Growing pot is hardly green; is it time for LEED for weed?

With recreational marijuana production and sales now legal in Colorado and two other states, utilities and energy efficiency experts are waking up to the challenge posed by an industry with a massive appetite for power that runs on 1980s technology.

Cultivating cannabis takes energy. Lots of energy.

A 2011 peer-reviewed study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that on a per-square-foot basis, it takes 356 percent more energy to run a cannabis operation than it takes to operate a hospital ( Read the report here).

Nationally, cannabis operations consume one percent of the nation's electricity or $6 billion a year and account for 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That's the equivalent of putting 3 million passenger cars on the road.

The industry's outlaw history is the problem. With few new innovations and little attention to becoming efficient, the typical cannabis operation is a cluster of cross-competing activities....

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