Unpacking HVAC Complexity

No matter where you grow, it can be an indoor farm, a greenhouse or a vertical farm; they have one thing in common: climate management. Being one of every grower’s biggest challenges, Dr. Greenhouse, Inc. is hosting a workshop May 5-6 in Sacramento, CA. The workshop will cover a variety of topics, all grouped under the main theme of the event: HVAC Basics for Indoor Plant Environments. “CVC is very complicated,” says Dr. Nadia Sabe. “People understand the lights, and that the plants have to be watered and all that, but the climate is often taken for granted.”

So, Dr. Nadia originally designed the workshop for growers only. Yet she realized that many people in horticulture, not just growers, are looking for information and understanding how to better manage their climate. “The people who come to our workshop are producers, engineers, manufacturers and salespeople, entrepreneurs and even academics.” After two years without a workshop due to the pandemic, Dr Greenhouse is set to return to educate horti on the complexities of climate management.

During the two-day workshop, Dr. Nadia and other speakers will discuss all things HVAC, from load calculation, VPD and energy balance to moisture and plant physiology. “It’s crucial for growers to understand how different seasons affect your ability to manage the climate,” she continues. “We specifically design the HVAC to be hidden, and most people don’t interact with it directly. The easiest things to notice are lighting, irrigation, and nutrient deficiencies, all of which you can see with your eyes. With HVAC, it’s not that simple, and you have to consider that even climate management can have a big impact on nutrient deficiencies.

At the same time, the workshop is not only strictly related to culture, but it will also address other relevant topics, such as energy codes. “We will also highlight the importance of considering the energy codes that are coming out in various countries and states, and how to make its cultivation future proof.”

Practice the theory
Theory alone is not enough, and the workshop will also allow participants to practice what they learn. “I really want it to be interactive. We have several group exercises where participants will do different experiments, like using different sensors to monitor leaf temperature,” says Dr. Nadia.

The interaction however is not just at the speaker and audience level, but rather involves everyone equally. “I like the cross-pollination of this group,” she says. “Not only because it’s a great networking opportunity, but also because it allows producers, engineers and everyone involved to share their challenges and let the room support them. That’s why we always greatly encourage people to ask questions and speak up during our sessions.

A common language for the industry
The purpose of the workshop is not only to share knowledge and allow people to interact with each other and practice with this, but also to provide a common language for all horti to discuss certain topics . “Everyone in the industry should know what it’s all about when it comes to VPDs or psychometric charts. Not only for producers to better understand what engineers do, but also for engineers to better understand the complexities of CEA. This way, not only can growers make informed decisions when discussing HVAC with engineers, but also engineers will know, for example, what plant transpiration is and why it needs to be considered,” Nadia points out.

All major crops will be covered during the workshop, with a special mention for upcoming crops such as berries and cannabis. “We will be providing food, networking time, and we have also scheduled down time where we encourage people to go and taste the foods grown the way we discuss in the workshop,” she notes. “I learned so much from my first workshop, and that was when it was a one-day event,” Chanda Perman explains with Dr. Greenhouse. “Even if you’re on the periphery of this technology, it’s so informative. Dr. Nadia makes it feel real, with real-life examples and experiences.

Click here to register for the workshop

For more information:
Dr. Serre
930 Alhambra Blvd., Ste. 260
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 476-6078

Sharon D. Cole