Few things are more important than the foundation you choose to cultivate your cannabis plants. And if you’re designing a greenhouse, plenty of customizable options can suit your needs, based on your business model and climate zone. Rough Bros.’ Jacob Carson outlines a few factors to consider if you’re building or retrofitting this type of structure.

1. What are the major considerations when considering a greenhouse?

Three things cultivators should consider are the size of the greenhouse, odor control and regional climate. The size of a greenhouse may seem straightforward, but a constant mistake made in the industry is greenhouses with too small of a headhouse, or support facility, so that the greenhouse is unable to run efficiently. If odor needs to be controlled, the greenhouse will need to be closed, and therefore cannot vent, which is fundamental in traditional greenhouse environmental control. Additionally, if the humidity in a region is too high, fan and pad cooling will not work, and mechanical cooling will need to take its place.

2. How does greenhouse design impact cultivation?

I compare greenhouses in good, better and best options: high tunnel facilities being good, and tall glass venlo being the best. In smaller greenhouses, you will often not see a headhouse, which can hurt the cannabis quality, as it will need to be moved from place to place as it is processed. Another important factor is to have a tall greenhouse so that there is more buffer capacity and room for fluctuation in the cultivator’s climate.

3. What structure materials are available for cultivators?

HighLite Venlo structure

Most structures are made from steel and aluminum, but what they are covered by is highly customizable. On the sidewalls, popular options for cannabis greenhouses are insulated panel or black poly carbonate. For the roof of a greenhouse, customers can explore poly or glass options. I recommend diffused glass.

4. What solutions exist for managing greenhouse temperature?

Vents will allow the greenhouse to reach ambient temperature; fan and pad will allow for the greenhouse to reduce ambient temperature by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (with low humidity); and mechanical cooling, while costlier, allows for complete control. To warm a greenhouse, unit heaters and hydronic boiler heat are options: unit heaters for smaller greenhouses, and boilers for larger builds.

5. Can you speak to the ROI of a greenhouse structure?

The ROI will depend heavily on the size and quality of the greenhouse structure. Operating costs of a greenhouse compared to an indoor grow are the most important factor for a customer’s investment portfolio, in my opinion. As the price of wholesale cannabis continue to drop, there will come a time when inefficient grows are no longer economically viable.