What Should You Know Before Building a Grow Room?
Whether you want to create a modest year-round flower garden or a massive medical marijuana facility, you’ll need a good grow room. As with any new space, the right result begins with proper planning and design. In particular, you’ll need the right power setup for a growing facility in order to sustain your plants. Here are some questions to answer before building a grow room that will help you construct the ideal indoor horticultural space with adequate power.
How much power are you going to need?
Most people understand that a grow room will require more power than a normal room – but they don’t realize just how much more. In fact, grow rooms can use up to 10 times as much power as their everyday counterparts. The general rule of thumb is that every 100 square feet of grow space will require 10 amps of power. If you’re using solar panels, this can equate to anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 watts just for lighting.
Unless you’re planning a small grow room or already have a high-service building (such as an old data center), it is unlikely your space has adequate power as-is. And it doesn’t matter if you’re one amp short or 100 – not enough is not enough. This is before accounting for having a little extra so your circuits aren’t always going full-bore. Investigate what power is currently available and how much you’ll need to upgrade (and how much it will cost) before you begin.
What type of power are you using?
Whether you’re going the solar energy route or planning a dedicated electrical circuit for your grow room, you’ll need to choose a power type. There are two options: single-phase and three-phase. Single-phase power is the 110- to 220-volt power source found in most homes while three-phase is 277/480-volt power often used in shops and industrial factories. The latter is a more efficient option for climate-control units, fans, drainage systems and other grow room equipment. In fact, some of these appliances even require three-phase power. However, it is far more expensive upfront, whether in the form of a three-phase inverter or having an electrician upgrade your circuitry. Investigate the equipment you’re hoping to use and whether the improved performance/operational savings are worth the upfront costs. If a three-phase upgrade is impractical, you may need single-phase adapters for certain appliances.
What will you be plugging in where?
Just as important as how much and what kind of power you’re using is where you’re getting it from. Don’t just put an outlet every six feet or so like you would in your living room or bedroom. Plan in advance exactly where your electrical equipment will be located and base your outlet placement on that. You should also know what you’re going to plug into each outlet – a 2,000-watt grow light has different power needs than an 80-watt circulating fan. This also applies when you’re choosing inverters for a solar-powered grow facility. An 800-watt modified sine wave inverter may be good for one part of the room while a 4,000-want pure sine inverter might be more practical for another part based on what you’re plugging in. Every outlet in the grow room should have a function with no “wasted outlets”.