The use and cultivation of cannabis plants is gaining popularity across the globe, and so laws against the use of it are simmering down. The United States is one of the latest to lift major bans and legalize marijuana. This year for example, Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota passed cannabis legalization measures. This increase in the number of states legalizing the use of cannabis either for recreational or medical use, or both will boost the demand for cannabis cultivation in hobbyist gardeners and large-scale operations.
Although there is a preference towards growing cannabis indoors due to higher bud yield while allowing for specific cannabis qualities to be heightened or reduced by controlling the indoor environment, this also means that indoor-grown cannabis requires a considerable amount of time, care, and equipment. Thus, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) design plays an important factor in cannabis growing facilities to create a superior product.
Knowing the Basics
To understand the importance of MEP Design in cannabis facilities, let’s break it down to the key essentials that cannabis need to grow and produce a good yield.
All plants need sunlight for photosynthesis. Indoor cultivation uses proper lighting and fixtures to have the right greenhouse effect. However, energy usage is one of the biggest challenges of indoor cannabis cultivation since light sources consume too much energy and produce heat which may negatively affect plant-growth if not handled carefully. MEP design in cannabis facilities includes efficient lighting for lesser energy costs, neutralizing the heat produced by lighting fixtures, and automation. Automation helps in scheduling the indoor light setting to meet the recommended 12/12 hours of light and dark for cannabis plants.
Grow rooms with low air quality and poor ventilation hampers the growth of cannabis plants and can cause contamination. Proper air circulation is needed to keep the temperature at a normal level and spread the heating in grow rooms to neutralize it. As for contamination issues, air exchange is a crucial defense factor against contamination but is often overlooked. A professional MEP engineer takes all these factors into consideration when creating a MEP design for a cannabis facility and in choosing the HVAC system that works best for cannabis cultivation. This also helps control the humidity in grow rooms and combats the growth of molds and mildew.
No plant can survive without water. Cannabis cultivation requires a proper watering schedule to make sure that the plants get enough nutrients. Part of MEP engineering services is drafting plumbing designs for cannabis facilities to have proper drainage and efficient irrigation systems. This way, it makes it easier to deliver water with the right pH to plants on a schedule and timetable. To reduce cost, MEP engineering recommends recycling used water through water reclamation systems.
Cannabis plants can withstand high and low temperatures, but they wither when exposed to extreme temperatures for a long time. Indoor heating and air conditioning can be controlled to have a consistent temperature that is ideal for cannabis growth. This takes more than just setting the HVAC to 27 degrees Celsius which is the recommended temperature for cannabis plants. Expert MEP engineers take into consideration the heat coming from different sources like light fixtures, wall thickness, and other factors to make sure that the correct temperature is maintained and controlled with ease.
Legalities of Cannabis Cultivation
According to studies, around 30% of existing facilities are either not code compliant or were not built efficiently to produce the highest crop yields. This is critical because cultivators who are not compliant face hefty fines and could potentially be closed. MEP engineers are familiar with the local building codes and make sure that these are met.
Hiring a professional MEP Engineering Firm to assist you with a MEP design to make sure your cultivation facility is set-up for success. Among the many benefits of MEP engineering design are higher yields, greater efficiency, ease of use, which when summed up equals increased revenue.
With the projected increase in the market of Cannabis Cultivation, Source2Load aims to be one of the professional MEP Engineering Firms to provide professional design for cultivation facilities not just in Texas but in all other states that passed the cannabis legalization measures for recreational or medical use.