Getting your commercial grow room setup right is essential. Commercial grow rooms should be set up to provide a clean space for cannabis to grow without interference from unpredictable weather and pests. Other benefits of a commercial grow room include higher yields and quality due to the ability to control every aspect of the environment. 

Commercial grow room costs can vary widely, but if setup properly you can expect to see huge ROI on your grow room investment. Firstly, make sure where you decide to grow is a feasible long-term option. This means looking into not only the monthly rent of your space but also the yearly cost to operate if you are working in a seasonally changing climate.  Local utility rates are one of the first data points to look at.

Because they are such an investment, you should consult experts in the field and talk to other local growers to get ahead of pitfalls and challenges.

This article will look at commercial grow room setup and costs to give you an idea of what you can expect when building your own commercial grow room:

How to Setup and Build a Commercial Grow Room

Commercial grow room setup all starts with the design. A proper design should streamline workflow and allow for the best movement around your facility. You will then need to take into consideration the spacing and height of your trays for ease of access without sacrificing space (and yield). Many growers will also separate their growing areas to reduce contamination. Also, consider how you will secure your facility to reduce theft. A trained grow room design professional will be able to help you understand every facet of your grow, plan your goals and create a layout that utilizes the space and is functional. 

setting up a cannabis cultivation

If you’re a sole proprietor, small group, or have little to no experience with grow room design, hiring an advisor is a must. Setting up a commercial grow room is no small feat, the more experienced help you can get the better. When looking for a grow room design firm, you must do your research, and select a partner that has your CAPEX and OPEX in mind before you begin design. 

Equipment for a Successful Commercial Grow Room Setup

Growers have the option of DIYing their grow room, or investing in a turnkey facility. By opting to source your equipment in a DIY manner, you will be able to save money with your startup costs, however this method can be less reliable and will have a longer construction process. When choosing to start your grow room with a turnkey facility you will be able to begin the growing process much quicker with fully-integrated systems and quality equipment. Not to mention that distributors and advisors can get you the best prices on your equipment. Either option provides unique benefits and drawbacks which can be mitigated by working with a trusted cannabis partner like GroAdvisor.

Whether you decide to DIY your commercial grow room or opt for a turnkey facility, it’s a good idea to understand your equipment investment and ensure you are choosing the products that will not only increase your yield and product quality, but also pay off in the long-term. Cannabis is a high value crop, selling in some cases for $4,000 per pound, so tailoring your grow room equipment to support the cannabis growth cycle will allow you to grow long into the future of your business.


Commercial Grow Room Setup – HVAC and Dehumidifiers

When looking to create and maintain the ideal environment for your cannabis plants, HVAC systems are a must. Not only do you want to look for a system that can regulate your grow room temperature, you’ll want a system that can regulate and remove humidity from the atmosphere so that your plant does not pull the moisture from the air into its leaves instead of the roots.

cannabis mep engineers (image provided by AessenseGrows)

Industrial grade dehumidifiers range from $1,900-$5,400 while a single commercial grade HVAC system can cost $1,500-$3,500/Ton depending on the systems features. Higher end HVAC systems will have added sterilization and redundancy tools to improve the overall operation of your facility.


Commercial Grow Room Setup – Lighting

Good horticultural lighting comes in different forms, and you’ll likely have many types and size options to choose from. However, LED lighting will be your best option for growing cannabis in an enclosed grow room. LED lights are more energy efficient, outputting more photons with less electricity than more traditional options like CMH or HPS. LEDs also emit less heat than other units, having less effect on your overall grow room temperature. Another benefit of these lights is they provide your cannabis crop with your ideal spectrum of light output and can be highly adjustable to your crop’s needs.

cannabis fertigation system

Commercial Grow Room Setup – Air Filtration and Odor Control 

Keeping the air inside your grow room clean is an oft-overlooked aspect of indoor growing. Especially when growing in a traditional soil medium, with HVAC units running constantly kicking up dust and particulate matter into the air, air filtration is essential to provide your plants with a clean and safe environment. Air filtration systems for commercial agriculture are fairly similar, however cannabis cultivators especially would benefit from the use of an odor eliminating filtration system. These systems use an additional activated carbon filter to adsorb the smell of your plants and other cultivation materials like fertilizer and nutrients.


Commercial Grow Room Setup – Fertigation

Highly recommended for your commercial grow room, a fertigation system will be an added benefit by delivering accurate nutrients and cutting back on labor. Fertigation is especially helpful for cannabis growers because of the consistency you can provide across harvests. You will also have the ability to monitor the pH level of your water and soil to ensure your plants absorb the proper nutrients.

Cost: A fertigation system can cost $5,000 to upwards of $20,000 depending on how large your facility is and how many sensors you need to accurately monitor plant moisture levels and pH.


Commercial Grow Room Setup – Control Systems

Control systems will bring consistency to your crops, and prevent unnecessary downtime, by applying set environmental parameters and alerting you of any system malfunctions. While not an essential piece of grow room equipment, a control system will allow you to save time and money monitoring and tending to your crop by automating the entire process. This is extremely helpful for cannabis cultivators who, again rely on their crop’s success to maintain their operations and provide consistent results.


technician setting up grow room

Cost Expectations and Considerations: Setting Up Your Commercial Grow Room

Depending on which of the above you choose for your commercial grow room setup the cost per square foot of your facility can vary. Taking into account equipment, rent, and construction, the startup costs for cannabis grow rooms can range from $130-$250 per square foot. These prices can also fluctuate depending on where you decide to grow and how much of the facility you put together yourself. 

It’s important that you also consider the other costs associated with cannabis growing including licenses, labor, and growing materials like medium, nutrients, and monthly utilities. Ongoing costs like labor and utilities can also vary from month to month depending on your needs and the external environment’s effect on things like temperature and humidity. If you are looking to cut your startup costs consider reaching out to a trusted cannabis grow room partner. They will be able to provide you with expert advice on your equipment as well as discounts on equipment from brands they work with.