By Vanessa Orr

As we’ve all become aware over the past couple of years, airborne contaminants can cause irreparable harm. This is something that medical cannabis growers have long known, as one of the most difficult parts of keeping plants healthy is preventing the spread of powdery mildew, botrytis, penicillium and other fungi that can be spread though the air as well as ventilation systems.

While some growers have attempted to use ozone to deal with these contaminants, it unfortunately depletes terpene strength. The secret, according to Bob Pietrangelo, vice president, Southeast United States, Sanuvox, is to use UVC radiation instead.

“Using UV radiation in the C band produces zero ozone, and at the proper intensity, can destroy any biological contaminant,” he explained. “It can eliminate powdery mildew, botrytis and more, while at the same time allowing terpenes to maintain maximum strength.”

By utilizing Sanuvox’s GrowSaver™ products in their ventilation systems, growers can eliminate the need for fungicides as well. Freestanding units are also available, and all of the units are custom-designed to fit the space involved. 

According to Pietrangelo, GrowSaver products can eliminate up to 99.9 percent of airborne powdery mildew every hour, and reduce fungicide use by up to 90 percent. The units also reduce labor costs related to the use of fungicides, help enrich terpenes and enhance aromas, and improve microbiological state testing compliance.

“Not only do growers save a lot of money by not having botrytis grow on plants, but they’re also making sure that there are no other biological contaminants in the building,” said Pietrangelo, noting that the same products that eliminate fungi also eliminate the COVID virus, which is spread through airborne aerosols that can stay suspended in the air for more than 16 hours.

“This is the exact same product that we use in hospital operating rooms to keep patients safe,” he added. “The same product that protects patients protects plants.”

Not only are the units useful for growers, but dispensaries can benefit from their installation as well. In addition to removing airborne contaminants, Sanuvox’s products also provide odor removal, drastically reducing cannabis odors from leaving grow buildings or dispensaries.

“We just did an installation at Aurora Cannabis’ 212,000 sq. ft. grow room in Canada, eliminating smells with the GrowSaver Odor Wall,” said Pietrangelo, noting that the local airport was complaining of the smell three miles away. 

Return on Investment

The units are relatively easy to install; after cutting a rectangular hole in the ductwork, the UVC devices are placed inside and turned on. Freestanding units can also be mounted on walls. 

“Then you just plug and play,” said Pietrangelo, adding that lamps need to be replaced every two years. 

The units themselves are custom-designed, based upon the volume of air being moved and a facility’s square footage. “We do not do cookie-cutter installations; one size doesn’t fit all,” said Pietrangelo. “The units have to be calculated properly to work; otherwise you’re just losing money.”

Units can be built into existing building management systems, and can be designed for any type of facility from cultivation centers to medical offices. Sanuvox products are used extensively in Canada and the U.S. Midwest, though this is the company’s first foray into the Florida market.

“Our products are 99.999 percent effective and are designed for first-pass efficiency, destroying everything in the airstream,” said Pietrangelo, adding that air changes occur 12 to 20 times an hour in grow facilities.

“As for return on investment, the first harvest will probably pay for it in increased yield, increased terpene strength, and decreased use of fungicide,” he added. “That’s in addition to the health savings that occur when people aren’t getting sick from airborne contaminants.”

To learn more about Sanuvox’s medical and grower product lines, visit www.sanuvox.com.