Marijuana Growing Consumes 1% of Nation's Energy

More

There's nothing green about growing the green stuff in your house--that's the upshot of a surprising, even mind-boggling (but lamely titled) new study on the carbon footprint of marijuana-growing operations by a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Evan Mills, who conducted the study in his spare time, and even so may get a stern talking to from his supervisors tomorrow, found that indoor growing operations use lighting as intense as hospital operating rooms, ventilation more powerful than that in a biotech laboratory, and power intensity equal to a data center. In other words, pot farmers are huge energy hogs who are obviously destroying the planet. How much energy?

The analysis performed in this study finds that indoor Cannabis production results in energy expenditures of $5 billion each year, with electricity use equivalent to that of 2 million average U.S. homes. This corresponds to 1% of national electricity consumption or 2% of that in households. The yearly greenhouse-gas pollution (carbon dioxide, CO) from the electricity plus associated transportation fuels equals that of 3 million cars. Energy costs constitute a quarter of wholesale value.

Wow. That's a lot of energy. Kind of makes Cheech and Chong look like the Koch Brothers, doesn't it? Maybe they should stop growing that stuff. Or, you know, grow it outdoors.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

'Stop Telling Women to Smile'

An artist's campaign to end sexual harassment on the streets of NYC.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

Just In