The city reduces the industry’s carbon footprint through regulations that require local cannabis businesses to track, report and offset 100% of their electricity use. But it’s not just about regulation. Many of Boulder’s cannabis cultivators are sustainability leaders.

Helping the cannabis industry be more green

Industrial cultivation often relies on a complex and energy-intensive system – requiring enough electricity to comprise 2% of Boulder’s total energy use and 1.3% of Colorado’s annual emissions.

Grow lighting and the heating and cooling of indoor grow facilities drive up energy use. This energy demand is greater in states like Colorado that have variable climates and require more electricity to heat or cool air.

While this is a budding challenge in many communities, the City of Boulder, Boulder County and local growers have been at the forefront of reducing the environmental impact of this important industry.

The city and county reduce the industry’s carbon footprint through regulations that require local cannabis cultivation businesses to track, report and offset 100% of their electricity use. Businesses can complete the offset requirement by installing solar on-site, subscribing to a verified local solar garden or purchasing offsets through the city’s Energy Impact Offset Fund (EIOF).

Information for Licensed Cannabis Cultivators

If you own a licensed medical and/or recreational cannabis cultivation facility, you must comply with the energy requirements in city ordinances.

How to Comply

The goal of this fund is to create a revenue source to implement projects and programs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions that support the City’s Climate Action Plan Goals.

When developing policies, programs and partnerships, the city considers a comprehensive range of impacts and implements trade-offs that will help balance the needs and wants of the community. By requiring this fairly young, locally regulated industry to reduce its impact on the climate, the city is balancing all the competing values and interests. Having the fund as an option for offsets increases local renewable energy and keeps revenue local.

All City of Boulder licensed cannabis cultivation facilities are required to offset 100% of their electricity use per an approved offset option. The city allows three options in which a licensed facility can offset their electricity use by opting into one or a combination of the following;

After you’ve submitted your license application to the City’s Licensing Team, contact Climate Initiatives Department staff to ensure you are registered with them for energy reporting and choosing your offset option. Complete this electricity offset form and once you submit it, it will be emailed to the climate staff.

The city used EIOF revenues to support projects that lower the environmental impact of the cannabis cultivation industry and to help provide more affordable energy options for the community’s households with low incomes.

The City of Boulder’s cannabis licensing requirements state that a licensed cultivation facility must report monthly energy use and then offset 100% of its electricity use. Licensed cultivation facilities that opt into the fund will pay their offset cost bi-annually and will be invoiced for the kilowatt (kWhs) hours used for the time designated. The city will provide benefits back to the cannabis cultivation industry by investing in projects that offset their electricity use, which will in turn lower the fees that licensed facilities must pay.