Whether required by your local building code, or to simply add another tool to your proverbial climate control toolbox, a ventilation system should be considered when planning HVAC for your cultivation facility. With that in mind, we introduce two primary methods:

HVAC Integrated System
Traditionally an integrated system uses an economizer to increase efficiency when outside weather allows. Mixing the fresh and conditioned air increases the efficiency of the system. This is due to less run time on your cooling system to meet desired indoor temperatures. This is particularly effective for schools, offices and human occupied areas due to the inherent need for fresh air.

In a grow space this method is implemented in an engineered way to safely bring in fresh air as needed. Electrically controlled dampers bring in fresh, filtered air to clear the room in a CO2 emergency or to bring in cold air to lower electric bills. Proper filtration on the way in is required to minimize the threats of bacteria, mold, and pollen. Carbon filters are used on the exhaust to prevent smell from spreading outside the building.

The downside to this type of system is the requirement for ducting from outside and throughout the grow space. Ducting can increase the cost of installation as well as increase the amount of cleaning needed in a room between harvests. Further these systems are typically sized at a fraction of a standalone ventilation system.

Ventilation as a Tool
Standalone Ventilation uses an electronically controlled filtered air intake and an exhaust fan strategically placed in a room to provide ventilation. This system runs independently of the HVAC. This approach is designed specifically with a grow space in mind; to stop outside airflow unless required by the room conditions.

The air intake is fitted with an integrated filter rack. A MERV 15 filter is rated to stop pollen, mold, dust, bacteria, pollen, and insecticides. When fresh air is brought in to use outside air to supplement cooling or when CO2 necessitates it, the filter will keep anything that should stay outside, outside. The exhaust fan is fitted with a carbon filter to meet city and county regulations on odor control. The entire system is custom designed to bring in the right amount of airflow based on the size of the space.

The system can be set to activate slightly above or below the set point of the main HVAC depending on the ambient temperature.

Conclusion
Ventilation can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a grow room environment as well as provide a safety system for CO2. Many growers will prefer to run a sealed grow environment, which is a solid primary method of environmental management. However having system level redundancy with backup ventilation has provided more tools for effective grow room HVAC while satisfying building code requirements.

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