Cannabis Sustainability Symposium Cannabis Sustainability Symposium
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The Challenges and Opportunities of Energy Codes

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Thao Chau
California Energy Commission, Electrical Engineer

I am an electrical engineer in the Efficiency division’s Building Standards Office. I have been involved with the development of the energy code for the past three code cycles including work with compliance software and energy standards development. As a subject matter expert on lighting, I am currently leading for the Controlled Environment Horticulture measure for the 2022 Energy Code update, focusing on the energy efficiency of indoor agricultural buildings. I hold a M.S. in both electrical engineering and mathematics.

Jen Amann
ACEEE, Buildings Program Director
Derek Smith
Resource Innovation Institute, Executive Director

In my career, I’ve focused on trying to find solutions to significant challenges facing society – from sustainability to equity to resilience. My interest is in solving public problems through market-based means. Building demand, developing functional finance approaches, strengthening supply, achieving scale through public-private partnerships. I am particularly passionate about overcoming climate change and economic injustice.

At Resource Innovation Institute, I am building a non-profit organization to address the massive resource use of the cannabis marketplace, the fastest growing industry in North America. We are capturing energy consumption data from a variety of production facility types through our Cannabis PowerScore tool to help indoor, outdoor and greenhouse farmers learn how to operate most efficiently, and to assist governments and utilities in establishing policies and incentives to drive efficiency.

Previously, I have held leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Until 2015, I served as CEO of Clean Energy Works, a public-private partnership initiated by the City of Portland and US Dept. of Energy to create equitable jobs and reduce carbon emissions by creating a market for residential energy efficiency retrofits. I led the organization from a fully subsidized operation to an independent viable enterprise.


California is proposing to begin eliminating HPS from indoor cultivation environments as of Jan. 2023. But who exactly would the law apply to? How can cultivators take advantage? What can cannabis learn from other mature, energy-intensive industries?