Portland, OR – Four veterans of Oregon’s nationally known sustainable development, technology, clean energy and public policy segments have formed the Resource Innovation Institute (RII) to build a platform for energy issues and collaboration in the cannabis industry, according to RII Executive Director Derek Smith.
The NGO is in the process of developing a market-driven certification standard to propel adoption of energy-efficient grow techniques.
“RII’s objective is to transform the indoor cannabis industry by embedding technologically progressive and operationally effective energy efficiency practices into its indoor growing facilities,” Smith said. “We’re cultivating an intentionally diverse membership base that includes stakeholders from utilities to growers, technology and service providers to property developers, which will spur rapid market transformation in this emerging industry and provide a collaborative platform to ensure a thriving and resource efficient future.”
Founders (and board members) include executive director Derek Smith, former founder and director of Clean Energy Works; Margi Hoffman, previously energy policy advisor to Governors Kate Brown and John Kitzhaber; John Morris, CEO of Morris Energy Consulting; and Elizabeth Whalen, a former seven-year board member of the U.S. Green Building Council.
RII recently hosted its inaugural Indoor Agricultural Summit, a half-day conference on innovation, policy and best practices for energy use and conservation, which was hosted by law firm Tonkon Torp and featured presenters such as Oregon State Representative Ken Helm (D-Washington County), Tara Sulzen from Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office, growers from Hifi Farms, Eco Firma Farms and Panacea Family Gardens, technology companies Hybrid Tech, and BIOS Lighting. Northwest utility representatives also shared perspectives on engaging new customers, as well as the benefits of energy efficiency in grow operations.
“Our mission is to provide certification standards, technology reviews and a platform for best practices on resource conservation in the cannabis industry,” Smith said. “Growing cannabis indoors at this time is very energy intensive. Our goal is not only to promote energy efficiency by working with utilities, product manufacturers and growers, but to transform this market into a model of industrial and environmental resiliency.”
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