IMPs: The Perfect Match for Cannabis Cultivation
The world of cannabis in the U.S. has changed drastically in the last decade. The plant and its products, which were illegal in nearly every state ten years ago, are now decriminalized and legal to some extent in most states. In states where cannabis is legal, business is booming. In fact, the U.S. cannabis industry is now worth an estimated $61 billion.
With demand higher than ever, supply is racing to match, with investors and entrepreneurs entering the business, and cultivation facilities starting up all over the country. What’s more, competition is fierce to grow the most, to produce the strongest product and isolate the best strains. Since this isn’t just a plant, but a serious cash crop, investors and cultivators need reliable environments in which to grow. That means indoors is almost always the choice.
To cultivate cannabis, growers require precise control of all environmental factors. Temperature and humidity must be just right – regardless of the weather outside. Lighting needs to provide energy to the plants as well as artificial seasonal cues created by precise day/night cycle rates. Air flow is crucial as well. The ability to precisely control all these atmospheric conditions can make the critical competitive difference between a mediocre crop and one that busts through the saturated market.
All the required equipment to monitor and maintain these conditions – not to mention the plants themselves – is highly valuable. So, cultivators also require discretion. They want low-visibility buildings, with minimal windows. Something that blends in.
To summarize, cannabis cultivators need:
- A high degree of temperature and humidity control
- Quick construction to get products into the marketplace ASAP
- Economical construction to realize maximal return
- Inconspicuous appearances
Metl-Span’s insulated metal panel (IMP) offerings are a perfect fit. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a construction method more suited to the needs of commercial cannabis cultivators.
A Prime Example
The benefits of metal construction are quickly becoming apparent to cultivators, as well. When Happy Valley Gloucester, a cultivator and dispensary in the coastal city of Cape Ann, MA., needed to build a cultivation facility, they reached out to New England’s premiere, full-service pre-engineered building firm, SPACE Bldgs. Doug Stokken, SPACE’s Director of Business Development & Projects said, “Happy Valley wanted a very high quality, pre-engineered structure with clear spans, height capabilities and a high degree of construction speed” – requirements typical of cannabis cultivation facilities. Of course, cultivators would also need precise control of environmental conditions in the facility’s rooms.
Each of Happy Valley’s requirements is met elegantly in IMP construction. IMPs have long been used in industries where precise temperature control is required, such as cold storage and food processing. The same characteristics that make them ideal for these applications work for cannabis cultivation as well. As Stokken explained, “You’re able to achieve a consistent thermal uniformity across the wall section, and then the same with airflow. You can seal off the building very well.”
Using Metl-Span’s 24 gauge embossed Striated 2.5” insulated metal wall panels, along with the 26 gauge CF Light Mesa insulated metal panels, SPACE was able to achieve remarkable R-values. The Polar White exterior and interior finish helped maintain required indoor temperatures. The panel’s built-in vapor barriers mean once the IMPs were in place, no other insulation was required – and no additional water, air or vapor barriers.
Pushing the Envelope
IMPs were also able to provide the speed of installation required by Happy Valley. In an industry that’s taking off fast, getting into operation as soon as possible is critical. The envelope itself was completed in approximately three and a half months, meaning Happy Valley could move in and start installing necessary cultivation equipment.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
IMPs aren’t only an ideal solution for a building envelope. They are also perfect for partitioning or dividing up interior rooms. Different strains and crops in different stages of development have distinct atmospheric needs. Stokken explained, “You can use insulated metal panels to make all the separate rooms, in which you can create temperature and humidity and air flow-controlled environments for the specific product in each of those rooms.”
Across the country, cultivators are angling to find the best growing methods, locations and spaces. Many are moving into existing vacant spaces and retrofitting them for grow operations. But what they don’t realize is most vacant space simply can’t provide the R-values, environmental control, economy, collateral load capabilities and customizability of metal construction.
It’s simply a matter of education. Cannabis cultivators are always seeking the best methods for every aspect of growing, harvesting, processing and distribution. Once they realize how IMPs can provide superior insulation properties, enhanced longevity, expedited construction, all-in-one building envelopes, code and load criteria, customizable finishes and infinitely cleanable interiors – and do it all in a surprisingly economical way – there will hardly be a grower choosing any other method.
To learn more about how Metl-Span can provide commercial cannabis cultivators with ideal growing environments, contact a Metl-Span representative near you.
Metl-Span is a NUCOR® company. (NYSE: NUE ); delivering high-quality, durable and energy-efficient insulated metal panels designed for unparalleled performance to stand the test of time.
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