Due to recent legalization across the U.S., the cannabis industry is on the rise. In an effort to mimic outdoor conditions, cannabis cultivation can be very energy intensive. While most growers can seamlessly operate a thermostat, effectively scheduling and optimizing HVAC systems can be a challenge. HVAC plays a pivotal role in the success of the product by maintaining temperature and humidity levels. While there is no one size fits all approach, enhancing HVAC systems can result in reduced energy and operating costs.
The environmental elements of the cannabis cultivation industry directly impact HVAC performance. Plants transpire at different rates throughout their grow cycle meaning the humidity levels in the space can vary drastically. When cannabis is in late flowering, the grow room experiences its peak transpiration rate and requires a more intense dehumidification process. According to Cannabis Business Times, a 3,500-foot flowering canopy could transpire 500 gallons of water per day. Those same plants in the early flowering stage would transpire just 100 gallons per day.
Due to the unique needs of the grow room, automation is key. Automated control systems respond to the changing needs in temperature, ventilation, and humidity. By establishing an optimal schedule based on the grow cycle and time of day, HVAC systems can remain efficient while providing increased yields, plant uniformity, and a reduction in plant losses. Another major step in maintaining the environmental conditions of the grow room is right sizing the HVAC equipment. This entails calculating the heating and cooling loads needed to accommodate the space while maintaining optimal temperature and humidity levels.
Sizing your HVAC unit to the facility’s peak load will allow it to operate effectively for the space without utilizing extra energy. Make sure to take lighting into consideration as well. Grow rooms with high intensity discharge (HID) or high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights produce extra heat and create more work for your HVAC. According to Cannabis Business Times, cultivation spaces with HID light fixtures, require HVAC systems up to 50 percent larger than rooms with LEDs.
Before the design phase, ensure that your team determines the correct set-points for operation as well as creates clear goals for energy performance. For more information on how to achieve HVAC efficiency for cannabis cultivation, contact us at 312-265-3971 or firstname.lastname@example.org.