Second Chances Farm became fully operational in the year 2020, having made structural renovations to their 47,500 square foot building, which had sat empty for a number of years. An indoor vertical farm provides a controlled environment in which plants can grow 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without soil or sun, so they set about making the walls strong and impervious to the effects of outside temperatures. Plumbing was re-purposed for indoor irrigation. Electricity was diverted to power the showering lights above the plants in the Sananbio Radix modules.
When they moved into the Opportunity Center at 3030 Bowers Street, the flooring was old. The HVAC was Stone Age. Air flow was willy-nilly. There were leaks in the plumbing. The electrical wiring had wiring. Some of it worked, and some of it didn't. Walls were repainted or summarily removed. One challenge led to another to another. The team took down and reassembled modules to make room for the renovations. By the end of 2020, they had developed enough knowledge and experience to go to the essential next step: making it even better.
Here are some of the improvements the team made in early 2021:
They completely emptied the Farm 1 space by disassembling and removing all 52 modules and reassembling them in another space to sustain the Farm to Table program and breaking the others into separate components for thorough cleaning
Next, they re- insulated the ceiling and outside walls. Because indoor vertical farming requires a controlled environment, better insulation allows to minimize temperature fluctuations coming from outside walls. After that, they improved the original flooring, which was cracked in many places.
They installed more drains in the floor. Having learned from the first year of operation the amount of water that winds up on the floor and extra drains will help remove the excess water more quickly and easily.
"We are installing more water lines and replumbing our modules to ensure the water we pump through moves more easily through the system. We had seven independent systems running and we’ve combined them all into one system which improves efficiency dramatically. We have been cleaning the modules monthly using an enzyme based cleaner and a hydrogen peroxide sanitizer hydroperoxide based sanitizer, which are very plant friendly. We also have it in our protocol to do a thorough cleaning up with a power washer at least once a year", they say.
Several Airius fans were installed to improve air circulation to the modules and purify the air. Plants love air circulation. The team had installed fans to the walls encircling the modules to push the air around to each level. They made a lot of noise and the circulation of air was adequate but not optimal. The team wanted to find a better solution that circulated air to all of the plants, all of the time — quietly.
Enter Airius Fans. Resembling larger, 1990s-style hair blow dryers, suspended PureAir Ariius Fans inactivate pathogens, bacteria, molds, and even odors using patented Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI), which constantly cleans the air of unwanted organisms and odors. Ionized air has been proven to defeat organisms and odors by disrupting the pathogen’s surface proteins, rendering them inactive and unable to replicate leaving only clean air for the plant-babies to breathe.
Airius fans destratify and circulate air, which reduces the energy the HVAC systems have to constantly over deliver to satisfy the thermostats when it’s cold or hot outside.
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Second Chances Farm