They’ve already saved enough energy to light the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center for 1782 consecutive nights. But you wouldn’t guess that from the outside of the Deschutes Growery facility. Nothing about the unassuming building, set back in a cluster of warehouses off a road in Bend, would indicate the intricate network of sustainably grown cannabis plants housed inside.
Maximizing space to save energy
“We like to call it a vertical grow. But when people hear that they think we’re vertically integrated,” says owner Justin with a smile, before opening the door to room number one.
Room number one is spotlessly clean and brightly lit. It looks the high-tech file room of an accounting firm. These shelves, though, don’t hold financial records, they hold tiny weed plants. The lights are on, but you can’t feel them; there’s no balmy heat radiating about the space. Deschutes uses a system of LED lights to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Traditional farms and indoor gardens grow using raised beds with potted plants in rows underneath a suspended lighting system. Deschutes switches this paradigm up by stacking beds on top of each other. They’ve maximized their space to produce the highest quality cannabis while using the least amount of environmental resources.
Because of the efficiency of these lights and the detail that went into laying out the individual growing rooms, DG has significantly reduced their carbon footprint. And the way they utilize space means they’re on a production cycle with harvests every ten days. So they’re putting out a huge amount of cannabis but using only a fraction of the energy that other grows might use.
“Pacific Power is going to incentivize us because we’ve saved so much energy. “ Deschutes has already offset 20 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent to driving over 43,000 miles in a car.
This is rare in cannabis, an industry often plagued by its excesses. Regulations make it difficult for businesses to focus on sustainable practices, but the folks behind Deschutes Growery are committed to innovating with the Earth in mind. They’re developing new processes that could change the way we grow indoor cannabis.
Building a sustainable model
Deschutes Growery aims to do something more than produce high quality marijuana. They’re working to disrupt some of the wasteful practices associated with cannabis cultivation so that our children won’t have to solve so many problems themselves.
“What we really do is try to lead the industry by showing a sustainable model and building a family. DG really is a big family of people with one common goal,” Travis says with his phone app in hand, showing all the energy they’ve saved.
The folks at Deschutes aren’t trying to keep their secrets under wraps. They’re eager to share their sustainable practices with other cultivators looking to lessen their impact on the Earth. Another sentence here.
“What’s the purpose of just growing a bunch of weed?” co-owner Justin adds.
Happy looking plants
The grow at Deschutes really is unique. All the plants are short, fat, and happy-looking. Strains are placed in beds based largely on nutritional needs, which means you might have several different varieties flowering next to each other. They incorporate integrated pest management (IPM), a nontoxic method of using beneficial insects to reduce the presence of harmful ones.
“Sometimes we just get one bud off a stem,” says Justin, “but it’s a really good bud.”
Deschutes almost never uses clones, preferring to grow all their plants directly from seed. This gives them total control over genetics, and has allowed them to cultivate unique strains of cannabis.
The future in the balance
As much as it depends upon legalization, the future of the cannabis industry will be decided by its ability to mitigate its negative impact on the environment. For the cannabis industry to succeed, it must consider its effect on future generations. And, as more and more states allow for the growing and processing of cannabis, the drain on our power and water systems will increase exponentially. Deschutes Growery has a solution, and they lead by example to produce high quality cannabis in a sustainable way.