The team at GroAdvisor speaks with Bruce Granger on the Greenhouse & Indoor Cultivation Podcast, to discuss best practices for grow room design. Granger launched Kind Love, one of the highest-rated dispensaries in Colorado as well as a state-of-the-art grow facility and extraction and infusion division.
Since then, he has cemented himself as a pioneer and leader in the cannabis industry. The GroAdvisor team and Granger offer their insight and knowledge to cannabis entrepreneurs and facilities all around the globe. In this podcast, Granger comments on everything from how design choices impact the overall cost to the importance of a crop’s genetics.
While a full guide to grow room design could span a full library shelf, this podcast covers the most crucial aspects of design so that anyone could garner some new insight into this crucial aspect of the cannabis cultivation industry.
Announcer [00:00:02] You’re listening to the Greenhouse and Indoor Cultivation podcast presented by GroAdvisor. Tune in to learn strategies to grow your business, get the most out of your cultivations systems, and advance your horticulture career.
Brandon [00:00:18] Hello, growers and business owners, this is Brandon and Will, your favorite podcast hosts for the controlled environment agriculture industry. So I just wanted to tell you, we’re launching a guide. If you haven’t heard yet, it’s called Best Practices for Grow Room Design. I’m really excited about it. It’s filled with expert advice from our guest today, Dr. Bruce Granger, as well as others you’ve heard on this podcast. You’re going to want to go to groadvisorworldwide.com to download your free copy. It’s amazing. We go deep and grow and design with our team. So if you want to know what it takes to scale your grow room operations from functional to professional, you’re going to want to get this guide. There’s already a wait list. So join our newsletter to be one of the first to receive it. And I’ll see you there.
Brandon [00:00:57] On today’s podcast, we speak with Dr. Bruce Granger, president and founder of Kind Love, one of the highest rated dispensaries in Colorado, with a state of the art grow facility and extraction and infusion division, which he sold in 2014. Bruce has since built many grow facilities ranging from 5000 to 40,000 square feet. Dr. Granger is a pioneer and recognized leader in the cannabis industry and was appointed to the first medical marijuana rules board and assisted in drafting Colorado’s regulations with Matt Cook. We’re excited to have Bruce on as a GroAdvisor partner. This Q&A style podcast is just jam packed with valuable information. I think you’re really gonna enjoy this one. So stay tuned. And now to the podcast.
Brandon [00:01:43] Why don’t we start with what’s your bird’s eye view on grow room design as it is today? And, you know, maybe some of the pitfalls that others experience. And just give me your perspective. And then we can just dove into the details later.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:02:03] Sure. So my my focus on grow room design is really threefold. One is workflow. Two is what I call plant security. In other words, a design that will reduce the probability of infestation both from insects as well as mold. And my third thought on design is on theft. As you probably know, we are well aware of, employee theft is huge. This is an incredibly valuable commodity. And you don’t have to take a lot in order to end up at the end of every week with a sizable amount of product to just sell off if you’re a thief. So those are my three main concerns when starting a design project project. My next main question then is in methodology of growing.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:03:19] Because depending on the methodology really determines the proportionality in the in the room construction. And what I mean by that is, you know, are you are you growing a sea of green or are we growing six foot plants? Are we growing in living soil or are we growing aeroponically? And so those questions are my next question. And finally, my last question is typically “What is your business plan?” Because obviously during your development of your business plan, you’ve decided whether or not you want to be a mass consumer grower or whether you’re looking to be a craft, high end consumer grower.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:04:26] And those decisions then clearly impact the design of the facility and its capacity.
Brandon [00:04:37] Let’s talk a little about methodologies and, you know, at what point do you generally consult on methodologies and in your experience working with cultivators, I mean, one would assume they generally have that figuring out ahead of time. But in my experience, you know, assumptions like that are never really the case, you know? You know, across the board, do you often come in and consult on methodologies? Do you find one to be more cost effective than the other, one to be more successful than the other? What are your thoughts?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:05:08] Well, I guess it really depends on at what stage I have been contacted, a lot of my contacts are literally at application stage, so they have no idea what their options even are. And so if I’m if I’m getting involved at the application stage, then, yes, I absolutely go through their options, both on a growing methodology as well as an environmental options. And what I mean by that is depending on where they are in the country. There may be regulations as to what kind of facility they actually are allowed to grow in and where they’re allowed to grow. So is this required to be an indoor cultivation? Are you permitted to do greenhouse grow? Are you permitted to do outdoor grow? So those will become early, early questions within the process. The next thing the next point that I’m brought in at is they have hired somebody to be their master grower. And that always becomes in my mind that the next real problem. And what I mean by that is Master Grower is actually not a nomenclature that even exists in the agricultural world. It’s a nomenclature that has been created, I believe, by a bunch of cannabis guys who were underground growers, who are then trying to promote themselves in order to be to manage or grow or run a grow facility. So they call themselves a master grower. And typically what I find with those people is they have had small basement grows, small personal grows, and they grow really great product six, eight, 12 plants and have no idea what commercial agriculture really is all about. And so I end up getting into a situation where I end up having to talk to the owners offline without the person that they hired, because typically that person doesn’t understand commercial agriculture, which is really what we are, what we’re doing. You know, when you’re looking at a 40- or 50,000 square foot facility, you can’t spend 20 minutes a plant manicuring. So that becomes another boondoggle, if you will, to explain to the owner that we really need to consider him being the decider of grow methodology rather than this master grower who may come and go.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:08:24] He needs to understand what the ramifications are of growing in dirt vs. hydroponics vs. cocoa vs. flood to drain. When all those different methodologies require both from a workflow, HR, and disposable and consumable sampling.
Brandon [00:08:53] Really good point. Yeah, I think we see that all the time. Certainly commercial ag and traditional ag gets left out the conversation sometimes, especially considering a master grower. You know, I think. Yeah. So let’s talk about the facility a little bit then, you know, and you can talk about as it relates to master growers as well, or the labor force, you know. So how how does the grow room design impact to the overall cost? You know, like what are some of the main areas that it would impact cost? And what are some of the efficiencies that you can expect in cost from from a well-designed grow room?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:09:35] You know that that’s a great question. I typically start trying to explain that the most important aspect of a grow room, it is actually, in my mind, is environmental controls. If you can’t control your environment, it really doesn’t make any difference what kind of light you’re using, what kind of nutrients you’re using, or even what kind of methodology you’re using. If if you can’t control your humidity and temperature, none of those other things even matter. So I typically like to talk about environmental controls and talk about the different types of environmental controls that you can use and the costs involved and the reporting and controls that different methodologies will allow you as a grower to use.
[00:10:47] What I mean by that is sometimes I get into a conversation that they want to use many splits in the room, quest dehumidification, and CO2 bags. And I immediately get into a conversation of how in God’s name do you plan on controlling everything? You’ve got competing equipment that is difficult to clean, difficult to control, and not very cost effective in operations. And so I typically get in to conversations that start off with, you know, I first need to understand the environment, the external environment that we’re operating in. You know, are we in Coachella Valley where we’ve got 115 degree summers with, you know, 12% humidity? Or am I, you know, or am I in Oklahoma with 110 degree temperatures in the summer and 95% humidity? And what those factors mean in order to give us an optimal growth facility. And then, you know, then I start into different equipment that will meet the requirements of their external environment and what kind of costs we’re looking at. The next issue really becomes the size of their facility. And, you know, whether or not we can use, you know, chillers, whether or not we… A lot of companies, what I find is they have a phased approach to their build out. So they may have a 40,000 square foot building, but they can only afford to build 10,000 square feet until they make money and can expand. And so, you know, buying a chiller plant is probably out of the question and they’re going to have to phase their environmental controls as they grow up, you know, increase in size.
Brandon [00:13:17] That makes sense. OK, well, let’s talk about… So obviously controls being the most important then, you know, as they phase, in your mind, what’s the most cost effective way to do so? And you know, where, let’s say they were try trying to go about it on their own vs. working with a consultant. Where can they expect to save money when it comes to the final build out?
Brandon [00:13:51] And also, maybe that goes hand in hand with saving power. You know, but I’ll let you you determine who you want to tackle that.
[00:14:02] Yeah. No, I think, you know, at the end of the day, I mean, I’m just doing this right now, actually, with a with a gentleman who got a million dollars to start off with. And he is telling me that he wants to buy tissue culture product and then grow in a deep water culture. And I’m trying to. And this is the grow expert. And I’m trying to explain to him that going from a tissue culture to a viable plant that you can put into a deep water culture, right there, you’re probably looking at six to eight weeks. In order just to get a viable plant that you can put in there. Why wouldn’t you consider creating your mother stock yourself? And going from a clone because to go from a plantlet that you get from a tissue culture into a plant that you can do something with, is a timely experience. I said, Jim, I said, I totally understand that tissue culture will will preserve your genetic viability better than any other system. So great. Start your mother’s from a tissue culture. But but you’re on ongoing business plan would be much faster, much more effective to go from a cloning situation. So I think, you know, people read a lot of information and they don’t understand the impact that these systems have on their bottom line. And I tried to explain to him that, you know, you’re going to have an awful lot of space dedicated to your vegetative state that you’re giving up in potential flower room. So, you know, your money is made in the flower room. So if we can speed that, you know, the process of moving from creating a viable plant to the flower room and speed that process up, you’ll you’ll you’ll end up making more money. It’s the amount of turns that you have in the flower room that really impact your bottom line.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:16:53] So having said that, you know, the other things that I think really do impact your bottom line, if I’m answering your question correctly, is technology in growing methodology and technology in lighting, and as I said earlier, in environmental controls. You know, 10 years ago, LED lights were maybe good for cloning and probably for vegetative growth, but certainly not for flowering. There wasn’t enough micromol production to actually be effective in in in large scale growing. It just wasn’t good enough. Today, that’s absolutely not the truth. And today, I don’t see any reason why somebody would choose a HPS light over a good, well-balanced LCD light. And for a number of reasons. Replacement, replacement cost of bulbs, energy efficiency for the light, reduction in heat, so reduction in air conditioning, capital expense, as well as ongoing expense.
[00:18:23] So given those parameters, I can show that an LED light, even though the cap ex expense is so much greater than an HPS, your pay off is is relatively quick, depending on what your your price per kilowatt hour is for electricity and your cap ex cost for your environmental controls. It just it pays off very quickly. And so to me that’s always something that it has to be looked at. And like I said, I think I can show, or I’m sure you can show, that the return on investment is very quick.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:19:14] Sure. Absolutely. That’s a topic near and dear to my heart. Coming from an LED lighting ompany. But you did answer that very well. Thank you. You know, when you did touch on my next point, you know, labor efficiency and workflow, you know, it sounds like, you know, when you get a well-designed grow room, you expect quicker speed to market. You can also expect that it’s designed with your operations and your labor force in mind. Right. You know, so I was thinking about, you know, labor efficiency and workflow. You did mention genetics being important factor. And, you know, I know a lot of these cultivators see their genetics, as you know, you know, kind of their primary IP outside of maybe there if they have some sort of innovative growing system model, you know, maybe to talk a little about how important the genetic selection and genetics are when it comes to the efficiency and your profitability of your facility. But let’s start there and then I’ll have some more questions.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:20:22] Yeah. I mean, clearly, I get into this conversation a lot. You know, people want to know. You know what, genetics produces the greatest yield. And I say that this is my opinion, and that is that you reach a maximum production from a specific genetic. And once you reach that that plateau, if you will, that’s it. It’s kind of like human beings. You know, you are born with a certain genetic profile and it doesn’t matter whether or not you eat. No matter what you eat, you’re never going to grow, reach a height greater than your genetic maximum. So if you’re eating good food, nutritionally proper foods, you reach that that maximum. Obviously, if you’re eating really poor nutrition, you’ll never reach that maximum potential. But once you reach that maximum potential, you’ll never exceed that. And so there are certain genetics, like I can tell you, I am no more than a good grower. I would not say I am a fantastic or best grower. I’m an average grower. I think maybe a little bit better than average. But when I grew blueberry, for instance, I always grew almost better than any other piece of genetics I ever grew. That was my best. And I was getting two and three quarter pounds a light out of that genetics. And my average was right and everything else was right around two pounds of light. So genetics absolutely play a role in weight. Genetics also play a huge role in time to harvest. There are certain genetics out there that can be as long as 90 days to harvest. And some genetics that I’ve harvested and in right around 52 days. So when people say eight weeks to harvest. It’s absolutely a average, A, and B, I know many companies that harvest on that fifty-sixth day. And again, going back to human beings, we say that a human being’s gestation period is nine months. But no mother can count on that nine months. It can vary anywhere, it can vary as much as a month almost. Some mothers, you know, give birth in eight months. And so to follow the plant, the plant will tell you when it’s time to harvest if you’re paying attention. You know, if you pay attention to the trichomes and look at them under microscopes, the plant will tell you when it’s time to harvest and so those those days to harvest again is another genetic predisposition.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:24:16] If you if you’re if you’re harvesting on that fifty sixth day, you may be harvesting late or very prematurely. Does that answer your question?
Brandon [00:24:29] Yeah, I did. Thank you so much Bruce. I I want to move on to a little more facility stuff before I do, I realize there is a question I had about your previous topic. You know, we’re talking about bottom line. And you said some of the most important factors for the bottom line in terms of equipment were lighting and can control systems and environmental controls. You know, I think everyone on this call is very keen and knowledgeable about the value of control systems.
Brandon [00:25:04] You know, having a well designed and well integrated control system vs. maybe more manual control, where are they saving most cost? Is it primarily labor or is it because of the higher yield? Or are there some other factors there?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:25:22] So. I’d like to. I’d like to talk about labor, which will then get into controls. And it always amazes me how people go to a very sort of inexpensive cap ex growth methodology, for instance, pots and cocoa. What they don’t take into into account is the expendable cost and the labor cost involved in a cocoa or dirt or even a rock will grow. Because when you look at, let’s say, cocoa, for instance, you’re going from maybe an aeroponic cloning system. And then you’re taking that rooted clone and you’re putting it into a small, let’s say, a two by two cocoa pot, and you’re vegging it in that cocoa pot for however long. And then you’re transplanting that two by two cocoa pot into maybe a number five pot with, you know, a gallon or so of cocoa. And that labor cost in those two transplants and the movement of those plants is a serious expense that a lot of people don’t take into consideration. And then there’s the extendible cost of all of that cocoa that you’re throwing out at the end of the harvest. And and then we’ve got not only the fact that we’re just getting rid of it all, but then you’ve got disposal costs because most states require taking that root ball and making that unusable. So that’s got to go through some sort of chopping or or grinding process in order to make that unusable. And so it’s a it is a huge labor cost. Well, that has to be considered as well. The piece of control that I like to talk about is a single point control. We’ve got multiple rooms. Typically, that means multiple environmental controls. Hopefully we have one environmental control system for each room. And each stage of growth requires a different humidity, a different temperature. And and hopefully CO2 controls as well, lighting controls. All of these things need to be looked at. And I mean, I like to get as granular as as water temperature, water pH, all of those things need to be looked at and met and made sure that we are looking at all of these aspects of the of the grow. Once you start using multiple pieces of equipment, my concern is always the, and I hate to say this, the laziness of people. If somebody has to go to three different applications on their phone in order to look at their air conditioner, their dehumidification, their CO2 levels, odds are they’re not going to do it. They may go to one. If you’re lucky they’ll go to two. So my preference is a application where everything is visible on hopefully one screen. I have found that the laziness of people is my, one of my biggest concerns. Yeah. And so to have everything available as easily, as quickly as possible just means that the odds of them paying attention is so much greater.
Brandon [00:30:25] That’s a great point. I appreciate that insight. I think that’s really great. You know, I’ll skip ahead a little on my list. You know, you mention you’ll go as deep as, you know, water temperature, and pH.
Brandon [00:30:38] You know, I think we’re finding that a lot of people, you know, even some of the real professionals in the industry don’t consider so much the irrigation water treatment component and integrating that into their control system. What are your thoughts on that?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:31:00] You bring up a very good point, I’m always amazed at the lack of consideration for water.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:31:10] And, you know, you talk to people.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:31:15] And you know, one of my early questions in the process is where are you getting your water from and where is your water going to? And, you know, I’m very keen on water testing. Especially if it’s coming from a well, I try to insist to people that the single point test is meaningless. Over the course of a year, if you’re getting your water from a well, that water could change dramatically from summer to winter, from spring to fall. That water, that the minerals that are in the water and the pH of that water will change dramatically over a course of a year. And the only way that I believe you can assure the proper dissolved solvents within the water is to control that water precisely. My go to methodology is, I want to start off what I called dead water. A reverse osmosis water. Basically gives me a blank slate to start off with. And now I can control all aspects of what I am giving the plant.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:32:52] So might my first choice is, well, RO the water. Bring the water to the proper temperature. Check pH. Add my nutrients. Feed the plant. Then I prefer to control my wastewater as well.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:33:22] And here, here’s where I become sort of environmentally concerned. There are many states or cities within this country that have not thought this through very well. And they allow growers to dump their wastewater into the sewer. To me, it’s crazy. The nitrate level of our runoff is really high and most treatment plants can’t deal with it. So I think it’s a huge mistake to allow people to dump into the sewer system. And then I get people who say, well, I have a septic system. And I’m just going to put my water into the septic system. And I said we’ll that’s not going to work. And their response is why I said because if you dump your plant runoff into your septic system, you’re destroy your septic system. It can’t handle the run off from the plant, so you’ll destroy that. Your really only option is to to take your runoff water and dump it directly into a leach field. And they don’t quite get the fact that the nutrient runoff is really bad. You can’t, you can’t put it into a into a septic system. So in my mind I like to recycle all my water. It’s a money saving piece as well as an environmental, an environmentally a viable option. And most R.O. systems, if designed correctly with a multi-stage filter, can absolutely do that.
Brandon [00:35:24] So from a cap ex / op ex perspective, you know, is it economically beneficial, do you find, to do so? A lot of these systems aren’t cheap. A lot of times people aren’t considering that. You know, whereas in your mind, where is the payback coming from? And what are the benefits?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:35:48] Well, I mean, first of all. Even if you’re using most city waters, they’re not, you know, they’re not very clean. First of all, city water typically put all sorts of chemicals into it, puts it’s chlorine, fluorine, bromine into the water in order to make it drinkable. They might fluoride the water. So personally, I’d like to get rid of all that. Chlorine can sometimes lock up the the root systems that inhibit uptake of nutrients. It’s just it, it doesn’t give you a really good starting point. So. You know, it is very you can go on a cheap side and just do like a big boy filter and get rid of your bromine or fluorine. Get rid of that right through a filter. You can do other filtration systems to remove any heavy metals and things like particulates in the water.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:37:04] It is obviously a much less expensive operation to do it that way than to do an RO system. But it is it is my opinion that that a good RO system with minimal waste is an environmentally sound choice to make.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:37:32] But obviously, you’ve got financial considerations as well. And it’s always something to talk about. But water. Water to me on a very personal level is something that we need to take very seriously.
Brandon [00:37:49] I agree. Yeah, thanks for going into that.
Brandon [00:37:54] So let’s talk a little more high level. You know, I think a big topic, you know, is vertical versus single peer cultivation, especially indoor. And, you know, I’ve even seen greenhouse growers go vertical to get light on their top level. You know what are your thoughts on the different, I guess, rack and benching strategies and cultivation methods in terms of vertical?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:38:26] Wow. So as a consultant, I am hired by a number of manufacturers to help them sell. I received leads from a number of different companies who value my expertize and on the sales side, one of those companies is a company that offers a multi-tier aeropnic it grow system. When I was hired by them, I literally told the president of the company that I will not sell a multi-tier system without my caveats. And my caveats are this. Just exactly what I said to you about control systems. People are lazy. I have a personal belief that eyes on plant every day. I don’t care what systems you’re using. I don’t care what technology you have. I don’t even care if there’s cameras in the room. I believe that you have to have a human eyeball on the plant every day. If you’re using a multi-tier system. Again, back to my laziness. People will walk the ground level. And just make the assumption that the second tier is doing exactly the same. And I find that to be a huge mistake and very problematic. And I I don’t have that much of an issue, first of all, I think in cloning, I don’t really care. I think a multi-tier solution to cloning is is absolutely the way to go, save on floor space. The odds of problem in cloning is very minimal. And I think that the truth is similar in veg. The odds of problems and veg are again, not anywhere near as great as they are in flower. And so for us, for vegging, you know, a double stack is is probably fine because typically, even in a double stack, I am at a level where I can see both levels from the ground. I may have to get on a ladder to harvest, but I can probably see what’s going on from the ground. When it comes to flowering, it is so critical, in my mind that we’re looking at the plants closely. I want to see powdery mildew. I want to see hermaphrodites. I want to see spider mites. I want to see aphids. I want to see what’s going on. And unless I am close enough literally to see webbing or I’m close enough to see the beginning of mold. It just doesn’t work.
Brandon [00:42:06] That’s a good point. That’s great. So in terms of, you know, all of your industry relationships aside, you know, racking and benching, you know, there’s often not a lot of differentiation in those products. I mean, obviously, most people would prefer like a rolling bench on some sort of track or something, you know, versus something static. Well, you know, when you’re if you were to recommend racks and benches, what what are some of the key things you’re looking for and what’s your preferred method?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:42:41] You know in flower I absolutely always go to a rolltop bench. That is my my preference. And, you know, there’s a multitude of manufacturers out there. I typically only… The only real requirement I have in a rolltop bench is some sort of material that will not rust on me. And a bench with anti-chip. Those are my two biggest requirements. Ideally, obviously, I’m always trying to get a rolltop system where I can minimize the amount of distance I have to place between the static benches when they, when the roll top is at neutral. I want to have a roll top that gives me the greatest motion. So I don’t have as I don’t want to waste as much space because there are some that, you know, only can roll a quarter of the distance versus a third of the distance. So, you know, if I can get, if I can get the most roll, well, obviously the better so I can maximize my canopy space. In in double stacking, you know, a system like, you know, that Spacesaver or Pip offers is obviously the best in maximizing your space, but it’s very expensive. So depending on where you, what your financing financials are, you know, just a static double stack is probably what most people tend to end up going with. I do not, I do not like a triple stack veg just because, again, we’re getting too high and lack of eyes. In cloning, like I said, I love EasyClone makes a commercials cloner that you can get five, I think it’s five hundred sixty four clones in a two by two space. Essence makes an amazing four stack cloner, where you can clone almost 4000 clones in a machine at a time. So they’re really good. And I like Aeroonic cloning. I think it’s probably the best and most effective cloning system on the market.
Brandon [00:45:55] Awesome. That’s a topic for even another time. I’m sure we could talk about that for a while. I know these are a lot of questions. This next bit is probably pretty meaty as well. But I appreciate you giving all the insight. You know, we just want to get as much information as possible.
Brandon [00:46:08] I’m interested in, you mentioned earlier on to talk to reconsiderations. You’re talking about, you know, ridding contaminants or something along those lines, being one, you know, kind of the biosecurity of the grow room. You know, I have a few lines here, one being, you know, your thoughts on sealed and modular room design, another being security, and other being contaminants, and another scalability. You know, I’m looking at those and they all kind of relate in my mind. You know, like a modular grow room in my mind allows you to scalability as you start with 10,000 square feet and then you expand.
Brandon [00:46:45] I’m interested in kind of your thoughts about biosecurity and scalability, either separately or together as they relate to each other. Just a few ideas.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:46:56] Sure.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:46:59] First of all, you know. There’s there’s a lot of, there’s a lot to be said about running a grow that some people just don’t consider. And that is that when you look at our tax code, this industry is a very tough industry. And a grow facility is actually the most advantageous aspect of this industry from a tax perspective. When you look at our tax code 280e basically stipulates that under a new federally illegal business, you’re only allowed to deduct cost of goods sold.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:47:57] So in a grow. Everything is part of cost of goods sold.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:48:05] Therefore, everything has a tax ramification. And what’s beautiful about free manufactured wall systems is they are considered equipment. And therefore, you get an accelerated depreciation versus conventional stick billing. And so that’s a huge consideration in my mind. The next question you had was about biosecurity. And I’m a real stickler on this. Most owners don’t seem to understand that the biggest problem. For biosecurity is human beings. We’re we’re the worst. So as I as I tell people all the time, if you’re walking down the street in the middle of the summer and you brush up against a tree. The odds are that you just transferred mold spores from that tree onto your clothes. Now you go into your grow facility. And you walk into your grow room, and you walk through your plants, now you trance-, and you brush up against some of your leaves… Now you’ve just transferred the mold spores from your shirt directly onto the plant. What what what are you thinking of? I mean, in my mind.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:49:52] I mean, in the grow facility that I had, I was as nuts as this. If you’re working in the grow room or you’re going into the grow room, before you go into the grow room, I want you showered.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:50:07] I want you taking off your clothes and putting on my scrubs that I have just washed. And you’re going to put on my anti-microbial shoes and you’re going to put on my hairnet before you go into the room. Then you’re going to walk from the changing room and you’re going to will open the door and there’s going to be positive pressure in the hallway going into your grow room. So when you open the door, the air is going to be pushed out so that bugs can’t fly in.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:50:45] Now you’re in the grow room grow area, but you’re not in the grow room yet. You’re in the grow area.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:50:50] You’re in the hallway. And now you’re going to go into the grow room and now, again, I’m going to have, again, positive pressure going from the grow room. To the hallway, again, biosecurity.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:51:08] Finally, I, I like air purifiers and are there are a number of them that are effective and that do work. You’ve got to be very careful, especially if you’re going to get into some sort of ion purification, you don’t want to, you don’t want to be creating negative ions and putting them on the air. You got to be careful about that. But there are scrubbers that will remove mold spores from the air because mold spores exist in the air naturally. They’re just everywhere. So now we’ve got to consider that. Another piece of biosecurity in my mind is I’m always very hesitant about people who buy clones. Because once you buy a clone, how is that coming into your facility? Is it coming in a dirt? Well, that dirt can have aphids in it. Those clones can have spider mites on them. What you eat? You got a quarantine and clean that. And I am completely opposed to doing that, again, I think you need to control all as many aspects of your grow as you possibly can. And another piece of of that biosecurity, again, goes back down to your environmental control systems. If you’re not segregating your environmental controls per room I think you are out of your mind. If if each room isn’t independently controlled, you’re making a mistake. You talk to any farmer, any farmer. I don’t care what crop he’s growing. He’ll tell you crop failure is inevitable.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:53:21] Well, we’re growing a crop. And so you need to segregate your rooms environmentally, so each room should have its own environmental control systems and not share that with another room, because now you’re transferring problems from one room to another room. So these things to me are are monumental decisions, and if they’re made incorrectly, you’re going to have nothing but trouble.
Brandon [00:54:02] That’s really good information. Thank you. But there’s just two pieces to just touch on quickly. You know, I my I always come back to a really big piece being, you know, the scalability. And I’ve brought it up a few times. But, you know, you’re starting with a 10,000 square foot grow. You can’t afford all the equipment that you would like to use in the 40,000 square foot grow. And then you don’t want to overpay the second time, right? You know, what’s in your mind, what’s the best way to scale cultivation business in the most feasible way that you’ve seen? You know, what would you recommend somebody who’s going through those sorts of troubles?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:54:42] Well, again, I go back to my pre-manufactured wall systems. I think that you really got to consider what, how are you going to expand one of the reasons I’d like to see manufactured walls is because most of them will go together without a saw, without a screwdriver, without a drill. And so I’m not creating dust or debris when I do my expansion. The other thing I think that is really important is that you build your foundation to accommodate your final grow. So what I mean by that is, if you’ve got a 40,000 square foot slab, where are your rooms going to go? Let’s put in all of my drainage and all of my water supply lines.
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:55:45] Now. I don’t have to, I know where they’re going to go. And I don’t want to, I don’t want to be cutting concrete. I don’t want to be adding things like that after I started growing. I think, you know, you need to plan on your electrical capacity for your full grow out, your full build out initially. So though those things are designed for your end result.
Brandon [00:56:25] That’s really great. So you would recommend doing all MEP basically for the 40,000 square foot and then maybe just building out the rooms for 10,000 of that?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:56:37] Well, I think the planning has to be done. Obviously, as we discussed earlier, the mechanical aspect of these drugs are probably the most extensive aspect of the grow. So I would plan my MEP and make accommodations for those. Final thought, those subsequent phases. But obviously, I’m not going to buy my air handlers now for those other rooms, because I can’t afford them now. But I would absolutely make the assumption that they will be coming. So I want the electrical. I want the electrical capacity there. I want the capacity to add the the air exchange pieces. Obviously, it’s going to be a big at a 40, 50,000 square foot facility, one of the things that should be considered and can’t always be considered, is at that large of a facility water chillers become very viable. But the problem is, is that they’re very expensive to install. And so what I have found is when I get into the conversation with people about those size grows, they can’t afford that water chiller up front or the boiler up front. And so then I end up, you know, with a massive bank of condensers. Well, you know, air condensers because they just can’t afford it, the water chilling system upfront.
Brandon [00:58:44] That’s great. Do you have a preferred water chiller?
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:58:51] You know, I, I, I don’t have, I mean, everything, I guess really comes down to, you know, there’s so many great, there’s a lot of good suppliers out there. I’m a huge fan of a four pipe gas reheat system. That’s my favorite type of system. And so obviously, if you can afford it, then you go with, you know, boilers and water chillers. If you can’t afford it, then you’ve got to go with some sort of gas reheat system. And but, yes, you can get, you know, absorption chillers. You know, one of the things I’m just talking about with a client right now, because the electrical costs are so high, and he’s got easy access to gas, natural gas, I’m saying, you know, what do you think about about a…
Dr. Bruce Granger [00:59:56] Well, geez, I just lost the name. What do you think about a…
Dr. Bruce Granger [01:00:02] Oh, my God. Just lost the name.
Will [01:00:04] CoGen?
Dr. Bruce Granger [01:00:05] Thank you. Thank you. What do you think about about a CoGen system? And, you know, I’m really a huge fan. When the electrical cost gets up into the fourth, above the 14, 13 cents a kilowatt hour and you can buy natural gas cheap, then that becomes again a real viable consideration if you can afford it.
Brandon [01:00:35] That’s great Bruce. That was a whole lot of information. And really appreciate your time.
Dr. Bruce Granger [01:00:40] Thanks so much. All right. Have a great day. All righty. Bye bye now.
Will [01:00:45] Take care. Bye.