an industry leading energy certification program designed to be practical and cost-effective. To learn more, contact Jacob Policzer, director of the Cannabis Conservancy at [email protected] . 

To read the full summary of the ERS report visit:

For more information about Boulder County’s sustainability mission and to learn about other programs, visit or contact Christian Herrmann at [email protected].



Grand Valley Power Awarded Edgar F. Chesnutt Award for Best Total Communications Program by NRECA

"Energy Your Way" Campaign Introducing Enhanced Metering to Members Receives Highest Honor Bestowed through the Spotlight on Excellence Awards program

Grand Valley Power logo

May 14. 2020 - NRECA announced the winner of the Edgar F. Chesnutt award for the Best Total Communication program - Grand Valley Power! 

Considered the Vince Lombardi Trophy of the electric cooperative communications world, this is  the highest honor bestowed through the Spotlight on Excellence Awards program. Christmas Wharton, Communications Manager at Grand Valley Power and Rocky Mountain Utility Exchange Utility Advisory Committee Member first learned about the award back in 2017 and has been striving toward winning it for Grand Valley Power ever since. The Mesa County, Colorado cooperative takes a collaborative approach to communications by sharing, mentoring, and leaning on one another to get through tough times. 

Christmas says "I have no doubt there were many cooperatives that had empowering messages to members, communities and employees. We are so grateful to be listed among our talented peers and humbled by the recognition! Thank you so much to the judges and NRECA."  The multimedia "Energy Your Way" campaign promotes meter upgrades and addresses public misperceptions that two-way communication meters cause fires, compromise privacy or harm health by emitting high radio frequencies

The Chesnutt award is named for Edgar F. Chesnutt, who was manager of corporate communications at Arkansas Electric Cooperative for more than a quarter-century. It is the highest honor bestowed through the Spotlight on Excellence Awards program. The award is presented to the co-op whose entry receives the highest score from three judges from nationally accredited universities and communication and marketing professionals in the private sector.

See the video detailing a bit more about the project is here:

Read the full NRECA Announcement at



CLEAResult Launches Virtual Assessment and Assurance Service, Protecting Public Health While Helping Consumers Manage Their Energy Costs

Innovative Streem technology allows utilities to provide energy assessments for customers while maintaining social distancing requirements due to COVID-19

CLEAResultCLEAResult is the first to bring a fully-featured Virtual Assessment and Assurance offering to market.The offering goes beyond a simple video call with an energy advisor. Virtual Assessment and Assurance is a live, augmented reality remote-support platform with built-in tools that enable professional energy assessments and post-assessment quality checks to be conducted from a distance. Read the full article HERE.

About CLEAResult

CLEAResult is the largest provider of energy efficiency and demand response solutions in North America. Through proven demand side management strategies tailored to clients’ unique needs, CLEAResult combines the strength of our energy experts and innovative technology to help over 250 utilities change the way people use energy. CLEAResult is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has over 2,500 employees in more than 60 cities across the U.S. and Canada. CLEAResult is a portfolio company of the private equity firm TPG and The Rise Fund, a global impact fund led by TPG. For more information, visit


Power Plant of the Future is Right in Your Home

If we want more renewable energy, our grids will have to manage themselves. A small experiment in Colorado is lighting the way.

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Wired magazine — April 7, 2020 — 

KATELA MORAN ESCOBAR has always dreamed of being a homeowner, but she never imagined her first house would double as an energy experiment. Last July, Escobar and her family moved into Basalt Vista, a new affordable housing project in the small town of Basalt, Colorado, just north of Aspen. The development is a bulwark against the skyrocketing housing prices in Roaring Fork Valley, but it’s also a living laboratory to test advanced power grid technologies that could turn every home into an appendage of a decentralized power plant.

Basalt Vista is designed to be an all-electric community that produces as much power as it uses. Each home comes outfitted with an electric vehicle charger in the garage, a large battery pack in the basement, and a roof covered with solar panels. The homes are linked together as a microgrid, a self-contained electricity distribution network that can operate independently of the regional electric grid. Their energy systems work together to balance the energy load across the neighborhood—the solar panels harvest energy, plugged in EVs can store electricity as needed, and large battery packs can supply power when the sun isn’t shining.

But what makes Basalt Vista’s microgrid unique is that it autonomously allocates power. There’s an internet-connected control box in the basement of each home running experimental software that continuously optimizes electricity distribution across the microgrid and the flow of energy to and from the larger regional grid. When one home produces more energy than it needs, it can autonomously make the decision to redistribute it to its neighbors or store it for later. “We don’t have to deal with any of the machinery,” says Escobar. “The house works all by itself.”.....

[Read the Entire Article at]

About HCE

Founded in 1939, Holy Cross Energy is a non-profit rural electric cooperative that provides safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and services that improve the quality of life for more than 43,000 members and their communities in Western Colorado. We are committed to leading the responsible transition to a clean energy future. For more information on HCE and our future objectives, please visit


Rich Philip Named Executive Director of PLMA

Rich Philip will become PLMA’s Executive Director on May 1, 2020. Rich, who was PLMA Chair from 2015 to 2017, will retire from Duke Energy to accept this full-time PLMA position. In addition, Judy Knight will become PLMA’s Chief Development Officer on April 1, 2020. Formerly Director of Communications at the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), Judy has also held various senior roles in the nonprofit sector, including marketing, business development, and member engagement. Ed Thomas continues as Operations Director, and Tiger Adolf as Member Services Director.  
Learn more HERE.

About PLMA

PLMA (Peak Load Management Alliance) seeks to advance practical applications of dynamic load management and distributed energy resources by providing a forum where members educate each other and explore innovative approaches to program delivery, pricing constructs, and technology adoption.

For two decades, PLMA conferences, educational programs and networking opportunities have brought member organizations together to develop, implement and share proven practices in a peer-to-peer network – offering load management leadership for the energy industry.

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