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The Best Cannabis Facility Design Utilizes Automation

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Shayne Taker

The cannabis market is thriving. Driven by both legalization and growing demand, the value of the industry is expected to reach $56 billion globally by 2026. But as the market expands, it becomes more competitive. Capitalizing on the opportunities within this industry requires smart decisions and wise investments that improve efficiency and maximize yield. That starts with cannabis facility design that utilizes automation and integration between facility systems.

Integrating Automation in Cannabis Facility Design

Internet of Things (IoT) and smart building technology are transforming commercial cannabis cultivation. Growers who integrate these elements in their cannabis facility design are not confined to the limitations of human management. You no longer have to negotiate the challenges of manually managing multiple devices in a fragile operation. Instead, you gain extraordinary automation capabilities that improve performance and yield while reducing expenses. 

Compared to more traditional approaches, smart cannabis facility design can significantly lower operating costs in multiple ways. In a Canadian smart facility, for example, savings included:

  • Energy use: 90%
  • Fertilizer use: 40%
  • Water collection: 90%
  • Labor costs: 50% 

In addition to increasing efficiency and cutting costs, smart automation minimizes crop loss, boosts yields, and improves consistency in quality. 

Irrigation and Feeding

Nutrient intake is one of the most important elements in cannabis facility design. Integrating automated systems with a smart building platform that continuously collects and analyzes data allows growers to make more informed decisions on irrigation and feeding. While cannabis-specific analytics software is available, companies that specialize in smart building integration and custom software with machine learning capabilities are a better choice.   

Fully automating irrigation using a smart building platform allows growers to:

  • Introduce exact quantities of nutrients.
  • Understand how different cannabis strains react to different levels of water and nutrients. 
  • Measure and maintain proper nutrient levels through different growth stages to prevent overfeeding or underfeeding.  
  • Schedule irrigation times. 

These capabilities increase yield and optimize water usage. Cutting-edge cannabis facility design can also allow for the reuse of water, creating further efficiency. 

Lighting

Growers who integrate automated lighting in cannabis facility design can schedule day and night cycles while regulating intensity to create ideal growing conditions. Smart technology allows you to make the most out of your lighting system.

LED lighting is quickly replacing HID lights for indoor commercial grows. LED’s are far more energy efficient, give off less heat, and last as much as ten times longer than their HID counterparts. However, advances in lighting go beyond bulb choice; commercial growers are also becoming more sophisticated with their lighting strategies. For example, a recent survey of North American cannabis cultivators found that 72% percent of growers are now measuring the amount of light their plants receive, up from 55% in 2016. Smart building software makes these measurements meaningful and opens up opportunities for advanced automation. This approach minimizes reliance on human intervention and supports peak performance at all times.

Climate Control

IoT sensors and smart controllers are an excellent way to control temperature, air velocity, humidity, and other factors that affect artificial indoor ecosystems. The most advanced cannabis facility design incorporates smart sensors that identify microclimates within each zone, allowing growers to make informed decisions on where to add fans, heaters, and other air circulation equipment. With a smart building platform, you can take your operations a step further by strategically automating equipment to deliver better quality and higher yields. Platforms with advanced fault detection and diagnostics also allow you to implement predictive maintenance, facilitate troubleshooting, and improve energy management

Prioritizing Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity must be a top priority when integrating smart technology into cannabis facility design. Without proper protocols, IoT introduces significant vulnerabilities, including ransomware attacks. Recent research revealed that half of the cannabis companies evaluated had either poor or moderate levels of cybersecurity, leaving them unprepared for such threats.

Basic cybersecurity protocols include:

  • Use strong passwords.
  • Do not use the same passwords when logging in to different accounts. 
  • Employ two-factor authentication. 
  • Employees working remotely should use a VPN (virtual personal network).
  • Implement proper cybersecurity training for employees. 
  • Install security updates on all software and connected equipment. 
  • Use leading-edge technology to protect against cyberthreats.

Choosing services and software designed to protect your facility is not just a wise investment, it’s essential to your business.

Optimizing Cannabis Facility Design

A truly smart commercial growing operation requires that systems work together seamlessly to allow for building optimization and mitigate environmental risk. Unifying systems and integrating a smart building platform allows for intelligent automation of irrigation, lighting, climate control, and other critical functions. 

Buildings IOT provides a communication highway that allows all devices and platforms to interact with each other to support plant growth while monitoring and maintaining optimal energy outputs. Our innovative solutions also give you deep insight into building conditions and equipment performance so you can make better decisions. With this cutting-edge approach, you have the tools to thrive in the cannabis industry.

Buildings IOT offers state-of-the-art software and services to optimize cannabis facility design and implement smart automation strategies. Contact our team of experts to learn more about what we can do for you.

 

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