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How to Improve Grow Room Energy Efficiency

Grow room energy efficiency is a crucial factor that can affect the profitability of any grow operation.

Growing crops in indoor grow rooms is highly effective. Indoors, growers have total control over their environment, and can optimize growing conditions to the smallest details.

However, there is one downside – growing indoors often comes with very high energy costs.

Indoor cultivation is gaining popularity around the world, especially in the cannabis industry. Considering the fact that energy prices tend to fluctuate, as we’ve witnessed over the past months, it’s clear that developing energy efficient growing methods isn’t just a way to reduce operation costs, but an actual necessity.

One of the costliest issues to deal with in grow rooms is humidity. In this article we’ll focus on how humidity control affects electricity consumption, and how different humidity control methods impact growers’ energy bills.

High Humidity Isn’t Optimal for Cultivation

High humidity is inevitable in any indoor grow room. Plants constantly evaporate water to the air, so in a closed environment, moisture quickly builds up. This is no news to growers, and virtually every grow room operator tackles humidity in one form or another.

Humid environments aren’t optimal for plants. When the air contains too much moisture, plants struggle to transpire, which is a critical part of their metabolic process. This, in turn, leads to slower growth, smaller fruit or flowers, and lower quality.

Humidity can also lead to diseases. Molds, such as powdery mildew or bud rot, are deadly for crops, and can potentially destroy entire grow cycles.

This problem is especially dire when it comes to cannabis cultivation. Due to their physiological shape and build, cannabis buds are highly susceptible to humidity diseases and molds. Cannabis is also strictly regulated, so affected crops may not be sold, distributed, or processed.

Climate Control Systems Determine Grow Room Energy Efficiency

Growing in a completely closed environment means growers must provide everything. Rather than rely on weather conditions, and harness sunlight, indoor growers rely on machinery, leading to high electrical costs.

In most grow rooms, LED lights substitute sun light and HVAC systems control the temperature. But what about humidity?

Grow rooms are isolated environments, from which humidity can’t escape on its own. As opposed to greenhouses, in which growers can sometimes ventilate in order to release some moisture, in grow rooms there’s no such option.

Humidity is also higher indoors than in greenhouses. The high radiation levels and heat emitted from the powerful grow lights cause plants to transpire a lot more water. Add in the fact that plants are often places more densely, as space is precious and expensive indoors, and it’s no surprise that humidity becomes an issue very quickly in grow rooms.

HVAC Isn’t Efficient for Humidity Control

Many growers don’t use dedicated dehumidifiers to reduce humidity. Rather, they utilize their HVAC systems to do so. Unfortunately, this solution is far from optimal.

HVAC stands for heating, venting and air conditioning. Like any other AC, they condense and remove some water from the air, as a side effect of their operation. But as they aren’t optimized for dehumidification, they do so inefficiently.

Grow room humidity is constantly on the rise, and growers need a consistent method to deal with it. This leads many growers to use their HVAC systems all the time, alternating between heating and cooling just to remove moisture, regardless of the temperature. This requires massive amount of energy, and growers feel it in their electricity bills. On average, this method requires twice as much energy as using a dedicated active dehumidification system.

Using HVAC for grow room humidity control isn’t just inefficient and expensive, it’s also harmful for the plants. It’s extremely difficult to completely control humidity with HVAC, meaning often times humidity still manages to climb to 100%.

It also causes fluctuations in the climate conditions. Rather than maintain steady and optimal temperatures and relative humidity levels, they constantly fluctuate between cold and warm, and dry and humid.

Besides the high energy usage, using HVACs to control humidity is also associated with high initial costs.

This is due to the inefficiency of the system. As HVAC systems aren’t optimized for humidity control, they require a larger capacity to get the job done. In order to manage the massive amounts of humidity in grow rooms, HVAC systems need double the capacity than required strictly for heating and cooling.

So, using HVAC for humidity control requires a larger initial investment, higher maintenance costs, and more space, in order to house the system.

Integrating DryGair and HVAC Improves Grow Room Energy Efficiency

Increasing indoor energy efficiency is all about combining the right machinery and equipment.

Introducing a DryGair unit to a grow room that uses HVAC can reduce the HVAC’s energy consumption by 50%. Furthermore, when designing a new grow room, integrating DryGair and HVAC can reduce the necessary HVAC size and capacity by 50%.

DryGair’s DG-X unit is designed from start to finish with one goal in mind – extracting massive amounts of water vapor, as efficiently as possible, under the conditions found in grow rooms.

Combining both technologies, in essence, decouples humidity control from temperature control, allowing each piece of equipment to do what it does most efficiently. The HVAC is free to heat or cool only when necessary, leaving DryGair to treat humidity, and vice versa.

Integrating DryGair and HVAC in indoor grow rooms has several benefits:

  • Lower energy costs – 50% on average
  • Smaller HVAC – less space and lower initial and operational costs
  • Stable HVAC operation – improve growing conditions
  • Steady and optimal climate conditions – temperature and humidity
  • Homogenous conditions with DryGair’s patented air circulation

For more information on using DryGair to increase grow room energy efficiency, feel free to contact us!

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