CO2 in Cannabis Cultivation
There is more to running a cannabis cultivation facility than just growing plants. While trends in the cannabis space continue to expand into indoor production, their size and use of new technologies are changing rapidly.
With the growth of cannabis cultivation and the conflicting state and national laws, the states have taken on the all-encompassing oversight roles. From guidelines and permitting through to tax collection and dedicated spending formulas, each state must create its own set of rules and regulations for the industry to follow.
While some replicate models created in other states this loose network of rulemaking has lead to a variety of disparate restrictions like limiting the number of grow licenses or the square footage of facilities. For example, Marijuana Network stated, "The state of Florida only issued seven cultivation licenses while New York just extended its limit from five to ten!"
For this and other reasons, building a cultivation facility from the ground up is expensive, complicated, and requires continuous monitoring and maintenance. Yet, with the right construction, personnel, and processes the end results can be lucrative.
What to consider when constructing a cultivation facility?
Troy Dayton states, "Aside from cryptocurrency, there is simply no other industry changing as rapidly or as unevenly as the cannabis sector". Like most large commercial investments, construction is key, and it's all about the location. When it comes to building a cultivation facility, in order to grow, climate plays a major role. Cultivators need to recognize even the smallest of influences, such as sunlight, wind, and previous natural disasters can all play an impactful role.
Another location consideration is the proximity to the intended target audience. How closely can you build a facility to your distribution points and the intended consumer? Does local zoning allow for your facility within city limits? Will you have any transportation concerns or risk DOT regulation violations as well?
Another point to consider is the existing local infrastructure like water and power. Is your facility already connected to these services or will you have to pay for connection? Will you need to upgrade your power systems to account for consumption? Any owner or investor should know these answers before thinking about the end profit potential.
Finding the correct location is just as important for a grow facility as any other local business.
While licensing applications are critical, zoning laws vary widely depending upon the state and local jurisdiction. It is always recommended to gain the expertise of a general contractor to manage the construction process of any facility. What is required in two neighboring towns might be completely different.
Building your facility to code can become excessively difficult given the crop you are producing. Local code officials will require additional information and education throughout the process. Some local zoning requirements to note are set-backs from schools, air purification prior to discharge, power consumption in a certain grid, and security protocols.
It is always recommended that you consult with local units of government, building and fire officials prior to beginning the planning of your facility with an architect. Local requirements are easier and less expensive to satisfy when they are built into the original design rather than done as changes after the fact.
3. Carbon Dioxide Safety
With so many variables at play when it comes to operating a large cultivation facility, it is no surprise that a vital component of any operation is ensuring the proper amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) is supplemented, and proper safety precautions are in place.
Indoor growers minimize ongoing costs by using tanks of liquid CO2 to increase yields. The challenge they face is that in enclosed rooms, a CO2 leak in tubing or a manifold can result in a sudden and dangerous increase in CO2. Because the gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless an employee can instantly be overcome walking into a room with too much CO2. For this reason many local municipalities include a requirement for CO2 safety monitors in indoor cannabis cultivation grow rooms.
Both Harvard, and LBNL have stated, "CO2 levels can directly affect the brain, and if you have a grow room with elevated levels of CO2, the best research says you need to minimize the time you spend in it. You also need to consider purchasing a CO2 monitor for everyday use".
Tips for Properly Enriching Plants with CO2
- Have the right light - the rule of thumb: 7500-10,000 lumens per sq. foot will allow for the full benefits of CO2 enrichment at 800-1,500ppm.
- Seal the space - prevents CO2 from leaking out and will maintain your CO2 levels
- Temperature - many growers recommend between 85F and 95F for CO2 to be the most beneficial
- Adequate Air Flow - For the best results, have your HVAC system move air and CO2 from the floor level to distribute the gas evenly across the space. Or, direct a fan upwards from floor level to keep CO2 circulating and evenly dispersed and efficiently over the crop
- Rest - Your plants don't take in CO2 when the lights are off, so don't waste valuable Carbon Dioxide when the plants are "sleeping". Use a controller with a light sensor embedded.
How to ensure CO2 Safety in Grow Facilities
An average CO2 monitor typically includes the ability to measure carbon dioxide concentrations alone or also includes additional capabilities for measuring temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, or particulate matter. One should take note that when using a fixed carbon dioxide monitor or handheld device, you should never place the instrument near any ventilation that could directly interfere with the device taking and reporting accurate readings.
After you have spent thousands of dollars perfecting the perfect cultivation room or facility, only a real-time CO2 monitor can guarantee that your plants are getting the right amount of CO2 and that your employees and team members are protected.
These are just a few of the top carbon dioxide safety monitors, handheld detectors, and CO2 sensors for cultivators in the cannabis industry.
CO2 Multi-Sensor System
The CO2 Multi-Sensor System is designed to detect carbon dioxide levels in the ambient air to protect employees, workers and businesses.
The CM-7000 meets all local jurisdictional code requirements for safety monitoring and features audible/visual alarms, user-configurable alarm and sensor configurations, relay outputs for safety control, and a unique lockout function. The device was designed to meet OSHA/NIOSH standards and local fire codes in regards to CO2 safety monitoring. The modern, 8" tablet design offers a clean and effective way to set-up and monitors multiple spaces independently.
With the CM-7000, large-scale cultivation facilities can have peace of mind in ensuring employees are safe, and should an incident occur rely on the CM-7000's ability to trigger an exhaust fan, trip a solenoid shut-off valve, or send an immediate alarm to the fire department or monitoring company.
Personal CO2 Safety Monitor and Data Logger
The SAN-10 Personal 5% CO2 Safety Monitor and Data Logger is designed for employees who work in enclosed areas where carbon dioxide buildup may cause personal harm. This device features exclusive data logging capabilities and the data log files can be downloaded as csv./xls.
It is designed to alert people in an area that contains an excessive amount of carbon dioxide gas.
CO2 Grow Control Solutions
The RAD-0502 CO2 Controller and Sensors for Grow Rooms provide a simple and affordable way to adjust and review your CO2 levels when you want to and how you want to for your indoor grow space. With the RAD-0502 you can ensure that your plants never exhaust their supply of CO2 and grow at their maximum potential under optimized conditions.
The CO2 Controller for Grow Rooms can also be used in greenhouses, grow rooms, hydroponics, mushroom farms, or anywhere elevated CO2 levels are used to maximize plant growth.
If you are serious about growing, this is an ideal solution to control both high and low target CO2 levels and maximize plant yields, increasing profitability - in no time.
Which CO2 monitor is right for you?
First, you must consider your application. Are you monitoring air quality levels for CO2, trying to control the gas concentration in your grow space, or monitoring for safety purposes?
One of the most common phone conversations we have with customers is to help educate them about the right devices for their application. They are often surprised when we help them find the right device and they begin to understand the overall benefits of their new CO2 monitor.
Are you looking for more information in regards to agriculture CO2 solutions? Let our CO2Meter experts help educate you about devices for your application. Contact us today.