Read the full story from the New Buildings Institute.
With the rapid growth of new indoor agriculture facilities growing vegetables, cannabis and other plants, the increased demand for energy and carbon intensive lighting and dehumidification for plant growth has skyrocketed. Lighting can consume between 50-70% of an indoor grow facility’s energy. HVAC and dehumidification accounts for most of the rest. For cities and states trying to meet climate action targets to reduce emissions, the data tells us that unless states can incentivize the growth of crops outdoors or in greenhouses it is necessary to enact standardized requirements for indoor horticultural facilities as soon as possible.
The current development of the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is the best near-term opportunity to capture these savings in future growing facilities. Last month, the first of two proposals submitted by NBI in October 2021 was approved by the commercial consensus committee, and will be included in the first draft of the new energy code to be released for public comment this summer. The committee-approved proposal (CEPI-185) addresses lighting efficiency with the second proposal (CEPI-84) targeting dehumidification efficiency to be considered in the coming weeks. Taken together, these requirements could drastically reduce the energy and carbon footprint of these facilities. According to one study, if all horticultural lighting today was converted to LED technology, they would achieve a lighting energy savings of 34% and save $350 million annually.