Building successful indoor cannabis cultivation facilities requires a lot more than a flower pot and a sun lamp. Successful commercial facilities for indoor growing of cannabis for Canada’s booming legal cannabis market requires planning for regulatory requirements and judicious choices in building materials. The difference between success and failure sometimes depends on choices in construction.
What do small growers need for growing cannabis in cold climates?
Not many cannabis growers in Canada will depend on outdoor cultivation. There are too many security issues, too many pest and fungus control issues, and it’s just too cold. But small growers of cannabis in Canada can use some imagination to make the most of their permitted 200 square meters of growing space.
Grow up, not out.
Health Canada regulations permit 200 square meters of canopy space per licensed grower at a single location. That can be 200 square meters of ceiling materials over a grow space 2 meters high, or it could be mean 200 square meters of canopy over a growing space 10 meters high. What will growers do if Health Canada raises production limits (currently 600 kg per year) but keeps limits on growing space the same?
An obvious solution is to build with modular materials. Insulated steel panels are the obvious choice in building materials for modular construction. Growers can frame out new buildings with future expansion in mind, making allowances for adding height to the grow room by stacking plants and grow lights later.
Don’t put all of your plants in one grow room.
Everybody knows the old saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” The same principle applies to micro growers of cannabis in Canada. Health Canada demands monitoring of temperature and humidity at all times, and explanations for deviations in climate control. if a grower’s entire crop is in one room, there is a risk of losing the entire crop over a fluctuation in climate control — not because plants die, but because regulators reject the crop over an issue of climate control. Construction with insulated steel panels in interior walls can help growers isolate their climate control problems and make sure their marijuana is certified for sale. Additionally, the sealed spaces help prevent airborne cross-contamination and seeds from wandering from crop to crop and spoiling the batches by creating accidental hybrids.
Similarly, even the most conscientious and experienced growers of marijuana indoors will occasionally have a problem with a fungus or a pest. It is better to have fungus and pest problems with half of your crop, or a quarter of your crop, than with your entire crop. Production will have to be quarantined in the other parts of your facility, too, but only part of your income will be at stake, not all of it.
Plan for efficient operation.
Under the new regulations for micro growers of cannabis, in Canada, quality is key. Growers don’t want to risk contamination of drying crops with fungi and insects that might inadvertently appear on seedlings. Growers don’t want plants to fail to flower just because someone flipped on the lights in the grow room to do some paperwork. And growers pumping CO2 into grow rooms don’t want it leaking out just because people need to go through the grow room all day.
Health Canada does not suggest that micro growers have a logical layout for the flow of work through their facility. Health Canada will not grant a license for production without it. But steel panels are ideal for the modular construction that can make it possible for growers to meet the unexpected demands of regulators for a different flow of work. They can make the difference between a few weeks’ delays and starting all over.
Insulated steel panels increase energy efficiency. They can be washed down so contaminants do not spread. Insulated steel panels take up little floor space. The growing facility can be slightly smaller while the growing area is the same. And they give growers the flexibility they need to take advantage of every favorable change in regulation and the booming market for cannabis in Canada.