26 Jul Cannabis Grow Room Vs. Extraction Room – Design Considerations
Your grow room and your extraction room might as well be in different buildings, for all intents and purposes.
They have different processes, different equipment, and different air. So, they each have very specific design considerations during the planning stages.
Here are just a few of the things you need to take into account for each room.
Grow Room Design Considerations
Simply put, this is building a box that grows plants inside. So, the design considerations for a grow room are things like:
· How many plants are you going to have in the room?
· What about irrigation?
· How much water are you going to be bringing into the room?
We have to take lighting into consideration. There’s a lot of wattage in lighting. You’re generally using 1,000-watt HPS light per sixteen square feet of canopy space. In some rooms, we’re up to 40, 50, 60,000 watts of heat that we have to get rid of.
We also have to take into account how many plants you are going to have in the room at any given stage of grow. That determines how large your system has to be to deal with the extra water that gets put into the air.
Water and Irrigation
Each plant transpires 98% or 95% of the water that it is given within an 18-hour period. Generally, when these rooms are in full flower, each plant is getting about two liters of water per day and there could be upwards of 1,000 plants in one room. So, that’s just under 2,000 liters of water that is going into the air over a 24-hour period.
You have to find a way of dehumidifying that, and that’s a huge consideration when you’re designing a grow room.
Air Handling and Filtration
HEPA filtration in both rooms is obviously a must. In the case of the grow room, you need charcoal or activated carbon on the returns and exhausts to mitigate any smell during flower.
We would suggest Nora flooring, simply because of the durability of it and the longevity of it. With other flooring systems, you generally have to resurface them every two or three years, depending on traffic.
There’s a lot of traffic in a grow room. You’re moving tables back and forth, and making new aisles all the time with the tables. You’re going to get some wear down on certain areas of the room. You don’t get that rapid wear down on rubber flooring, whereas you would on epoxy flooring.
The Most Common Mistake People Make With Grow Rooms
We’ve seen people not sizing the HVAC appropriately for the number of plants in the room. That is a very, very common mistake.
They often undersized it. Normally, they’ll size the HVAC system to deal with the lights, and the people, and the machinery in the room.
When the cannabis industry first started coming online and the first few LPs got built, a lot of people were not used to this scale. They had an old mentality and they started saying, “Oh, my gosh, we’ve got 50,000 watts of light in here and we’ve got to remove the heat.”
They didn’t think about the plants.
When you’re in a smaller grow, you’ve got a 10×10 or 20×20 grow in a basement somewhere. You could put a couple hundred plants in there. Big deal. If you need more dehumidification, you run over to the Home Depot and you buy another one, right?
But, now they are scaling up to this size, and they got thousands of plants in the room, they say, “Oh, it’s getting awful wet in here.”
They need an industrial solution at that point.
Extraction Room Design Considerations
The extraction rooms are far different. They don’t have any live, viable plants in them. They have basically humans and machinery.
The machinery design considerations for those rooms are:
· What machinery are you putting into the room?
· What solvents are you using?
Usually, on a commercial level, they use solvents for extraction, meaning ethanol, alcohol, or CO2.
If they have those in the room, the room has to be built in such a way as to mitigate any explosion that might happen. It has to have what’s called blowout walls. It has to be a different division and class of a room than any of the other rooms around it.
Air Handling and Filtration
The HVAC design considerations are different than in a grow room. You’re not sizing for a lot of dehumidification.
You’re sizing for a lot of heat removal, because those extraction machines generally will have pumps and heaters. They will have coils and all sorts of things that are putting heat into the room. We have to take all that into account when designing the HVAC.
In the extraction facilities, we normally break out into a separate room, where they do what’s called milling and de-carbing. You’re bringing in the already cut, dried, tiered flower, grinding it up, and then putting it in an oven and activating the THC.
Those rooms are incredibly stinky. They over-engineer this because the airflow in HVAC has more airflow going through those rooms than the others, and they’re getting scrubbed and going directly to exhaust.
You have to ensure that the site has enough power to support the amount of grow rooms and/or extractions rooms that are required for the project. Both styles of rooms use quite a bit of power.
The flooring I would put into an extraction room would again be Nora rubber flooring, where the solvents and things that fall on it won’t break it, or scratch it, or dissolve it.
The Most Common Mistake People Make With Extraction Rooms
This would be people doing grinding and de-carbing in the same room with the extraction machine. The smell would be overpowering!
The smell was a big problem at the beginning of the industry. A lot of people had a hard time dealing with the smell.
They weren’t in an environment that had a properly designed HVAC system that would mitigate those odors with carbon filtration or an activated charcoal filtration system.
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