Though the cannabis industry has contributed to the personal health and well-being of patients, the fact remains that cultivation can leave a serious carbon footprint. In fact, according to a 2011 study, indoor cannabis production (versus purpose-built glasshouse cultivation) consumes 1% of the United States’ total electricity, equivalent to powering 2 million U.S. homes per year. With trends forecasting rapid growth and global expansion, it’s important that we as an industry do better. At Sunniva, we’re here to help pave the way.
Growing for the good of the community
Nature’s secret ingredient
Our team of horticulturists, scientists and engineers have helped set best practices for the industry and improve upon them whenever possible. One such best practice is the belief that sun-grown, solar-powered cultivation is the most sustainable way to grow.
Sunniva’s planned modern, cGMP-compliant glasshouses are expected to be more energy efficient and produce less waste than indoor cultivation. They are also expected to grow better plants. Research has shown that cannabinoid production increases and terpene profiles are improved when plants are exposed to full-spectrum sunlight, leading to more complex and flavorful flowers. Further, new data suggests that contrary to popular belief, sun-grown cannabis produces higher amounts of THC, along with other beneficial compounds.
The energy savings are expected to be just as impressive. An equivalent indoor grow operation would require a lighting array of approximately seven thousand 1000w light bulbs, which would not only drain the energy grid but also be harmful to the environment—indoor grow-light bulbs can contain up to 30mgs of toxic mercury.
Never a drop wasted
Our advanced ultra-efficient hydroponic grow system will use a recycled water system to conserve as much water as possible. The system not only helps maximize plant yield but also will provide thorough root aeration and precise nutrient delivery to our plants. Unlike drain-to-waste systems which rely on great quantities of water and waste precious fertilizer, our planned recirculating hydroponic setup is expected to conserve millions of gallons of water a year, while requiring 15% less fertilizer. This recirculating system will also protect against nitrogen-laden pollutant making its way down the drain.
We understand that proper disposal of our hydroponic waste water is critically important, as improper disposal can over-nourish water bodies and introduce toxic pollutants that are damaging to aquatic life. We’ve found a solution: a neighbourhood dog park, which will be built alongside our property, where our neighbours and their pets can enjoy a lush lawn fed by repurposed hydroponic waste water. This green space will not only provide the community with a space to come together but will also use nature to phytoremediate the nutrient-rich water before it finds its way back to natural water bodies.
“If improved practices applicable to commercial agricultural glasshouses are any indication, the energy use for indoor cannabis production can be reduced dramatically,” said by Evan Mills Ph.D., author of “Up In Smoke: The Carbon Footprint of Indoor Cannabis,” published in the Journal of Energy Policy. “Cost-effective efficiency improvements of 75 percent are conceivable, which would yield energy savings of about $25,000/year for a generic 10-module growing room.”
Keeping it clean
We want what’s best for customers, and this means our products must be as pure and clean for them as our growing practices are for the environment. Our Integrated Pest Management System is expected to ensure that every plant we will grow is certified clean and free of all contaminants and pesticides. Because we will be growing in such a controlled environment, we are able to create an ideal micro-ecosystem to protect crops from attacks by harmful pests and diseases—and introduce beneficial organisms to counterbalance these problems without a need for harmful pesticides.
Automated mobile benches will help to maximize quality yields by lessening the need for plant-human contact and reducing the risk of spreading pathogens. Mold and mildew will be controlled by daily washing of production areas, and sanitization of growing bays will be completed between every harvest, aided by our specially equipped stone floors. The end result will be a pharmaceutical-grade, cGMP-quality medicinal products that will be backed by independent lab tests to ensure its purity, potency, and safety.
Striking the perfect balance
Our uniquely sealed glasshouse design will recirculate air for more efficient climate control, needing less air conditioning and retaining CO2 levels better than traditional growing methods. As an added benefit, the sealed glasshouse will also have a single-exit, carbon-filtered vent, allowing us to neutralize the scent of our garden to the world outside.