To The Top – How A Mezzanine Can Help Your Vertical Farming Facility
For more space to grow without adding more real estate, consider adding a mezzanine to your operations
As vertical farming expands, growers are facing unprecedented demand and new challenges. When success sprouts, what can you do to accommodate the need for more growth without fighting–and paying through the nose for–space in competitive commercial real estate markets?
Enter the mezzanine.
Mezzanines grow your space
Let’s face it, you have wasted space. You see it daily but might not have realized that by using a mezzanine, you can turn that unused vertical space into more room for cultivation and production. Your footprint will be smaller, but your opportunities larger when you utilize the entire vertical cube.
An advantage in the real estate battle
Searching for real estate to expand your grow operation (or to even begin one, for that matter) can be a tough experience. Buying or leasing real estate provides challenges in all sorts of ways. Some of these potential problems are:
- Location: how to find the best spot for your facility
- Cost: dollars matter, no matter what area you’re in
- Regulation: zoning laws can restrict or limit new facilities
- Stigma: some landlords aren’t receptive to vertical cultivation operations
Many grow operations look to pre-existing warehouses that have the potential to waste a ton of space if not set up correctly. Conventional wisdom says you want the final height of a plant to be about twice the height of your longest main cola. In a warehouse setting, your lighting could be set too high above the plant, which is inefficient. The higher you set the lighting, the taller the plant will grow, which can cause it to take longer in the vegetative stage, delaying flowering and ultimately budding.
Some grow houses stack plants in an attempt to help utilize the existing space. But this keeps plants from getting the proper lighting, which can stunt their growth, and uses resources inefficiently if it’s not carefully done. Using a mezzanine to create multiple levels, each with enough room for ventilation and its own lighting, uses your existing space in an efficient manner.
Most warehouse ceilings are high enough to accommodate multiple tiers. Through the use of mezzanines and proper storage, you can succeed while working with a much smaller area. This ability to do more with less (basically) leads to more productivity and higher yields per facility.
A flexible and easy to deploy solution
Mezzanines come in three main types: structural (or free-standing), rack-supported and shelf-supported. Most can be easily reconfigured or relocated to suit whatever idea you have for your existing space. With that in mind, the structural option would probably work best for product growth. Structural mezzanines are more versatile in that they can be custom configured for a variety of storage and processing operations.
Another important factor for your industry is what kind of mezzanine decking you’ll want. From roof decking to bar grate decking, there are multiple options to choose from. The open design of a bar grate could be very useful for ventilation and/or fire regulation.
With the vertical farming industry ever-changing year over year, the ability to make more with less space is a high prize. Mezzanines can be an easy and affordable solution to help solve your problem and should be considered when expanding your current operations or venturing to a new facility for your business.