3 Experienced Cannabis Cultivators Share Their HVAC Do's and Don'ts

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This article originally appeared in the June 2017 print edition of Cannabis Business Times. To subscribe, click here.

As with most aspects of the commercial cannabis industry, technologies related to heating, ventilation, cooling and dehumidification are undergoing significant change. Cultivators, too, are becoming increasingly savvy as they grow in experience running commercial-scale operations. Cannabis Business Times reached out to a few select growers to get their insights on climate control, lessons learned and advice for other cultivators as well as HVAC-related technology innovations they’re excited to see.

Cody Anderlini, Owner and CEO, Sugarleaf Cannabis. Skagit County, WA.

For Cody Anderlini, owner and CEO of Washington-based Sugarleaf Cannabis, HVAC has come a long way since his biggest concern was finding someone who could install a system without asking too many questions.

“When I first started growing, like many, I used Carrier 5-ton ducted units because they were cheap and the local hydroponic store carried them,” Anderlini recalls. “Now that we are able to treat this like a business, we can prioritize equipment procurement based on real data.”

When reviewing HVAC technologies for his current cultivation facilities, Anderlini’s main considerations were performance, reliability and efficiency. “We needed a system that could handle the ever-changing conditions that our commercial grows produce, without sacrificing power efficiency or noise,” he says. Having the ability to set “day” or lights-on temperatures and “night” or lights-off temperatures was crucial.

 

 

A panoramic view of Sugarleaf’s bloom rooms, where they use a mixture of HPS and LED lighting, custom rolling benches and more.

Courtesy of Sugarleaf Cannabis

Sugarleaf ultimately chose the Daikin VRV commercial systems because of their multi-functionality and the ability to monitor and control remotely from almost any device. The Daikin units also tie into Sugarleaf’s proprietary cannabis cultivation software, allowing the team to write auto-corrects based on outside temperature and moisture readings.

Anderlini urges growers looking at HVAC to be prepared. “Every time we go to design and build a new facility, we are always asked to have a mechanical engineer take a look at the HVAC system. The problem is the engineers have never built anything like this,” he says. Meetings often involve more time spent educating engineers than moving forward productively. Anderlini advises having information such as light specs, fan specs and building R-ratings (measurements of insulation capacity, thermal resistance) ready—and suggests you trust your gut. “If you are not confident and prepared, you can almost count on doubling your equipment cost,” he warns.

To read the full article in Cannabis Business Times’ June edition, click here.

Top photo: Courtesy of Aprilaire

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Source: Cannabis Business Times

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