Growing cannabis indoors produces a lot of greenhouse gases 3/9/21
The Conversation: Growing cannabis indoors produces a lot of greenhouse gases:
The big idea
Indoor cannabis production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the environmental effects vary significantly depending on where it is being grown, according to our new study.
The lights used to grow weed indoors use a lot of electricity, but facilities require a lot of energy to maintain a comfortable environment for the plants. That means air conditioners or heaters to maintain proper temperatures. Producers also pump carbon dioxide inside to increase plant growth. This accounts for 11% to 25% of facilities’ greenhouse gas emissions.
But the biggest energy use comes from the need to constantly bring fresh air into growing facilities. All of this outside air needs to be treated so that it is the correct temperature and humidity. This is a very energy-intensive process since the air exchange rate is typically so high.
All of these inputs contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, a lot more in some regions than others.
Using Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and industry data, we found that growing pot indoors leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions in the Mountain West, Midwest, Alaska and Hawaii than compared to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.