The second seminar in the DesignLights Consortium’s (DLC) Horticultural Webinar Wednesdays series will take place on August 26. The webinar will feature a roundtable discussion among cannabis/horticulture regulators and utility energy efficiency (EE) program administrators comparing approaches for constraining energy use and increasing grower participation in EE programs.
“Incentives vs. Regulations – What Do They Mean for Product Selection” will include panelists representing an array of regions and areas of expertise, including: Thao Chau, Electrical Engineer with the California Energy Commission; Lauren Gaikowski, Horticultural and Agricultural Program Energy Advisor with Franklin Energy; Derek Smith, Executive Director of Vermont-based Resource Innovation Institute; and Brendan Place, Clean Energy Engineer with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
The August 26 session will include topics such as energy codes versus regulations, incenting beyond regulations, and key challenges for horticultural lighting market transformation. A 45-minute discussion group, “Can Rebates and Regulations Co-Exist”, will follow. Register for the webinar here.
“The turnout for our first Horticultural Webinar Wednesday in July exceeded expectations and generated an informative discussion on topics ranging from the development of the DLC’s horticultural lighting technical requirements to ideas for improving utility incentives for LED horticultural lighting,” DLC Executive Director and CEO Christina Halfpenny said. “With horticultural lighting accounting for an increasing share of electric load for many utilities across the country, discussions like these are vital to the economic growth and environmental sustainability of the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) sector.”
The DLC’s Horticultural Webinar Wednesdays series tackles the gamut of issues related to horticultural lighting at a time when the sector comprises one of fastest growing electric load categories for many of the DLC’s utility members. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the annual electricity consumption of all indoor US horticultural installations is about 5.9 terawatt hours - approximately equal to the annual usage of more than half a million US households. Consumption is estimated to grow between 15 and 25 percent between 2017 and 2025. A 2019 Strategies Unlimited report forecasted that the LED lighting market for cannabis alone will grow more than 300 percent in the next five years.
On July 29, the DLC presented the first session of the webinar series, titled “Evolution of the DLC Horticultural Lighting Specs and Rebate Program Models that Support Market Adoption.” Panelists included DLC Technical Manager Kasey Holland; John Wilson, Stakeholder Solutions Manager at Lighting Design Lab; Doug Oppedal, Program Manager and Senior Lighting Specialist at Evergreen Consulting Group; and Tad Beeksma, Ag Technical Energy Specialist at Focus on Energy. An “Access to Rebates” discussion group following the webinar yielded suggestions for EE programs such as shorter approval times for custom incentives, prescriptive rebates of at least 30 percent to move the market, and larger and earlier investment in emerging technology. A recording of the full webinar is here.
The final installment of Horticultural Webinar Wednesdays takes place September 23 with “Moving Projects Forward: Leveraging Incentives to Minimize Costs” (register here). Scheduled panelists are Jeannie Leggett Sikora, Energy Engineer with CLEAResult; Brady Nemeth, Utility Rebate Coordinator with Fluence Bioengineering; Bob Gunn, Founder and Chief Executive of Seinergy; and Zartarian Engineering owner Michael Zartarian. Their presentations will cover best practices needed to maximize utility incentives and lower growers’ capital costs. A one-hour discussion group, “Retrofit vs. New Construction”, will follow.
The DLC’s Horticultural Webinar Wednesdays series comes in the midst of an update to the DLC’s Technical Requirements for LED-based Horticultural Lighting. Meant to increase the efficacy threshold for the DLC’s Horticultural Qualified Products List, while continuing the transition to specific data and metrics that best represent horticultural lighting performance, the new policy will be released in final form in September and is expected to take effect in 2021.