How Installation Can Make or Break Your Indoor Farm with Keith DeVore
Keith DeVore is the president, insulated metal panel expert, and innovative problem-solver at PermaTherm. Basically, Keith is the go-to-guy for solving complicated construction problems for indoor farming projects.
As a manufacturer of insulated metal panels used by farmers and cultivators, PermaTherm is a cornerstone in the indoor farming industry. The indoor farming industry is projected to grow by 9.4% over the next 5 years, growing in to a $1.38 billion industry by 2027. We were thrilled to speak with him about the various construction complications facing hydroponic and vertical farming.
Indoor Farming Q&A with Keith
Q: In your experience, what holds an indoor farm or hydroponic farm back from optimal performance?
KD: The biggest issue we see time and time again is improper installation. We live in a DIY world. We receive calls most often when a farmer or cultivator has tried to install their panels on their own, or they have hired an inexperienced installer who isn’t familiar with the PermaTherm product.
Q: Why is that such a big problem for our customers?
KD: First, there is the issue of efficiency. A vetted PermaTherm installer, someone who is part of our Network of Trades People, knows the product backwards and forwards. He can save a business owner time and money by doing it right the first time.
Secondly is the attention to detail. Recently we had a customer who self-installed panels for a hydroponic farm. He left several unsealed penetration points in his ceiling. It was a very expensive mistake.
Q: What happened with his hydroponic farm?
KD: Like all produce crops, plants absorb air, water, and nutrients from the environment surrounding them. The unsealed openings created exposure to rust in the system above, and water began seeping through the openings with every rainfall and his plants began dying from iron toxicity, picking up enough heavy metals to kill the crop.
He lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of crops and was left with nothing he could deliver to his buyers.
Q: How did he resolve the issue?
KD: PermaTherm provided a free onsite consultation to the farmer. Our panel consultant was able to assess the construction issues and provide a plan for reinstallation. With the help of a trusted panel installer, the PermaTherm consultant was able to guarantee a proper installation of the metal panel system for the vertical farm.
Thanks to the work of PermaTherm on his existing structure, the farmer felt confident moving forward with a future expansion project. As his farm continued to grow, he returned to the consultant to purchase further panel products and receive project support. Now, he operates 5 large vertical farms, producing an exponential return on investment with each harvest.
Hydroponic and indoor farming produce a living product. Fruits, vegetables, and other consumable plants are vulnerable, and the quality of the environment they grow in determines how safe a product is for consumption. A PermaTherm panel consultant and trusted installer from PermaTherm’s Network of Trades People will account for potential complications during the construction process of your indoor farm, mitigating risk for your customers and your business.
Learn more about producing food-safe products with PermaTherm’s NSF Certified panels here.
Did you know…
In 2020 the US Department of Agriculture’s new Office of Urban Agriculture offered more than $3 million in initial grants to help farmers meet the growing demand surrounding hydroponic and vertical faming facilities. Learn more here.