In this episode of FAQ with AGIQ, we’re going to talk about when you should load your newly built rooms, or how early can you safely load your newly built rooms.
In today's FAQ with AGIQ, I'm going to talk about when you should load your newly built rooms, or how early can you safely load your newly built rooms. We get asked this a lot. It's been a long construction cycle... money is expensive. All of those things matter, and you just want to turn around in your investment and get to what you're good at, which is growing plants as quickly as possible. And I totally get it. The opportunity cost on a building is something like $2 per square foot per day. So, growing sooner matters. That said, there are risks associated with growing too soon, and you need to hit that right balance point so that you don't end up with a failed crop early in the system. So when should you load your newly built rooms?
Well, obviously lighting needs to be in place - can't grow plants without light. A fact needs to be in place because if your lights are on, you need HVAC. And if your plants are growing, you need dehumidification. Those two are non-negotiable. Trays and benching should be in place. I mean, I've certainly seen growers grow temporarily on things like Costco folding tables. It's not ideal, but it does work. So, understand that if you're going to start that way, it's not going to be your final configuration, and that's fine.
Fertigation is another one where, again, you can probably get away without it being fully installed, or fully started because you can feed plants manually. And if you're only doing it in a couple of rooms to start that revenue stream or just start certification testing or what have you. That's very doable.
There are some considerations, though, more broadly to the building, things like electrical. You want to ensure that even if you're building a stage out, your electricians are absolutely finished with whatever part of the building you're growing in. You don't want your electricians turning off power to the building as they install a new transformer or whatever they're going to do without telling you about it.
This is the kind of thing that industrial electricians tend not to give any warnings. If they're working on a part of the building, they're just going to do whatever safest for them. And that's very common. So, you want to ensure that, you know, things like that you're not interfering with the construction schedule overall. And you probably don't want to tell those electricians that, hey, you know, you can only turn off power at night.
You don't want to delay the balance of your building for one early room. So, you know, stuff like that absolutely needs to be in place. The other thing that's really important is even if you don't have full building automation integration, that your safeties are in place, that your lights have overheat protection on and activated and configured appropriately, that you've got some kind of monitoring or control of that room.
So in the event of a power outage, in the event of a failure of some component that you've got some way of knowing what's happening in that room and that you don't arrive at the facility the next morning to a surprise, oh, my lights didn't turn on and now my photo period is out of whack or my system wasn't controlling to the space condition, or if my sensors weren't configured properly or whatever. You need to be aware that you know, running in that pre/fully built way is a much more manual way of doing things. And you need to be a lot more active and judicious in how you monitor that room.
It is doable but beware of all of those things and we've talked about treating a room like a system. In that case, you are the linchpin in that system, and you need to make sure that that you're there and active.
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