Currently, it seems that no matter where you look, cannabis growers and cultivators are seeking new and innovative ways to combat the price compression that continues to impact the market. Now more than ever, it requires creative thinking to remain competitive as growers are forced to reduce the cost of producing flowers while maintaining the highest possible quality. As technology improves and offers legitimate competitive advantages, cannabis operations are willing to explore new solutions. Whether it's finding incentives through utilities or updating their infrastructure, growers are working with more partners to develop sustainable practices and utilize renewable resources to improve profitability and benefit the environment.
"Across the industry, many cannabis cultivators are adopting a commercial enterprise approach to their operations and using that lens to uncover ways to invest and operate smarter. Indoor horticulture at a commercial scale is very expensive, especially when you consider the energy requirements for lighting, heating, and integrated HVAC systems. While things like LED lighting, insulation, and air sealing all contribute to lowering costs and have high levels of adoption, one of the new frontiers in optimal cannabis cultivation is 'Smart HVAC' systems," explain Dual Draft and Climate Resources Group.
"Much of the conversation around efficiency is focused on lowering inputs, primarily electricity, and water. However, while improvements to systems like lighting, cooling, and water processing have come a long way, they've plateaued from an efficiency standpoint. Yes, they'll continue to get better, but at a slower rate than we've seen over the last five years."
"Now is the time to look at efficiency from the standpoint of output, which in agriculture can be measured by the yield. This is the weight of the product produced on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Ag-tech that allows us to grow more and grow better, without increasing the cost to do so, is the next level of efficiency," they say.
Sam Milton, founder of Climate Resources Group, works with cannabis growers throughout the US to identify and implement money and energy savings initiatives. He says, "The majority of savings in indoor and greenhouse cultivation has come in the form of reducing inputs to the grow, like switching from HPS to LED lighting sources." However, as Milton notes, "Once these types of solutions have been implemented, then looking for solutions which increase the facilities' output – without increasing operational expenses – is the next step in efficiency."
Once growers optimize the inputs of electricity and water with the most advanced LEDs, smart HVACD systems, and automated irrigation, implementing science-based solutions such as under-canopy airflow becomes critical. "Plant science around improving transpiration is one area of focus that can improve the output of a cultivation facility without increasing operational costs. This is where solutions such as Dual Draft Integrated Airflow come in."
Dual Draft Integrated Airflow provides a comprehensive and highly effective solution for the tricky business of managing airflow within grow facilities, and it's the only fully integrated solution offering under-canopy airflow. "Under-canopy airflow stimulates the plant stomata, which increases the efficiency of transpiration and CO2 uptake of the plant. This process optimizes the growing environment and improves yield, quality, consistency, and plant health."
Specifically designed for the cannabis cultivation industry, Dual Draft puts growers in complete control of the intake and exhaust of air and ensures the constant balance required to create the best conditions. "And the best conditions yield the best, most consistent plants that consumers will seek out by name. That will help insulate growers from further price compression."
"Aside from improving the quality of the plant, Dual Draft's technology also improves the energy efficiency of commercial cannabis cultivation by reducing both energy consumption and operating costs. With less air needing to be heated or cooled, growers are able to achieve a lower energy footprint, which reduces the overall carbon footprint for the entire cannabis industry. It helps growers meet regulatory requirements and combines with product quality to enhance their reputations within the industry," the company says.
The cannabis industry these days is not for the faint of heart. "While the market and players continue to expand, growers are forced to find new ways to address the challenges caused, ironically, by that explosive growth. Cultivators need to tap into new ideas and cutting-edge technology to streamline their operations, and energy efficiency lies at the heart of many growers' efforts. From securing utility-provided energy incentives to making infrastructure improvements to their growing operations, companies are getting more sophisticated as the industry does, too."
For more information:
Climate Resources Group