Recreational cannabis use is now legal in 11 states (an additional 23 states allow cannabis only for medicinal purposes). The U.S. cannabis industry, which exceeded $9 billion in sales in 2017, is predicted to approach $50 billion over the next decade. In Canada, where medical marijuana was legalized nationwide in 2001 and for recreational use in 2018, sales are expected to exceed $5 billion a year within five years. This growth has led to an ever-increasing number of large-scale cannabis growers. They face many unique air filtration challenges to maintain their indoor grow rooms.
Indoor Grow Rooms
Most cannabis is grown indoors where climate can be carefully controlled—the crop grows best between 70˚F and 75˚F and with relative humidity between 50%-60%. In addition to strict temperature control, indoor grow room operators also need to pay close attention to air quality. This wasn’t always the case, but as the National Air Filtration Association reports, “Slowly, over the last five years, cannabis growers are realizing that indoor air quality provides as much value as any other technique in the growing process. Growers understand there are a large number of contaminants that can damage and wipe out an entire crop, thus learning about proper indoor air quality is quickly gaining prominence.” An efficient, hardworking and long-lasting HVAC system is necessary for both temperature and air quality control, but the cost of maintaining those units can be expensive, cleaning them can be laborious, and malfunctions can impact productivity.
Another HVAC-related concern in maintaining indoor grow rooms is the cost of energy. One expert estimates that a typical grow operation uses up to 20X more energy per square foot as the typical office building. In Denver, one of the first cities to legalize marijuana, nearly 4% of the city’s power is used to grow marijuana. Dirty HVAC coils leads to HVAC inefficiency and dramatically higher energy costs: an EPA study showed that as little as 0.042″ of dirt on condensing coils can cause a 21% drop in efficiency, and can increase refrigeration energy use by 35%.
The Aurora Sun
Aurora Cannabis is one of the largest cultivators in Canada, making dried cannabis and cannabis oil, CanniMed® vegan capsules and various hemp products. In their most recent quarterly report, they reported 29,034 kilos of cannabis production from their indoor grow rooms, leading to $98.9 million Canadian dollars in sales. To keep pace with continued and continually expanding demand, they are in the process of building a new 1.6 million sq. ft. facility in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The facility, referred to as the “Aurora Sun facility” will have production capacity in excess of 230,000 kilograms of high-quality cannabis a year. To maintain proper temperature for its cannabis, Aurora Sun requires over 50 – 350-500 ton Trane chillers integrated with free cooling coils to reduce energy use, environmental impact and operating expenses. Maintaining clean fins and coils can be a Herculean task, which is why Aurora Cannabis has teamed with Permatron: we are providing PreVent air intake screens (and HailStop® Hail Guard Netting) to protect their equipment.
PreVent Air Intake Screens
Aurora Sun and other massive cannabis indoor grow rooms are usually located in rural areas and surrounded by nature. Their chillers and HVAC machines are outside, where they are constantly bombarded by inclement and unpredictable weather, insects, leaves, dust, garbage and whatever else is blowing in the wind (cottonwood seeds in particular are a big problem). These blow into air intake openings, block the ventilation, dirty the coils and damage the machines. To keep HVAC systems in good working order, time-consuming and costly cleanings need to be performed frequently— sometimes weekly. That’s where air intake filter screens like PreVent air intake filter screens come in. PreVent air intake filter screens are individually customized to fit over any size air intake opening and secured in place with mount clips that hold HailStop hail guard netting underneath the PreVent intake screens. Additional mount options include our patented MagnaMount® earth magnet fasteners, allowing for quicker installation and removal of PreVent alone. Not that you need to remove the filter screens often: PreVent air intake filter screens can be simply brushed clean, in place.
There’s one more challenge facing operators of indoor grow rooms, too. After all, we can’t discuss cannabis air quality without mentioning its odor …
Due to its strong musky skunk smell, cannabis odor elimination is a problem for indoor grow rooms. Almost all cites and areas have strict regulations regarding cannabis odors. In Denver, for example, the regulation is 1 part cannabis odor per 7 parts filtered air. Fortunately, adding activated carbon filters to a ventilation system is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure the removal of cannabis odor, as carbon can adsorb 1/3 of its own weight in odors. One trusted source of carbon filters comes from our subsidiary company, D-Mark®. Their highly efficient carbon filters are unmatched for quality and are especially effective when used in conjunction with Permatron PreVent air intake filters. As Ronald Richmond of D-Mark, who has 30 years of experience in solving activated carbon applications, explains, “PreVent filters catch the particulate matter from outside air before it enters the ventilation system, and the activated carbon in D-Mark carbon filters catch the odor molecules before it exits back outdoors.”
Save Money, Time and Headaches
PreVent filters are a must for owners of cannabis indoor grow rooms and other facilities where temperature, air quality or odor control are imperative. Fortunately, at Permatron we are experts at meeting the air filtration needs of any company that wants to:
- Ensure air purity by keeping contaminants out of the system
- Lower overall energy consumption
- Increase equipment longevity and decrease repairs
- Reduce the need for frequent intake fin and coil cleaning
Whether you’re managing a cannabis facility, a data base, or an office building, PreVent can help provide a cool, clean indoor environment for the people, products (and crops) inside.