Resource consumption of outdoor cultivation environments is driven by water usage, which has its own impact on energy usage. Additionally, starting plants in protected environments has associated energy impacts. Learn best practices for lighting and environmental controls for hardy starts before bringing plants to the field. Understand how to maximize productivity while minimizing water and energy consumption.
Topical areas include:
Best Practices for Hardy Starts
Cannabis Water Benchmarks for California
Resource Benchmarking for Water Efficiency and Productivity
Operations & Facility Staff
Design & Construction Partners
Utility & Government Representatives
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Gretchen is a professional engineer who has spent the past five years optimizing controlled environment agriculture operations for resource efficiency and productivity. Schimelpfenig earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Sustainable Design & Construction with a concentration in energy from Stanford University. Her diverse professional experience includes time spent commissioning commercial buildings, designing utility energy efficiency programs, and helping businesses like the University of Vermont and the City of Burlington benchmark their resource consumption. She specializes in analyzing the operation of building systems for cultivation facilities and helps the members of RII’s Utility Working Group reach cultivators with their financial incentives and technical assistance.
As Technical & Operations Director of RII, Gretchen manages the PowerScore resource benchmarking platform, facilitates RII’s Technical Advisory Council Working Groups and creates curriculum and training to educate producers, efficiency programs, and design and construction communities. She works with members and subject matter experts to publish best practices guidance for production of plants in controlled environments, develops and delivers curriculum, and supports PowerScore users with resource benchmarking analysis and reporting compliance. Schimelpfenig writes for industry publications and is a columnist for GIE Media and Meister Media and publishes in Greenhouse Grower, Greenhouse Management, Cannabis Business Times, and the Cultivation Classroom column for Cannabis Science & Technology. Gretchen grows vine crops and herbs in her veggie garden, greenhouse, and basement in her Vermont farmhouse and is constantly using her HVAC and lighting knowledge to optimize her grow environments.
She works directly with the DesignLights Consortium to increase the adoption of third-party certification of horticultural building systems. Gretchen also represents RII on several industry committees developing standards for CEA including the ASABE PAFS-30 (Plant Systems Group), ES-300 (Electrical Utilization & Energy Group), and ES-310 (Agricultural Lighting Group), ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.2 (Plant and Animal Environments), ASTM Committee D37 on Cannabis, IES Horticultural Lighting Subcommittee, and Task Group 1 of the UL 3600 Scorecard for Measuring and Reporting Circular Economy Aspects of Products, Sites and Organizations.
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