LED technology courts pot growers

KING 5's Alison Morrow reports.

SEATTLE -- Seattle currently has 17 marijuana grow operations. There are 107 more waiting for approval. If all of them start using Seattle's power grid to light up their plants, it would add more than 100-million kilowatt hours of demand.

That's equal to powering 12,288 single family homes or four buildings the size of the Columbia Center.

It's budding new ideas among growers, now turning to LED.

"You could target the kind of light the plant wants," said David Bajorins.

Bajorins is director of operations for CSA Seattle. They test LED technology and recently expanded as business grows. Part of that growth is horticulture.

New LED options offer specific light for specific plant results.

"For kale for instance, you could stress kale with different types of lighting and get different nutritional value out of the kale," Bajorins said.

Cannabis plants need water and nutrients, but light makes up 70% of what it takes to grow them.

"You're trying to recreate sunlight," CPC founder Jeremy Kaufman said.

Kaufman is transitioning to LED. At his Seattle location, the old bulbs still hang, but he's switched a third of his other grows to LED.

For years, LEDs weren't intense enough for cannabis plants. That's changed with new options.

Now, grows like Trail Blazin' in Bellingham are 100% LED. They use custom spectrums of light to obtain maximum results.

"Your appropriate ratio in lights will give you the most 'oompf' for your product once it reaches the consumer's hand," Kaufman said.

LED cut Trail Blazin' Productions electricity bill in half. Not just because the lights use less power, but because they generate less heat. That means less power to cool down the grow rooms.

"We all live on the same planet and we're all stuck with the same amount of limited resources," Kaufman said.

That's why Kaufman plans to keep switching his grow lights to LED. Once every grower with an application is lit up, they'll account for 1% of Seattle's total power grid.


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