Agriculture & Cultivation

Cannabis Facility Design | Commercial Greenhouse Structures

August 28, 2017 / By 3C Team

Cannabis facility design is an important aspect of commercial marijuana cultivation. Along with the various types of commercial greenhouse structures, there are various factors which can affect the quality and price of your cannabis crop. Indoor cultivation originally arose out of the illegal status of cannabis plants. Needing to be stealthy, equipment and techniques were developed to allow growers to produce marijuana behind closed doors.

With the advancement of indoor cultivation technologies it became possible to establish larger operations with more grow lights. Along with the increase in size of commercial greenhouse structures came a greater demand for electricity to run the lights and the undesired byproduct of excess heat.

Cannabis Facility Design Best Practices

Proper cannabis facility design includes using a variety of equipment to control heat produced by the grow lights. Helping to mitigate the heat in commercial grow rooms are air-cooled hoods, ventilation and circulation fans as well as air conditioning units. These devices increase the electricity demands of indoor cultivation facilities which, in turn, makes growing cannabis indoors more expensive than growing outdoors. 

As legal cannabis markets grow to maturity, such as in Colorado, the wholesale price will drop as a function of supply and demand. As the price of cannabis drops, commercial cultivation businesses will be under even more pressure to maximize their margins to compete.

Cannabis Facility Design | Commercial Greenhouse

In addition to the higher cost of production for cannabis grown indoors versus outdoors, increased electricity can have an added environmental cost as well. Unfortunately for mother nature, indoor cannabis production is one of the most energy intensive operations per square foot of just about any industry.

A scientific study by Evan Mills in 2011 showed that legalized indoor marijuana-growing operations account for an astonishing 1% of total electricity consumption in the US. To put this in perspective, indoor marijuana cultivation produces 15m tons of CO2 (which scientists universally agree is a major cause of global warming). By comparison, “indoor marijuana cultivation consumes enough electricity to power 2 million average-sized U.S. homes.” Mills compares an average indoor marijuana growing facility to “the electric power intensity of a data center.” With approximately two thirds of the nation’s energy grid powered by fossil fuels the equivalent of 1 Ton of coal is burned to grow a single pound of indoor cannabis. There is, however, an alternative to the environmental impact of growing cannabis indoors. These solutions can benefit the environment as well as your bottom line.

Hybrid Commercial Greenhouse Structures   

By looking to the existing commercial agriculture industry we discover hybrid commercial greenhouse structures that provide a more environmentally and financially sustainable cannabis facility design.

Greenhouses take advantage of our most abundant and free lighting resource, the sun. Indoor climate control systems allow for environmental regulation in any climate at any time of year, while still using fewer resources than strictly indoor cultivators exhaust. To demonstrate the advantage in terms of cooling costs hybridized greenhouses cost $1 per square foot on average versus $10 a square foot in an indoor warehouse.

Hybridized greenhouses reduce the environmental impact of the cannabis produced while decreasing the cost of production. Keep in mind that in order to function properly hybridized greenhouses and their life support systems need to be designed for your specific climate. If commercial greenhouse structures are not your speciality, do yourself and your investors a favor and seek advice from a cannabis facility design consultant. Over the long term, the design of your marijuana cultivation facility will make or break your bottom line.

Are you planning to design a commercial greenhouse for your grow operation?

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