The cannabis industry has seen astronomical growth, leading to many HVAC opportunities for prepared HVAC contractors. The sector has grown 46% from 2019 to 2021 and generated a whopping 17.5 billion dollars in that time frame. The catalyst for this spike is the push for legalization and decriminalization across the country.
Recreational cannabis use is now legal in 18 states, and medical cannabis use is legal in 36 states. A handful of other states are in various stages of legalization, including full decriminalization, recreational use, and legal CBD only. This trend shows no sign of slowly providing for a growing industry that will rely on sophisticated HVAC systems to play a vital role in the cultivation and growth of marijuana. We will discuss the impending flood of HVAC opportunities in cannabis for curious HVAC contractors and how you can tap into the green revolution.
HVAC opportunities in cannabis are growing
The cannabis industry is a great source of business for HVAC contractors. Cannabis grow houses are sophisticated, complicated, and highly engineered spaces. They have specialized equipment that tracks, monitors, and regulates temperature, water, light cycling, and much more.
The HVAC systems alone rival those of modern industrial complexes and can even require more sophistication and preciseness as they are dealing with living organisms and advanced ecosystems. Strict parameters for humidity, heat, and air circulation are needed, as is massive ventilation sequencing.
The energy generated by substantial lighting and heat lamps needs to be offset, and HVAC equipment is what does the job. A litany of HVAC-related equipment is required to run grow facilities, including:
- Split systems.
- Packaged units.
- Air handlers.
This is just a small portion of what is necessary to run a comprehensive cannabis facility. There is also the aspect of controls. These are the devices in an electronic HVAC system that manage and control selected equipment. All the devices are visible on a computer network and can be managed via a BMS (building management system).
Contractors with special expertise can find plenty of HVAC opportunities in cannabis. You can consider the following niches to find and establish your area of specialization and build up your network.
New installs and maintenance
Indoor-grown cannabis requires the initial installation and ongoing maintenance of HVAC equipment. This means there are chances to make money both on the initial setup and through recurring maintenance agreements.
Installs – New installs are a capital-intensive endeavor. Purchasing the HVAC units and components required to run a large cannabis facility can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. As discussed earlier, the cannabis sector generates billions of dollars, so big investments in the facilities that produce the valuable crop are not uncommon.
HVAC opportunities in cannabis are often related to these installs. So contractors who can position themselves as experts in cannabis ventilation equipment will benefit from the many installation projects that could come their way.
Maintenance – Expensive vital equipment is worthless unless it is maintained properly. So these large facilities will need to hire qualified HVAC technicians to conduct routine maintenance on the various units. Remember, these units directly impact the quality, quantity, and value of each plant, group, and harvest.
HVAC crews that can show their expertise and reliability will be essential to the success of cannabis grow facilities.
Production of high-quality cannabis in a way that minimizes crop wastage requires very specific conditions. The result is that indoor cannabis systems are heavy energy consumers — HVAC, CO2 pumps, and lighting account for 11% to 25% of a facility’s greenhouse gas emissions. There is no doubt that indoor grow facilities have a voracious appetite for energy. This is a stark reality that is often underestimated or overlooked. But when that first utility bill comes in, it will become apparent.
High-intensity lights are often run-in cycles of 24 hours at a time. HVAC runs nonstop, and air, water, and heat are constantly circulating in and out of the facilities. This means the utility meters are also running nonstop. The silver lining is that this energy consumption can also create HVAC opportunities in cannabis for hungry contractors.
Making indoor facilities as energy-efficient as possible will be in high demand. Sourcing and installing the most energy-efficient HVAC systems and lighting is a way that contractors can show their worth. If they install units that are 25% more efficient, it will directly save money for cannabis growers.
Greater value through lower costs
Yet another among the many unique HVAC opportunities in cannabis is the ability to bring a value proposition to potential clients. You can do so by saving the customer money upfront when they purchase equipment for installations. An efficient software system can give you access to thousands of top suppliers nationwide that carry all the technical products and equipment you need.
A sourcing management software that has negotiated steep discounts on supplies lets you pass your savings on to your customers. Such a system also gives contractors a simple yet robust system for managing all the details and paperwork involved in the HVAC business.
The right tools can help you grow your business
Contractors can establish their position, grow their market share, and provide top-notch service by taking advantage of resources and tools that empower them to stay competitive in a niche marketplace.
Whether you are interested in pursuing this lucrative market segment or not, a well-designed purchasing program can help you get deep discounts on HVAC and lighting equipment, parts, and materials. It also provides you with purchasing software that makes buying more efficient, productive, and simple.
The HVAC industry is massive, and HVAC opportunities in cannabis are just one more way to find a business for your company. If it is time to expand your services or branch out into new territories, the cannabis sector may be worth a serious look as long as you have helpful resources to support you.