Original Article as seen in MG Magazine

Properly regulating a grow room environment can be tricky, costly, and environmentally wasteful. Indoor growers have far more control over the environment where their plants thrive, making it imperative to find proper and measured guidance when considering establishing or retrofitting a cultivation facility. Whether your grow room is 5,000 or 50,000 square feet, it’s essential to take efficiency into account before beginning to construct any hermetically-sealed environment with the goal of reducing energy expenditures and CO2 consumption. PermaTherm has worked in the controlled-environment business since 1987. With decades of experience in the highly-regulated food processing and production industry, the team has developed extensive knowledge and insights into energy-saving methods for sustainable cannabis operations.

One area that sets PermaTherm apart is its experience in hermetically-sealed environments: air and gas-tight enclosures designed to prioritize preservation, conservation, and quality products under pressure.

hermetically-sealed environment
Photo: Waschen Holdings

Guidance from design to closeout

When it comes to building or retrofitting an indoor grow facility, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of temperature-controlled environments — or rather, to hire a team with the required combination of knowledge and experience in this highly specialized field.

PermaTherm’s experts are experts in natural threats to environments and products (powdery mold, mildew, and spider mites, for example), possible thermal complications and strategies necessary for producing quality crops (incorporating and preserving CO2 in the grow room), and mitigating moisture or water damage. The company also maintains relationships with installers and vendors across the country to help accurately execute a cultivator’s vision.

“With PermaTherm, we are able to keep our climate-controlled rooms at a neutral temperature,” said Lindsey Shaw, chief operations officer at Brighterside Vertical Farms. “CO2 is very expensive. PermaTherm panels allow us to pump the room to our desired levels without any loss afterward. From a cost perspective, that is really where we see the advantages.”

Without taking the factors of proper climate and environment into account, your plants live in a precarious state with a high risk of damage. It benefits grow owners to partner with a company that can help increase crop production, product output, and overall profit margin.

“Attention to detail is vital when planning a successful grow room buildout. There are countless ways a facility can be negatively impacted if not properly prepared for,” says Keith DeVore, president of PermaTherm. “On the surface, it may seem excessively meticulous, but our goal is to provide the best hermetically-sealed environment possible for our customers.”

PermaTherm’s exceptional level of attention to detail comes from decades of experience in related industries: countless trial-and-error sessions that reveal exactly how important it is to account for every aspect of the process before building comes close to commencing.

Photo: Peninsula Gardens Greenhouse

Prioritizing hermetically-sealed spaces

Many operators are simultaneously worried about product preservation and keeping the smell of cannabis closely contained, especially if the grow facility is located in the middle of a busy area. Hermetic seals address both concerns in one go, ensuring equipment protection, product preservation, and a longer lifespan for the facility and its valuable contents.

Hermetically-sealed spaces are completely closed off from any outside environmental impacts, ensuring air and gas cannot escape or enter the room where they would disrupt a perfectly balanced biosphere. The seals to accomplish the task typically are made from highly durable glass, ceramic, fluoropolymers, or epoxy, providing years of reliable service under high pressure.

“Recently we spoke with a cultivation facility designer who was pumping CO2 into their grow rooms. By using PermaTherm’s insulated metal panel system in her newest facility she was able to cut costs by 28 percent, reducing the amount of CO2 needed for effective output. When you consider how expensive CO2 usage can be, a 28 percent savings makes a difference,” said DeVore.

Major benefits of hermetic sealing include:

Minimizing leakage or diffusion

Gas is able to permeate a building’s barrier through leakage or diffusion, which can easily occur when there are defects like cracks in the onsite materials or a difference in pressure between the outside and inside of a room. Hermetic sealing helps mitigate these issues, fighting the risk of leakage or diffusion with high-quality materials designed and installed properly.

Ability to withstand low to high altitudes and pressures

Depending on the grow room, hermetic sealing may be required to avoid risks that occur with extremes in altitude and pressure. Designed to withstand such environments, hermetic sealing will work to stabilize pressure on both sides of the system, which ultimately helps minimize the risk of diffusion in places like Denver, with an altitude of more than 5,000 feet, or Indio, California, where many large-scale indoor grows operate below sea level at very high temperatures.

Ability to withstand extreme temperatures

If the grow room is located in an environment prone to extreme temperatures, hermetic sealing is essential. In excessively hot or cold locations, a hermetic seal will ensure cultivators can maintain the same temperature with efficiency no matter what changes occur outside.

Ability to operate effectively regardless of the environment

Temperature isn’t the only object of concern when it comes to indoor grow rooms. In temperamental environments that experience dramatic changes in humidity, sunlight, or other external factors, hermetic sealing will provide stability all year long.

Minimizing CO2 usage

Finally and perhaps most importantly, proper hermetic sealing allows operators to minimize the use of CO2, a popular but costly substance growers use to kickstart flower production and boost bud size. CO2 is expensive and becoming more difficult to acquire with global shortages affecting businesses in many industries. For growers trying to manage costs, cutting down on the chemical compound simply isn’t a realistic solution. Opting for a hermetically-sealed environment can help minimize the volume of CO2 purchased without having a negative impact on product quality or output.

Planning ahead to prevent high costs and increase sustainable output

The planning process can be incredibly complex for new cultivation facilities and those expanding to add additional grow rooms. PermaTherm offers an experienced helping hand. With a full toolbox of tried-and-true methods to cut costs, reduce environmental impact, and increase output, the company is positioned to help cannabis cultivators design and build environmentally controlled grow rooms that contribute to the ultimate goal of the cannabis industry: to maximize profit while being sustainable, responsible, and as cost-efficient as possible.