Challenges to Cannabis Cultivation
Millions of Americans can now access cannabis legally throughout the U.S. As the industry grows, so too has the scale of cultivation facilities and, along with them, the challenges growers face in managing energy costs and bringing a successful crop to harvest.
Up until now, cannabis cultivators have used the same kinds of cultivation facilities that dominate the current agritech industry: 1,000-watt HPS lighting, mixed-light greenhouses, and vertical LED facilities. Each of these indoor grow facilities has baked in flaws that are amplified when dealing with the unique and challenging cannabis and hemp cultivars. Not to mention, all cannabis cultivation facilities require significant up-front investment to construct, as well as high energy and ongoing maintenance costs over the lifetime of the facility Energy-efficiency is an absolute must for anyone looking into the future of the industry. In fact, many mature cannabis markets are showing us that the future is already here, as wholesale prices are reaching lows unimagined even ten years ago.
Hefty up-front investments
Cannabis cultivation facilities are enormously expensive to build and operate. All of them, regardless of design, lighting system or location. They are built to the standards of pharmaceutical laboratories, prisons, and banks all at the same time. Architects and designers are tasked with the challenge of having to design and build a facility of homeostatic clean rooms, a building that no one can get into, and that no one can move around in without being recorded, literally, every movement, by every employee. Additionally, every single plant is in a track and trace protocol, as is every gram of cannabis, and all of the finished product is stored in a concrete vault, as is all of the revenue; all of this must be recorded, stored and accessible by the authorities at a moments notice. When the cannabis industry was young and confined to the West coast, grow facilities were much smaller and so this expense could be managed. But now that facilities have grown to as large as 1 million square feet, these challenges are simply not sustainable.
In the simplest terms, any financial advantage a cultivator can build into their cultivation facility is more than a need, it is a requirement.
Excessive energy usageYour upfront investment is, naturally, not the only expense to consider when operating an indoor grow facility. You also must consider ongoing energy costs.
HPS lights are expensive to operate. A single 1000-watt HPS running for one hour equals a kilowatt hour of energy, the average cost of which is 12 cents in the U.S. Considering a single HPS unit covers 16 square feet, in a facility that measures in the hundreds of thousands of square feet, these costs add up rather quickly.
LED lights tout their reduced energy usage as a benefit but it's important to bear in mind the latest understanding of how artificial lights drive photosynthesis is with power. The latest, most effective LED lights are operating at levels of wattage that are just below or equal to the power demands of your standard 1000-watt HPS. This power demand means that there is a limited energy demand advantage in using LEDs.
Mixed light greenhouses again outperform the other two cultivation facility designs when it comes to your upfront costs, but you still have to have artificial lights, and you cannot get as many harvests per year. Finally, any upfront financial advantage is offset by the massive amount of heat that greenhouses generate, the enormous HVAC systems that are needed to disperse that heat; and in the end, the losses incurred by having the industry's worst record when it comes to crop failure.
Heat build-up and risk of crop failure
Heat build-up is the biggest enemy of cannabis and hemp plants, which are highly susceptible to molds and mildews, especially in their flowering phase. Any facility that causes heat build-up as a byproduct will be harder and more expensive to control and will increase the likelihood of crop failure due to molds and mildews.
The powerful 1000-watt HID lights are good at what they do, but they also run hot. Generally, the higher the wattage, the higher the heat output. A single 1000-watt bulb will generate 3400+ BTUs of heat per hour. That means a grow facility needs suitable ventilation and a hard-working climate control system; that also means more energy costs.
This is also where mixed light greenhouses don’t hold up. These facilities require the use of polycarbonate plastics to allow adequate light to permeate, but also allows through the UV and IR, which leads to heat build-up that can harm plants and promote the growth of molds and mildews. Cannabis plants are highly sensitive and require an optimal environment for growth, so the ability to carefully control climate and humidity are essential.
How SunVentive Zero™ solves these design flaws
At SunVentive Zero™, we know harnessing the power of the sun, combined with our patented light management systems, produces a better crop, and dramatically lower overhead, and that has essentially no maintenance costs over the long run. That's not even to mention a reduced environmental footprint.
The SunVentive Zero indoor grow facility design system delivers:
- • A 40 to 75 percent reduction in energy costs
- • A 50 to 75 percent reduction in crop failure due to mildews and molds
- • Full-spectrum sunlight for healthier, stronger, more fully expressed plants
The mainstay of SunVentive Zero™ designs are tubular daylight devices, which allow natural, full-color spectrum sunlight to enter your indoor grow facility along with all of the photosynthesis-driving PAR radiation plants need. Natural sunlight produces a healthier, happier crop, cuts down on energy waste, electricity costs and water consumption.
Our tubular daylight devices allow almost no infrared or ultraviolet radiation to enter the space, which means there is no heat transfer, the single most devastating cause of crop failure. This means we reduce crop failure by as much as 50% to 75%. Moreover, this reduces the demands on climate control systems, further cutting your energy costs and making the indoor environment not just healthier for your plants, but also for your employees.
Intelligent lighting system design
SunVentive Zero™ uses a blend of optimal design, planning, and intelligent lighting software to ensure that your indoor cultivation facility only uses electricity when absolutely necessary.
If you're tired of paying a premium for flawed designs, it's time to see the light with SunVentive Zero™. The cannabis industry has a bright future, and SunVentive Zero™ is poised to revolutionize it.