Best Practices Guides for Indoor Cannabis Cultivators

LED Lighting and HVAC Systems with a focus toward Resource Efficiency

LAS VEGAS (December 10, 2019)—As the cannabis industry matures and operators seek sustainable, cost-effective practices, the Resource Innovation Institute (RII) has released its highly anticipated Best Practices Guides on LED Lighting for Cannabis Cultivation & Controlled Environment Agriculture and HVAC for Cannabis Cultivation & Controlled Environment Agriculture for indoor cannabis cultivators. 

The Guides establish Best Practices for the use of 

Indoor cultivation is known for significant energy consumption stemming from large scale indoor lighting systems, state-of-the-art HVAC systems, and a lack of common best practices for resource efficiency. RII’s Best Practices Guides were developed by its Technical Advisory Council (TAC) and aims to create industry standards with the goal of increasing efficiency throughout the cultivation industry, which will yield environmental benefits and will save resources and money for growers. The Guides are relevant to all cultivation facilities whether indoors, greenhouse or outdoors, and with mothers, clones and nurseries.

“As a circumstance of the fledgling industry, cannabis cultivators are often secretive about their processes and procedures in an effort to maintain a competitive edge, which has resulted in a lack of vetted, peer-reviewed best practices. This has caused the industry as a whole to operate using inefficient resource consumption that is harmful to the environment and must be addressed to maximize long-term sustainability for cannabis cultivators,” said Derek Smith, Executive Director, Resource Innovation Institute. “Resource Innovation Institute has created organic, continuous collaboration across the industry through its Technical Advisory Council in an effort to address this lack of commonly agreed upon best practices. Developing universal standards with a focus on efficient resource consumption is a given in any industry, and a crucial part of ensuring that the cannabis industry’s environmental footprint is kept as small as possible, while enabling cultivators to collectively thrive.”

The guides were produced by two working groups within RII’s TAC, which is made up of leading experts in energy conservation and includes executives from more than 20 companies and organizations specializing in lighting, HVAC and cannabis industries. Members were carefully selected based on depth of knowledge, proven track record in energy conservation, and level of influence in the industry.

Best Practices on LED Lighting for Cannabis Cultivation & Controlled Environment Agriculture: The LED marketplace has expanded dramatically over the last several years and cultivators who specialize in agricultural practices find themselves overwhelmed by the dozens of high-tech lighting options now available. As a result, many are unaware of the reduced cost, improved quality, and wide variety of available products that are tailored to each cultivation’s specific technical needs. The Lighting Guide helps a cultivator develop expertise on:

  • Speaking the language of horticultural lighting
  • Reviewing manufacturer’s documentation to evaluate purchasing options
  • Understanding crucial considerations when selecting LED lighting
  • Installing and operating successful LED lighting solutions in alignment with any given business model

Best Practices on HVAC for Cannabis Cultivation & Controlled Environment Agriculture: The best approach to selecting, installing and using an HVAC system is to begin planning during the construction phase of a cultivation facility. Just like a house, indoor cultivations are most effective when built around an HVAC system to create optimal temperature control and consistent airflow throughout the desired premises. Unlike a home, effective usage of large scale HVAC systems requires technical knowledge and the ability to precisely control your building’s environment. The guide covers:

  • Energy & Power
  • Environmental Conditions
  • General HVAC
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Construction
  • Cultivation Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


Beyond working on future Best Practices Guides that will cover other resource areas, the TAC provides ongoing assistance with developing the data-aggregation cultivation survey tool, Cannabis PowerScore, which aims to give growers a reliable source to compare their own practices with their peers. RII created Cannabis PowerScore to enable cultivators to compare themselves to others in the industry and identify ways to improve their own operation’s efficiency. 

The RII Best Practices Guides can be downloaded at URLTK.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Shawna McGregor at shawna@themaverickpr.com or 917-971-7852. 

Resource Innovation Institute: Advancing Resource Efficiency to Create a Better Cannabis Future 

Resource Innovation Institute (RII) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance resource efficiency to create a better agricultural future. Founded in 2016 in Portland, OR, USA, RII’s Board of Directors includes the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a former Energy Policy Advisor to two Oregon governors, a former board member of the US Green Building Council and leading cannabis industry players. The organization has unique expertise on data, policy and education related to energy use in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Its Cannabis PowerScore benchmarking tool is backed by the world’s largest dataset on CEA energy use. RII’s Technical Advisory Council is the leading multi-disciplinary body assessing the environmental impacts and best practices associated with cultivation resource issues. In 2018, RII advised the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the establishment of the world’s first cannabis energy regulations, and it is now advising other governments on CEA-related energy policies. RII’s Efficient Yields cultivation workshops are the only grower-led, non-commercial venues for the exchange of resource efficient cultivation best practices. RII is funded by utilities, foundations, governments and leading members of the supply chain serving CEA, from LED manufacturers to HVAC engineers. Visit our website at ResourceInnovation.org. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.