Insights – How We Built Glens Falls Vertical Farm (VF): Air Circulation Selection - Part 2

By Josh Fabian

In Part I, we discussed selecting an air dehumidifier for a vertical farm.

Selecting a Ducted Central Split Air System

For temperature control we choose a Pioneer 56,000 btu, 4.6 ton, 17.5 SEER, ducted central split air conditioner heat pump system. While being highly efficient, this unit will also be able to condition a large growing area. For our 20’x24’ space we will have 4 vent drops, and then a large 5th vent that will go outside of our room into the 3rd floor of the building we occupy. This will keep the grow room within our temperature range, while also conditioning the overall space the room is in, therefore reducing condensation. Another added benefit of this design is we did not have to spend extra money to over-insulate our grow box because we are utilizing the buildings insulation. Also, the system is capable of providing heat, if needed, in winter. Another good feature of this unit is that it is ducted. Often mini splits are used in grow boxes. While they have some issues with maintenance, they also are not able to be ducted and directed where they are needed most. With the system, we can focus the cool air into the fans that then move it evenly across the crop.
Pioneer 56,000 btu Ducted Central Split Air System
To achieve dispersion of cool dry air we are utilizing a system that is built into our Pipp racking. This system was designed by Vertical Air Solutions. We direct our cool air into the side of the racking that has the fans. Then, the fans take this air and apply it evenly across the crop through ductwork that is built into the racking. This eliminates the “zone of depletion” that occurs in the canopy. So, not only allowing for proper gas exchange on leaf surface, it also protects against environments that favor pathogen development.
Air circulation vertical farm

Air movement is very important for successful crops growing in a vertical farm. These are some ways we have tackled this, and we hope you benefit from understanding the thought process that went into the design.

You can follow more insights from our partnership with Glens Falls and others committed to the Glens Falls Vertical Farm Public Pilot here.