4 Mechanical System Design Tips from Surna

Special Advertising Section - 2018 Tips Issue | Tips from Surna

December 3, 2018

Photo courtesy of Surna

When designing a cultivation facility, there are hundreds of decisions to be made—and all of them have a direct impact on your bottom line. Every decision is important, but most cultivators agree that decisions related to your mechanical system (HVAC) rank at or near the top of the list. Mechanical systems have an enormous impact on initial costs when building the facility and have a significant impact on recurring monthly expenses. Nothing will have a bigger impact on your crops’ health and quality than the quality of your facility’s environment. With more than 700 cultivation projects completed and over a decade in the business, Surna has an enormous amount of experience in cultivation facility design, and it is sharing the benefit of that experience with these four tips.

1. Select An Experienced Partner

With an impact on so many parts of your business, the mechanical system you select might be the single most crucial decision you make. Ideally, the company you select for your mechanical system is a true partner—one who has been down this path before and helps facilitate the decision-making process by clearly presenting all options. They should stick with you through the entire process—from concept to final design, based on your regulatory codes and grow operation, to installation and start up. Designing systems for cultivation facilities is a difficult process that requires a specialized skill set. Without being directly involved in the design and implementation of multiple cultivation projects, a grower won’t have that skill set.

2. Focus On The Long Term

With energy bills in the top 3 recurring monthly expenses for most cultivation companies, your mechanical system’s energy efficiency is going to have a substantial impact on your cultivation costs. When designing your facility, your mechanical partner should be able to take your budget and consult with you to design the most energy-efficient system that can fit within that budget, so you know that you’re going to be paying the lowest monthly bill you can afford. The initial infrastructure for your mechanical system can be affordable, but it’s not the place to take shortcuts.

3. Consistency Is Key

The consistency of your environment will have a direct impact on the consistency and quality of your harvest. It’s important that the mechanical design for your cultivation facility can meet reasonably tight tolerances and maintain those tolerances. This (along with tight control of other variables, like lighting and nutrients) will ensure that you get consistent harvests every time. Outside stressors such as temperature, humidity, nutrients, lighting intensity, CO2 density, etc., are what drive harvest results. Predictable yields mean predictable cash flow, and consistent metrics (like THC and CBD content or oil extract volume) mean a consistent customer experience.

4. Data Is Vital

Collect and record all the data you can, whether through a BAS system or by hand. Temperature, humidity, light levels, CO2 levels, growth metrics throughout the plant’s life cycle, energy use and environmental anomalies should all be captured. Periodic reviews of your data can help you identify negative or positive trends before they become obvious and can help you isolate variables to perfect your process. You might learn that you don’t have to replace lamps as frequently as you thought, or that a slightly higher temperature resulted in better yields for a specific strain. Data collection ensures the ability to repeat success and gives you the tools to understand your business.

For more information, visit surna.com