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Ceres brings ‘self-heating’ greenhouse technology to cannabis industry

Ceres’ cannabis greenhouse designs build off the company’s years of research and development creating ‘self-heating’ greenhouses for indoor vegetable production. The Ceres system pairs an energy-efficient greenhouse with their patent-pending ‘self-heating’ technology called a Ground to Air Heat Transfer (GAHT) system. With this combination, Ceres is poised to deliver the most energy-efficient and sustainable indoor growing solution available to cannabis growers to date.

The GAHT system re-circulates hot air from the greenhouse through a specialized underground heat exchanger. The heat exchanger transfers excess daytime heat to the soil underground, where it is stored and can later be used for heating during cold periods. In effect, a GAHT system allows greenhouse growers to take advantage of the natural greenhouse effect – the intense heat that builds up during the day in a greenhouse. Whereas most cannabis greenhouses vent this hot air outside (introducing other climate control issues), a GAHT system enables the structure to store this heat, and use it for heating later. By using the natural thermal storage properties of the soil, and low-grade geothermal energy of the earth just 4’ underground, the greenhouse structure is capable of providing its own heating and cooling. The result is a renewable energy system capable of cutting energy costs on average by 60%, allowing cannabis growers to create truly ‘green’ year-round growing operation.

While ground to air heat exchangers have been used extensively in commercial greenhouses – often called climate batteries – they are unprecedented in the cannabis industry, and hold the potential to shift the economics of cannabis production nation-wide. Currently, energy costs is the third largest expense for greenhouse growers in North America. Cannabis growers face even higher energy costs due to the precise climate control standards. For instance, cultivating 1 kilogram of cannabis in a conventional grow room requires the energy equivalent of driving an SUV from LA to New York eleven times. This heavy carbon footprint has drawn intense scrutiny to the cannabis industry. Now, energy-efficient greenhouses and GAHT technology are enabling producers to grow more sustainably and cost-effectively. They open the doors for producers to grow year-round and cost-effectively, even in harsh climates like the northern US and Canada.

The litmus test for Ceres’ design and technology has been a 3,000 sq. ft. cannabis greenhouse located high in the Rocky Mountains, at 10,000 ft. elevation. For the past year, it has produced year-round with minimal energy costs, despite the outdoor winter temperatures of -10F. During a particularly cold week in April 2016, for example, the greenhouse never needed traditional heating, despite sub-freezing outdoor temperatures. The greenhouse’s internal recirculating heat was sufficient to keep the greenhouse above 65F, massively reducing heating costs.

Other greenhouse design features include advanced glazing materials, passive solar design, highly insulated and reflective walls, smart controllers, and automated light deprivation systems. Compared to other greenhouses on the market, Ceres state-of-the-art greenhouse creates an improved growing environment that prioritizes both energy-efficiency and higher yields.

Revolutionary solution for cannabis odors
An added benefit of Ceres self-heating greenhouses is that the GAHT system reduces the need for expensive odor control systems, mandated in many areas by regulations. In many municipalities, indoor cannabis growers are required to reduce or completely eliminate odors from the greenhouse. Because ventilation is essential in standard greenhouses to remove excess heat, growers are forced to install expensive and cumbersome air filtration systems to treat exhausted air. By storing the excess heat underground, GAHT systems obviate the need for large ventilation systems with air filters. “We were pleased to discover the unexpected odor control benefit of our self-heating greenhouses,” said Marc Plinke, Ceres’ President.

GAHT systems have also been shown to increase indoor CO2 levels, commonly supplemented by growers for optimal growth. Instead of constantly ventilating CO2-enriched air outside, the GAHT system allows the greenhouse to retain CO2, creating a controlled, optimized growing environment at much lower costs.

Now, through strategic partnerships with national manufacturers, Ceres will offer its energy-efficient greenhouses to licensed commercial cannabis growers at competitive prices. The prefabricated greenhouses are available in standard and custom sizes, shipped nationwide, and can be assembled on-site by a small crew. In addition, the company will continue to provide custom greenhouse design, engineering and consulting services for residential growers, schools and small-scale farms. The research and development of GAHT systems in the cannabis industry will directly benefit these other markets, making it possible for backyard gardeners, organic farms, and schools to grow and source fresh local food. “Helping the cannabis industry reduce its energy consumption matches the mission on which our company was founded: to provide sustainable ways grow local food and crops year-round,” says Plinke.

For more information:
Ceres Greenhouse Solutions
4760 Walnut St., Suite 106
Boulder, Colorado 80301

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