Sustainability is one of the four tenets of Hifi Farms—a Clean Green Certified™ cannabis cultivation company in Hillsboro. Priding itself on producing high-quality, pure cannabis while lessening its impact on the environment, Hifi builds its own organic soil, removes impurities from its water, uses organic fertilizers, and controls pests and mold with organic plant oils and the use of beneficial predatory insects. It’s no surprise that Hifi went for efficient, economical LED technology when selecting lighting for its new grow room.
“We like to do things right the first time and saw no reason to use old lighting technologies that are rapidly becoming dinosaurs in this industry,” said Richard Vinal, chief operating officer and one of the founders of Hifi farms. “The quality of LEDs has gone up markedly in the past few years and we’re no longer concerned about yield. We’ve flowered under LEDs before, and the quality is higher than with high-pressure sodium or metal halide lighting.”
The 150 LED grow lights installed in the 1,000-square-foot grow room are half the wattage of high pressure sodium lights and are expected to trim an estimated $12,000 from Hifi’s annual electricity costs. With a $19,860 cash incentive from Energy Trust, Hifi expects its investment to pay for itself in less than three years. “The Energy Trust process was smooth and painless,” said Vinal. “It was a great experience. Usually when I’m asking for money from someone, I expect it to be painful.”
Hifi expects to reap additional savings beyond lighting energy. “Grow room lights are on 18 to 24 hours a day during the vegetative cycle and 12 hours a day during flowering,” said Vinal. “Unlike incandescent lights, which must be replaced every grow cycle, the LEDs should last a minimum of five years. That’s a huge labor savings for us.” Because LEDs produce minimal heat, Hifi also expects to save on air conditioning—one of the largest expenses in cannabis growing.
The new lighting adds a modern industrial aesthetic to the grow room, which is located in a dairy barn built in 1940. The massive barn is one of the last of its kind to be constructed in the U.S. before most barn builders went to build ships for World War II and it was important to Hifi Farm to preserve the historic space.
Hifi plans to make additional energy-efficiency improvements to its operation. As Vinal puts it, “We believe in doing things sustainably and ethically. How you spend your money is an indication of your beliefs.”