GreenSeal Cannabis Co. incorporates experimentation into every aspect of its indoor cultivation operation.
Establishing best practices through research and development permeates the entire operation, from testing the perfect pot size to looking at the optimal way to deliver nutrients, says Phil Niles, GreenSeal’s executive vice president of strategic planning. Niles says cannabis growers have to perfect their own cultivation environments through trials to achieve the highest quality product.
So when Quebec-based Université Laval and Digital Electricity™ and horticultural solution provider VoltServer approached GreenSeal about a light intensity study three years ago, it was a perfect fit.
“Obviously with the cannabis plant, lights are your substitute for the sun,” Niles says. “It deserves the fullest attention when you're trying to replace such an important part of a plant’s lifecycle.”
GreenSeal incorporated VoltServer’s Digital Electricity™ technology into the grow. Using equipment outside of the cultivation space, it converts conventional electricity into smaller “packets,” which are sent through receivers inside the grow rooms to deliver power to equipment, such as VoltServer’s lights.
Digital Electricity™ is inherently safe, and it is delivered via low-voltage cables. This gives growers more control over how electricity is delivered, says Chris Murray, a master electrician with 15 years of experience and facility manager at GreenSeal.
“The environment that we work in, at the density that we work in, to take on the responsibility of delivering that much power into such a small space becomes an obvious safety concern,” Murray says. “VoltServer’s technology helped to alleviate those concerns.”
With so much experimentation happening, it’s important for GreenSeal to be able to shift techniques on the fly, and VoltServer’s technology gives them that flexibility. GreenSeal also grows vertically, up to six tiers in newer flower rooms, so lighting installation and maintenance can be time-consuming and challenging.
“The ability to eliminate the standard conduit of electrical distribution infrastructure and replace that with a simple cable basketing and multi-conductor cables, [allows us to be] much quicker to market,” Murray says. “Not having all these rigid conduits and high-voltage power in there … we’re able to do a semi-permanent installation with VoltServer that can change at a moment’s notice.”
Because the transmitters used to power lights are outside of the cultivation rooms, GreenSeal has been able to save on HVAC energy costs, as they don’t need as much power to cool the room, Niles says.
VoltServer’s technology comes with software to control electrical distribution and therefore lighting intensity and dimming with strain-by-strain, tier-by-tier precision over 60-day periods, says Chad Morphy, co-founder of GreenSeal. The light intensity study, published in the March/April 2020 issue of Agronomy Journal, helped GreenSeal dial in some of these parameters.
“We were able to match the intensity level that we required to maximize things like cannabinoid level, terpene level and yield,” says Morphy, who has been growing for 20 years. “And then we were able to compare that with the VoltServer software, in order to give us the tools we needed to develop a customized [lighting] program.”
GreenSeal considers VoltServer partners in innovation, and VoltServer has jumped on calls as early as 3 a.m. to help work through issues, Murray says.
Niles says without the flexibility and adaptability VoltServer allows, optimizing lighting in cultivation may not have been possible.
“Anyone else who is looking to utilize VoltServer’s technology, I think that's something they can come to expect that ultimately, their business gets better because they've partnered with VoltServer.”