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How to Choose the Right Grow Room HVAC Consultant

Harvest Integrated

08.16.21

From pre-design planning to setup coordination and recommendations, having the right consultant is important.

Planning costs, design costs, installation costs, maintenance and repair costs, upgrade costs… The list of expenses incurred in the setup and maintenance of a grow room is never-ending. Hiring an experienced grow room HVAC consultant is another cost to add to the list, but instead of looking at it as yet another expense, it’s better to think about all the time and cost savings you can achieve in the long term. The value of working with the right HVAC consultant trumps the costs of reduced yield, failed crops, and other environment-related problems caused by an underperforming HVAC system any day. 

Why Is Getting the Right HVAC Consultant Important?

A small basement or closet grow op can do without a consultant. Ensuring proper ventilation in addition to putting together an air conditioning unit and a few grow lights can be enough to run a good operation. On the other hand, a commercial grow operation in a regulated market requires a more precise setup, especially when it comes to a grow room climate system. The system has an impact on nearly every other aspect of the facility including product quality; not getting it right is a weak link that can easily become expensive. This is why it’s important to effectively coordinate with cannabis cultivation facility contractors who know how things work and understand what’s needed to design and implement a successful grow operation. 

A grow room HVAC consultant will provide the insight you need to make educated decisions and avoid skimping on any important details. The consultant’s work can cover everything from choosing the right HVAC system for your grow room to maintaining the system, and ultimately, getting a positive ROI and continued growth from the investment. An HVAC consultant will be able to advise you on the solution that will give you the most productivity and efficiency along with any tips to save you money and other resources along the way.

It’s a great idea to hire a cannabis HVAC consultant before you start setting up and implementing your system. Correcting mistakes down the road is usually costly whereas having a consultant on board from the beginning can help you avoid mistakes and work around challenges before you spend money unnecessarily. A consultant will essentially help you determine what does and doesn’t work. 

That said, finding a consultant who truly knows what they are doing is not always straightforward since various cannabis consultants and cannabis HVAC consulting companies will be vying for your attention. But do they all have the expertise? Do they have the answers you need to ensure your operation succeeds? Unfortunately, there are no cookie-cutter answers to this. You need to exercise some due diligence before you start working with a consultant. A good way to determine if a consultant is worth your time is to look out for some important characteristics. 

What to Look for in a Cannabis HVAC Consultant

1. An understanding of the pre-design process

The HVAC design process is complex, requiring a lot of skill and experience to execute. But behind every successful design implementation is a sound pre-design phase. Designing a system without going through some pre-planning will likely result in errors. As such, if you get a consultant who comes in without any understanding of the design foundation and is ready to just go with whatever you have, then you should thank the consultant and move on. Failure to consider the unique attributes of your required HVAC system and your specific operation objectives before getting into the design is unacceptable. 

A good consultant will be able to lead a rigorous pre-design process and be happy to guide you through it. Before any designing starts, the consultant should be able to help you form a cohesive understanding of your design goals, priorities, expectations and system capabilities. For example, the evaluation of system capabilities should take into consideration elements such as redundancy, load calculation and integrated components since they will have a direct impact on how well the HVAC system performs. 

The consultant should have experience handling budgetary matters as well. Financial constraints are a big problem in the cannabis sector so it’s not uncommon for grow op management to take up any opportunity to reduce expenditure. For instance, management may try to reduce costs by underbuilding an HVAC system, particularly if they don’t see any value in investing in a specialized system that costs more than a standard traditional system.

A good consultant will address such issues by highlighting the repercussions of trimming the budget at the expense of performance while taking into consideration any given views and opinions. By taking an intermediary role, the consultant helps eliminate problems that could crop up later as a result of opting for the wrong system. 

Having an understanding of the pre-design process means that the consultant can offer a comprehensive service for the benefit of the grow op. 

design inspiration on a whiteboard

2. Helping with the designing of the right system for your operation

An experienced cannabis HVAC consultant should be able to handle a challenge. This is because not all grow room HVAC installations are simple. In fact, most are complicated and normally involve a lot of intricate detail. If you want to construct a specialized HVAC solution, your consultant must have the expertise to help you design a system that works for your operation. 

For one, the consultant must be able to coordinate the people involved in HVAC design including architects and engineers. The ability to coordinate people and teams should not be underestimated since the tendency to collaborate naturally decreases as the size of a team increases. Collaboration may be even harder when teams try to tackle a difficult task such as HVAC design.

For example, when it comes to HVAC MEP engineers, mechanical engineers will need to collaborate with electrical engineers to ensure that the HVAC equipment’s electrical requirements are aligned well with the mechanical aspects. Unexpected bottlenecks experienced by one engineering department can affect other departments and throw the entire project off. Throw in some differences of opinion among the teams and the need for a good consultant becomes even more apparent. 

Failure to properly organize the various teams and elements of the design process will probably result in catastrophic mistakes that may be difficult to come from, e.g. the construction and installation of a poor design. A consultant with an understanding of HVAC design will be able to bring together the team involved in designing and setting up the HVAC solution; each team member will understand what the system entails before a design approach is agreed on. Such extensive coordination at the design level makes certain that there are no costly surprises or conflicting ideas about the system after the design is complete. 

3. Spearheading even bigger collaboration during system setup

After the pre-designing and designing phases comes the installation. This stage usually involves several cannabis cultivation facility contractors including designers, HVAC MEP engineers, equipment manufacturers, and professionals who verify that everything is being undertaken correctly. 

At this stage, a consultant should be able to coordinate an even larger group of people, ensuring that everyone involved in installing the HVAC  system understands what needs to be done and how it’s to be done. To put it another way, the consultant should be able to ensure that everyone involved in the system’s setup is adequately equipped to do their job in order to avoid any inconsistencies and delays. 

4. Great communication and attention to detail

Another top requirement you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for an HVAC consultant is a high level of attention to detail. HVAC involves a lot of components and HVAC performance depends on several variables. Understanding all the complexities to be able to offer practical advice and solutions requires close attention to detail. Since an HVAC consultant will have to consistently follow up on project details while assisting with things like decision making, growth, and HVAC MEP coordination, good organizational and communication skills are crucial. 

A consultant should also have stellar communication skills because when all is said and done, their job is to be consultative. This means that they should be able to take you through what you need to set up an efficient HVAC solution that optimizes your grow room’s climate control. A good consultant will never force you into making rushed decisions. On the contrary, they should help you diagnose problems you may have, suggest viable solutions and provide logical recommendations where necessary. Doing all this requires experience and great communication skills on the consultant’s part. 

Working With A Reputable Grow Room HVAC Consultant

Ensuring that the process of setting up your HVAC system runs smoothly with the least amount of problems and maximum efficiency is not easy. Getting it right starts with partnering with an experienced partner, such as Harvest Integrated, whose team is made up of engineers, builders and manufacturers who are well-versed in the workings of specialized HVAC systems. 

A team with extensive experience in addressing the challenges and unique demands of controlled agriculture environments can support all your HVAC needs from the pre-design phase to the setup, maintenance and scaling stages. Whether you own an existing grow facility or you’re building a new facility, a reputable cannabis HVAC consulting partner will help you ace your grow room HVAC design, sizing, setup and upkeep for a productive operation.