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Boulder-based Vera aims to take high energy use out of marijuana cultivation equation

Eric Haughton is chief production at Vera Cultivation, which boasts a first-of-its-kind facility that drastically reduces the amount of energy consumed in growing cannabis.

Cliff Grassmick, Daily Camera

Eric Haughton is chief production at Vera Cultivation, which boasts a first-of-its-kind facility that drastically reduces the amount of energy consumed in growing cannabis.

Alex Park and his two partners wanted to grow cannabis commercially without using an excessive amount of energy, a problem that has plagued indoor marijuana cultivation.

The young entrepreneurs, who have been friends since their days at the University of Colorado, found a solution by designing a facility that allows plants to be drenched with sunlight while remaining submerged in hydroponic canisters located within a warehouse. The 22,000-square-foot facility includes growing areas of different sizes, and space for storage and processing.

“It’s the first of its kind of facility. It gets the best of the indoor and outdoor environments,” said second business partner Harrison Somoza, who serves as chief operating officer of Vera Cultivation, which started growing cannabis in August.

The hybrid design allows growers to control the temperature, humidity and light marijuana plants need as they blossom to maturity. The plants need at least 12 hours of intense light, Somoza said. The facility, located in an unincorporated part of Boulder County, also is sealed more tightly than a traditional greenhouse, reducing the potential for pests and diseases, he said. The facility also has high-pressure sodium bulbs as a source of supplemental light.