While a commercial grow room can include indoor farming areas for any plant to be germinated, grown, harvested, and sold, cannabis growing has recently entered the market at a rapid rate.
The last few years have brought us the legalization of cannabis, leading to an increased number of companies with commercial grow rooms. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry has increased its demand as the general population has become more aware of its medicinal qualities.
Currently, 19 U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, with other states most likely following suit in the next few years. 37 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana as well. You can see the demand increasing each year, which is why the number of growers is rising.
Setting up a proper grow room HVAC system is not a quick or easy undertaking, though. The traditional grow room HVAC setups have proven less than sufficient, although they are still installed frequently due to the HVAC technician’s lack of indoor growing knowledge. There are many things to consider, coordinate and keep track of when designing your system. It’s not cheap either. Tens of thousands of dollars will need to be invested in this project.
There are many different ways to approach your grow room HVAC setup. Various technologies are offered to get you to your desired grow room environmental conditions. What is best, though? What equipment is worth buying, and is a particular manufacturer better than the others? What will be best all-around for your grow room business?
A grow room HVAC system design is complicated because it addresses many different aspects and requirements. Room temperature, humidity, lights, and airflow all contribute to a successful indoor grow business operation.
If you want to be successful, taking the time to plan and consider all your options will be rewarded in the end. For example, many cannabis growers have found that their initial investment can be made up with just a single harvest if it’s done right.
Let’s look at each aspect of grow room HVAC systems and why they are vital to your grow room achievements.
Achieving the most optimal temperature in your grow room will result in the healthiest plant development possible. The right equipment and HVAC system will ensure the required temperatures are reached and held steady. If the desired temperature goes off course for very long, it can result in disaster.
When it comes to indoor farming discussion, cannabis is usually at the forefront. While there is added demand for fresh produce, most of the indoor farming growth is coming from the cannabis market. With cannabis farming, tight control of the environment is essential. The desired temperature for cannabis plant growing is between 72°F and 85°F, and nighttime temps about 10°F lower. Moving out of these specific parameters for long periods of time will affect the plant’s development by weakening the immune system and making it more vulnerable to diseases.
Temperature control is one of the most important aspects of a grow room’s HVAC system but also one of the hardest things to design. While setting a specific temperature isn’t the most complex concept, changing the environment with the plant’s development is a whole other thing. Multiple grow rooms can also be a challenge on the temperature side of things. Plants growing at different rates require different things. This is why it can get complicated fast!
Purchasing the biggest and best HVAC system isn’t necessarily the best option for environmental control, like you may think at first. This can result in dramatic temperature swings, which can obviously be detrimental to the plants, but it can also change the humidity in the grow room as well. If your grow room HVAC systems are too small, they will have a hard time keeping up with the temperature demands.
You will find that the biggest challenge you may have with your grow room HVAC system is controlling the relative humidity. As the cannabis plants grow, they produce and release water. This moisture has to be removed from the grow room so that it does not become too humid. The climate control for grow facilities can be challenging for HVAC equipment due to the excess moisture to be removed in large grow spaces, and the large cooling load required.
To make it even more complicated, each plant variety has different humidity requirements as well, and the exact humidity needs to change as the plants grow.
Enter the purpose-built system. If you have the option of building your indoor grow facility from the ground up, a purpose-built system may be right for you. This system contains a climate control system as well as a dehumidification component. By using one compressorized system, cooling and dehumidifying are easily achieved. Expansion is possible and relatively simple because there is just one dehumidification and cooling and heating component. This helps minimize energy waste and cost. Make sure to talk to your HVAC company about how you can incorporate the purpose-built system into your design.
Indoor growers have struggled in the past with finding efficient lighting that effectively encourages the growth process. Some plants can be fussy with their particular needs. Recently LED technology advances have made it easier for farmers to control the growth process.
Newer grow rooms are being set up with complex LED technology systems allowing growers of these facilities to guide plants’ development while saving time, space, and energy. Taking a crash course in lighting may be worth your time so that you have an adequate understanding of what’s involved and required in your particular grow rooms.
Efficient airflow is fundamental to plant growth and development. It has been shown that airflow speed and the angle it hits the plant have a big impact on the transpiration rate or rate at which plants produce and release water, which can change the humidity levels.
Commercial indoor cannabis growing facilities need 100% airflow recirculation to reduce odor, prevent contamination, and purge CO2 effectively. HVAC systems for indoor grow rooms must be designed to treat airflow with bi-polar ionization, UV, or ozone generators as well.
Ventilation in cannabis grow rooms is important for a few reasons. First, it can prevent fungus-related diseases as well as keep the CO2 circulation where it should be. Floor-mounted horizontal fans, as well as oscillating ventilators, have long been the way growers have achieved the required ventilation. But new innovative systems are starting to be more widely seen.
As cannabis grow rooms increase throughout the United States, the need for HVAC technology to innovate and improve will be necessary. For that reason, indoor cultivation continues to evolve and change, adopting more smart technology as an essential part of their HVAC systems will take place. These advanced systems may offer things like adiabatic cooling, heat pipes, desiccant dehumidifiers, water, and air-side economizers. Achieving the most optimal growth and harvest results is the goal while reducing the required energy, labor, and more.
Many growers are investing in UV disinfection systems to reduce molds, fungus, and mildew on their plants as well. All of these smart technology systems allow growers complete control over humidity, temperature, airflow, ventilation, lighting, and possible plant contamination. Quality crop growth rate is easily optimized with the suitable systems in place.
As we’ve discussed, the cannabis industry is multiplying, and because of this, regulations are being put in place, especially when it comes to energy and water use. AirLogix keeps up on these HVAC regulations and requirements, making it easier for you to give your attention where it is needed most.
It’s essential to understand your HVAC requirements and options. Know the costs, equipment limitations, and the pros and cons of each HVAC design. A good vendor will take the time to educate themselves about your operation and goals and educate you about your HVAC options so that you can make the best decision for you and your indoor grow facility.
How AirLogix Can Help Your Commercial Grow Room Thrive
While the demand for climate control technology increases, the HVAC technicians that understand the dynamics required in a thriving grow room are still limited. AirLogix professionals are skilled and educated in the grow room industry. We understand the requirements and can help you design the grow room HVAC system you’ve been waiting for – making your business run more energy-efficient and cost-efficient.
Although the initial investment of time and money can be overwhelming, we can help you design the unique and individualized system you need. HVAC design for your commercial grow rooms have many challenges. Still, it allows us as professionals to rise up with our hard-earned skills and take advantage of new and improved technology and innovations. While a large HVAC installation can take months, you can depend on AirLogix for your grow room HVAC needs from beginning to end.