Most growers will agree that grow room design is one of the most important factors when starting your cultivation business.
Planning for your grow room is critical because a grow room isn’t just a building – it’s an ecosystem. Your grow room ecosystem should consider your regional climate, the controlled environment that you create, and ultimately the plants you grow.
We have highlighted what makes a good grow room design and given you 8 tips for creating a better grow room design.
What Makes a Good Grow Room Design?
Grow room design takes a technology-based approach towards plant production inside of a controlled environment. A good grow room design will factor in your business plan, growth methodology, plant protection and technology.
Tips for Creating a Better Grow Room Design
1. Define Your Business Plan
Before designing your grow room, you must first decide how your growth operation will make money. What is your target market? Are you looking to grow for the mass consumer market, or are you trying to establish yourself as a craft cultivator? It is very important to know how every part of your business, from growing and harvest to marketing and selling will work together.
2. Determine Your Growth Methodology
Your grow room should be designed to match your growth methodology. Will you be growing a sea of green? Aiming for six-foot plants? Will you use living soil or grow aeroponically? Your growth methodology will inform most of your grow room design decisions, so it is critical to decide this early on.
3. Plan How You’re Going to Protect Your Plants
How will you reduce the probability of losing crops to mold or insects? Many indoor growers are far too lax about safeguarding crops from outside spores and other potentially harmful factors. At the same time, you should have a plan in place to prevent and address employee theft.
4. Choose Your Environmental Controls
One of the chief decisions for your grow room design will be which environmental controls and reporting tools you choose. if you can’t control your humidity, temperature, light, and ventilation efficiently, you will almost certainly undercut the profitability and quality of your product. Maintaining perfect growth conditions in a grow-room can be challenging, especially when you are working with many kinds of equipment. To maximize efficiency, grow room control systems should consolidate and automate your environmental controls and reporting will be essential.
5. Size Your Facility for Expansion
The square footage of a grow-room will also significantly impact your design choices and, ultimately, how those choices affect overall cost. Using chilled water as a climate control option may be out of the question for a smaller operation. However, for larger operations – or grow-rooms that aim to greatly expand their square footage over time – investing in a central chiller plant can significantly reduce overall HVAC costs.
Designing for a larger footprint will usually drive down the cost per square foot of your design work. While it may require a more significant investment early on, accounting for your phasing plan early on will typically magnify your profitability as you scale up.
6. Choosing LEDs or Traditional Lighting
Being smart about your lighting will also be crucial to maximizing profitability. LED lights beat out other options (like HPS lights) for a number of reasons:
- Ease and lower cost of replacement
- Energy efficiency
- Reduction in air conditioning costs
- Reduced capital and ongoing expenses
With LED lights, your payoff is relatively quick depending on your price per kilowatt hour for electricity. Granger unequivocally recommends LED lighting to reduce costs for your growth operation.
7. Consider the True Cost of Labor & Expendables
For grow-room entrepreneurs, establishing a methodology that utilizes pots and cocoa can sound attractive – the initial investment is certainly less than that of other methodologies. However, transplanting takes time and labor. Root balls will need to be chopped, ground up, and disposed of. Carefully considering the cost of the entire process will save a great deal of time, effort, and money later on.
8. Growing Vertical or Single-Layer
How will your grow-room design make the most of your square footage? Adopting a multi-tier system, utilizing roll top benches, and maximizing your canopy space can all aid you in boosting your ROI. However, it’s important to carefully consider this stage of grow-room design, as well.
While utilizing a multi-tier system can make the most of your space, it can also lead to neglect. Ideally, growers should look at all of their plants every day. While automatic sensors can help reduce labor and save time in many ways, there simply is no replacement for checking your garden with your own eyes.
For this reason, we recommend that for vegetative crops, no more than two tiers is beneficial. For flowering crops, keep it simple. People are lazy, and often do not check the second level daily.
For further tips and guidance on grow room design, download our Best-Practices for Grow Room Design Guide.