Cannabis has become a growing industry as more states legalize cannabis products for medicinal and recreational use. It’s also become a growing area in the construction industry. Green Thumb Industries, a national cannabis cultivator, processor and retailer, turned to Nickle Electrical Companies to help power up its Centreville cultivator center, one of GTI’s 12 vegetation grow buildings nationwide.
Nickle provided electrical systems on the 29,000-squarefoot fit-out of an existing warehouse. Features of the fit-out include three new flower rooms, a mother vegetation room, irrigation room, shipping/packaging room, extraction room, finished goods vault, and conference room.
Nickle’s scope of work included installation of a brand new 3,000-amp main service on the exterior of the building and two new 1,500-amp main distribution boards located on a mezzanine inside the building. Those main distribution boards feed 18 new electrical panels. One great feat Nickle electricians accomplished was pulling more than 190,000 feet of wire, which is equivalent to 36 miles.
The flower rooms, also called grow rooms, are 2,000 square feet each and include numerous electrical circuits that feed humidifiers, dehumidifers, split systems, water pumps, outlets, security cameras, and grow lights. These special LED grow lights are made specifically for growing the vegetation. Nickle completed these three rooms to meet NEMA 4X specifications, meaning everything is waterproof and protected from any type of corrosion.
The finished goods vault, which is 1,500 square feet, is where the final products go for storage until they are ready for shipment. Because of the sensitive nature and confidentiality surrounding GTI’s product, Nickle installed numerous cameras and key card access to enter and exit the room. One special feature of the project was construction of the extraction room, which totals 500 square feet. During the extraction process ethanol is drawn out of the plant. Ethanol is a clear liquid that is highly flammable so the room had to be wired to meet the National Electrical Code’s Class I Division 2 requirements. In other words, the room is explosion proof.
One of the major challenges Nickle faced during this project was installation of the supplied horticulture equipment. GTI knew what they wanted to accomplish. Because commercial cannabis horticulture facilities are still a fairly new concept, all parties had to be involved in the process to build the concept GTI had in mind.
The complicated and sensitive nature of the GTI’s product was an extenuating circumstance that Nickle had to overcome. There are still a lot of gray areas in this particular horticulture industry. The Nickle team kept the purpose and intention of the project under wraps at the owner’s request.
This project also had an accelerated timeline due to licensing purposes and was completed in just four months. For three of those months, Nickle had 14 electricians working on the project. Expediting materials and making sure all equipment was on site in time was also difficult thanks to the quick schedule. Despite these challenges, Nickle successfully completed the project on time and under budget.