1_Cannabis_Facility_MEP_Design

Introduction 

As more states continue to decriminalize and legalize cannabis, its use and cultivation are gaining popularity globally day by day. And by 2025, the cannabis industry in the USA alone is expected to increase up to $30 billion. 

Consequently, the number of growers expanding their cannabis growth capabilities in indoor facilities is on the rise as well. On the downside, various variables like humidity, temperature, and lighting can have a significant impact on cannabis production. For that reason, it’s important to good to have an MEP design for a cannabis cultivation facility to ensure a high-quality yield. 

Thankfully, this article has some incredible MEP design tips that will ensure the success of your grow facility. 

MEP elements to consider in MEP design for Cannabis Grow Facility 

When creating an MEP design for cannabis facilities, there are some important aspects you need to consider. Some of these elements are; 

  • Lighting 

Like any other plant, cannabis requires sunlight for photosynthesis. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to have direct sunlight in indoor cultivation. In that case, the best option will be to use proper fixtures to create the most efficient lighting for the plants. 

Initially, the wavelength of LED light wasn’t suitable for growing plants. However, with technological advancements in LED grow lights, broad-spectrum LEDs for these spaces are currently available. Besides, LEDs have a longer lifespan and are more energy-efficient. On the same note, they generate less heat compared to other light sources like High-Intensity Discharger and fluorescent lamps. 

Energy-efficient lighting results in less power consumption, thus helping to reduce the utility operating costs. Even better, the initial costs of these lighting systems are lower since they involve smaller branch circuit wire sizes. 

  • Indoor air quality for a cultivation facility 

Grow rooms with poor ventilation and low air quality can cause contamination or hinder the growth of cannabis plants. Adequate air circulation is required in these facilities to prevent these issues from happening. Also, proper ventilation will spread the heat in the grow facility to neutralize it and maintain the temperatures at a sustainable level. 

Regarding the issue of contamination, air exchange is an essential factor, yet it’s often overlooked. Thankfully, an MEP engineering professional will consider all these factors during the HVAC design for the cannabis cultivation facility. Moreover, the engineer will choose the best HVAC design for the cannabis to grow facility. Interestingly, this will also help to prevent mold/ mildew growth and control the humidity in the cultivation facility. 

  • Temperature and air circulation 

Cannabis plants can tolerate both low and high temperatures. However, when these plants are subjected to severe temperatures for a long time, they tend to wither. That’s why it is important to control the indoor air conditioning and heating for the facility to create the ideal temperature for cannabis growth. 

Airflow and temperature requirements in cultivation facilities are very different from a traditional office space. Instead, the HVAC design for the cannabis grows facility relies on on-air changes cycling through the plant foliage and leaves. Moreover, the expert MEP engineer for the facility has to consider the heat produced by various sources like light fixtures. More importantly, the engineer has to ensure that the temperature is controlled and maintained with ease. This may include the installation of sensors within the grow rooms to constantly monitor and control the airflow, temperature, and humidity within the HVAC system. 

  • Water 

Water is another necessary requirement for the growth of any plant, including cannabis. For that, it’s important to have a proper watering schedule in the cultivation facility to ensure the plants get sufficient nutrients. 

On the bright side, MEP engineering services for cultivation facility involves creating plumbing designs. This results in efficient irrigation systems and proper drainage. Even better, plumbing systems make it easier to supply water with the ideal pH to the plants on a schedule. Also, MEP engineering suggests the use of water reclamation systems to recycle water within the facility. 

  • Power 

Cannabis grows facilities consume a lot of power. The NPCC (Northwest Power & Conservation Council) claims that indoor cannabis facilities consume about 2,000 – 3,000 kWh of energy to grow one pound of product. 

Unfortunately, the amount of power needed for the facility is sometimes not available at the proposed site. Therefore, this is another important aspect worth considering before you start building your grow facility. 

Legal requirements of cannabis cultivation 

To pull permits, cultivation facilities should always meet the nationally recognized codes and regulations for different types of spaces. Surprisingly, studies show that about 30% of existing grow facilities aren’t code-compliant. This can cause the cultivation facility to be closed or the grower may face heft fines. To avoid this, it’s important to ensure that the local building codes are met when drafting MEP design for cannabis grow facility. 

Final Word 

In addition to these MEP design tips, having the right MEP engineering partner for your cultivation facility project is key. At Innodez Design & Engineering, we’ll consider the specific needs of your project to create an MEP design for grow facility that exceeds your expectations. Best of all, our MEP engineering experts will ensure that you’ve got a successful indoor space that is safe for you, your employees, and your plants! 

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