As a grower in a booming industry, you've likely explored avenues to increase sustainability in your grow. Cannabis production is an energy-intensive industry – and with the ever-growing demand for this plant, it's crucial to find ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Not only that, but improving sustainability directly correlates to lowering your cost of production and increasing your profits.
There's a slight caveat to improving sustainability in your grow, however; legal limitations on the industry make it difficult to implement widespread changes. Launch timelines, loan rates, and investment dollars are all influenced by the existing legal landscape.
In that case, how can you improve sustainability in your grow? Let's dive into three easy ways.
1. Invest in Aeroponics
When looking at ways to cut down on resource use in your grow, the medium is a great place to start. For instance, is your crop outdoors and soil-based? Do you use a hydroponics system indoors?
Aeroponics is a grow method that doesn't require a medium. Instead, plants are suspended in the air and fed with a mist of nutrients. This method requires less water than hydroponics, as well as less energy to heat the environment.
Here's how it works:
The cannabis plants are sprouted and plotted into evenly-spaced chambers within an enclosed environment.
These chambers are suspended in the air, usually with a metal frame; the cannabis roots hang down in the open air.
A nutrient solution of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus (among others) is then pumped into the enclosed environment, forming a mist that coats the plant roots.
The nutrient solution is either recycled or drained away to be replaced with fresh nutrients; no soil is used.
Aeroponics can also be combined with LED lighting technology to maximize output while reducing electricity usage.
Since just one cannabis plant swallows over six gallons of water each and every day, finding a more water-savvy method like aeroponics can make a big difference in the sustainability of your grow.
2. Make the Switch to LED Lights
LED lights are often used in aeroponic systems, but they can also be a great choice for your traditional hydroponics or soil-based operation.
LED lighting is significantly more energy-efficient than other types of grow lights like fluorescent or HID lamps. They use less electricity and provide the same amount of lighting; this means you'll pay lower electricity bills and reduce your environmental impact while keeping the same result in your grow room.
LEDs are also incredibly efficient in terms of light output – so you can reduce the amount of electricity used per watt and still get more out of your system.
3. Invest in Data Analysis
Have you heard of crop steering? Essentially, it's the process of using data to optimize your grow and increase efficiency by dialing in your grow week by week. By collecting temperature, humidity, CO2, and EC readings from all areas throughout your growing environment, you can make tiny adjustments to light and nutrient levels throughout the grow cycle to maximize yield.
Crop steering can be done manually, but the process is much easier with automated software that collects and analyzes data from sensors on the plant level in your grow environment.
Automation allows you to make real-time adjustments while reducing labor costs. Data analysis will also provide insights into the environmental factors that affect your plants health – like monitoring dry-backs, identifying temperature fluctuations or CO2 spikes, or even predicting problems before they occur to give you greater piece of mind that your plants are protected.
Optimize your grow with Gro iQ
Your harvest is only as good as your data – and investing in data collection and analysis will help you get the most out of your grow. So, where should you start?
Here at Gro iQ, we've developed a data-driven platform that helps you optimize your grow and increase efficiency. Our software collects data from plant level sensors distributed at a high-density throughout your growing environment, providing real-time insights into environmental conditions. With Gro iQ, you can make adjustments on the fly to ensure maximum yields with minimal resource use.
Get in touch today to start optimizing and improving the sustainability of your cultivation facility.