Emerging Opportunities: Controlled Environment Agriculture

Topic Brief


This is the sixth in a series of technical briefs exploring emerging opportunities for energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. This brief looks at indoor agriculture, also known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA). In CEA, a range of high-value crops including lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, microgreens, berries, and cannabis are grown in greenhouses, warehouses, and other enclosed structures. Production requires significant energy inputs for lighting, HVAC, and dehumidification. New technologies and tools have been developed to increase efficiency in these facilities, including customized lighting and space conditioning equipment, an energy-efficient horticultural lighting specification, and benchmarking tools. We explore these developments, present savings data, highlight efficiency program efforts, and present policy options for more efficient and cost-effective CEA facilities.