Cannabis Applications of UV Air & Surface Disinfection
Sanuvox Technologies Inc. has been operating within the Indoor Air Quality industry for 25 years, assisting hospitals, schools, office buildings, and homes in their fight against microbiological contaminants (bacteria, mold, viruses). Specific to the Cannabis industry, Sanuvox developed GrowSaver™ to assist cannabis growers in a multi-faceted approach in the prevention of Powdery Mildew, Botrytis, fungus and other microbiological contaminants that pose a threat to the health of the plants.
The GrowSaver™ approach is to provide the plants with a consistent growing environment harvest after harvest, controlling air, odor and surface contaminants through every phase of cultivation.
Outlined below are brief application overviews where GrowSaver™ by Sanuvox can assist cannabis growers who aim to implement a full facility with a chemical free preventative approach to mold, fungus, bacteria, odor, and particulate reduction.
Application #1: Prevention of Powdery Mildew utilizing high intensity UV-C for airstream disinfection
As any grower knows, Powdery Mildew is a fungus that should not be ignored and must be constantly monitored for the quality and consistency of any cannabis crop.
GrowSaver™ offers two methods of micro-organism prevention of Powdery Mildew, Botrytis, Gray Mold, Downey Mildew with its induct systems and stand-alone units.
The GC Biowall Max is a patented air disinfection system, which is mounted parallel to the airflow with (5) high-intensity UV-C lamps within the return or supply ducting of the HVAC system. So whenever the air is heated or cooled, it is also being disinfected of micro-organisms and spores. This is the best preventative method to achieve 99.9% disinfection rate on an hourly basis and the most economical and chemical free solution of ongoing prevention.
If a grower does not have an HVAC system, or chooses not to utilize an in-duct system, GrowSaver™ offers two stand-alone self-contained units that consist of several high-intensity UV-C lamps parallel to the airflow. These units also come with carbon fitration for odor reduction, high-powered CFM fans, and MERV 15 or HEPA filtration for increased particulate capture.
They can be mounted on ceilings or walls, where they can operate independently of any other system to continuously kill and capture micro-organisms within the room being treated. This method is excellent for growers who would like a free standing or separate air disinfection system not attached to their HVAC system (see product picture in section 3).
Application #2: HVAC Evaporator Coil Disinfection Systems
Each HVAC system has an evaporator coil designed to take heat (cooling the air) and humidity out of the air. The evaporator coil is cold, dark and damp, which is a perfect scenario for the growth and infiltration of mold and microbial contamination.
Among the most prevalent micro-organisms that grow on the fins of an evaporator coil are Aspergillus Niger, Botrytis and Stachybotrys spores. These spores will multiply into colonies and form biofilm on the coils surface, which will drastically decrease the cooling efficiency and humidity performance of the coil.
Once a biofilm has grown on the fins of the coil, the performance of the coil to achieve the desired temperature and humidity levels decreases by up to 20%. Thus, it requires more energy to achieve the room temperature setting and longer run cycles to reach the recommended humidy level.
Moreover, the mold colonies within this biofilm will sporulate, become detached and enter the grow space, where they can spread on plants, surfaces, and other items within the room.
By adding GrowSaver™ UV-C coil cleaners to the evaporator coil of the HVAC system, mold and biofilm will be prevented and will not pose any more risk of contamination to the grower. Lastly, UV-C on the evaporator coil will restore its efficiency to new performance, allowing a grower to achieve the desired temperature and humidity levels without wasted energy and time.
Application #3: Stand-alone units for increased filtration, air disinfection & odor reduction
Within certain indoor cannabis facilities, particulates (dirt, dust, debris) are always at an increased load level; while some HVAC systems filtration capacities are very low. Most growers use a MERV 8 filter, which only captures around 50% of indoor contaminants.
Increasing filtration is not always as simple as purchasing a higher MERV rated filter, as pressure drop from the filter can decrease cooling load, and higher MERV rated filters may not physically fit within the current HVAC system.
Many growers add GrowSaver™ stand-alone units equipped with MERV 15 (GC S1000-G4 model) or HEPA filtration (GC S300-G2 model), both of which capture and kill up to 99.98% of indoor contaminants.
Stand-alone units have their own fan motor, so they will not affect the HVAC system. Many growers use stand-alone units as spot treatment in problem areas, as well as protection from cross pollination from other nearby growers.
Application #4: Exhaust ducting odor mitigation
Many indoor growers operate at a negative pressure within the grow rooms by adding one or more exhaust fans per room. While this method is not recommended due to poor contaminant intrusion control, most growers utilize negative pressure to control odor on the outside of the facility, as several municipalities have enacted fines for neighbor intrusion cannabis odor.
Most of the exhaust installations consist of a fan with a carbon filter wrapped around it. These installations pull a certain amount of CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air through the carbon filter and exhaust the air outside the facility.
Carbon filters are excellent at capturing odors, but their lifespan is extremely limited in such an odor dense environment. GrowSaver™ utilizes a higher frequency of UV light, called Vacuum UV or UV-V, to destroy odors by photolysis. This frequency of light produces oxidizers that actively eliminate cannabis odors within an exhaust duct system. Utilizing a fan and 20 feet of ducting, GrowSaver™ systems can eliminate exhausted cannabis odors. Maintenance required is routine annual lamp replacement, and no more costly and urgent carbon filter change-outs.
Application #5: Dry room & finished product disinfection
Outdoor and greenhouse growers can benefit from the use of GrowSaver™ UV systems in drying rooms and final product surface disinfection before testing or packaging.
A product that is drying is still susceptible to mold contamination, and the use of a stand-alone UV-C air disinfection system is strongly recommended. The goal is to set up a facility that allows for consistent harvests, and treating every room is the best preventative strategy.
A cannabis grower spends months growing and battling contamination, and that includes avoiding infiltration in the drying / curing room as well. A second application for the outdoor or greenhouse grower is the disinfection of the buds surface before testing and/or packaging. The buds can be placed on a conveyor belt or a tray system with GrowSaver™ UV-C lamps above the belt or tray at specific distances and for a specific timeframe, which is lethal to Powdery Mildew and mold, but harmless to the buds and terpenes themselves. This allows for the lowest possible viable mold, fungus and bacteria on the bud surface with a chemical free, non-toxic and residue free method.
Application #6: Room & table surface disinfection
Cleanliness between grow cycles are crucial, as it prevents cross contamination and provides a clean starting point for the best potential potency, quality and consistency in every harvest. Some growers choose to utilize chemicals, such as chlorine dioxide, to spray down rooms, tables and equipment within the grow rooms.
Sanuvox offers a chemical free solution that leaves no residue, is non-toxic and a Clean Green certified solution. Sanuvox has pioneered this disinfection method in hospital patient and operating rooms in the prevention of Hospital Acquired Infections.
Sanuvox manufactures two systems (ASEPT.2X and BioCart) designed to be rolled into a room and left on overnight, where the high-intensity UV-C lamps will disinfect up to 99.99% of surface borne contaminants that are on walls, tables, equipment, floors, and other items within the room. This method can be utilized in conjunction with other standard cleaning protocols for a comprehensive cleaning approach.
Sanuvox is a proud member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and the only international based company with the Green Clean Certification, ensuring our products improve the environment by reducing the use of chemicals in growing Cannabis.