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California Efficient Yields PG&E Workshop 2: Retrofits for CEA

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California |  Cannabis |  Crop |  Cultivation Approach |  Educational Content |  Efficient Yields Workshops |  Envelope |  Greenhouse |  Indoor |  Region |  Topic Area
Joe Cavallero |  Rob Eddy |  Aaron Fellabaum
1.5 hours
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Mar 14, 2023
Never expires.


Smart Strategies for Converting Buildings or Cultivation Systems

A greenhouse or indoor farm is more machine than building: Once turned on, it constantly cycles to balance climate to targeted setpoints. In some cases, this makes retrofits more challenging than building from the ground up, especially if being done while the “machine is still running” in order to maintain income. Gain confidence in your project design and execution, whether it be retrofitting new equipment into an existing grow operation or a more substantial retrofit of a vacant building into an agricultural facility. The workshop audience will learn how to monitor energy and water use and make informed decisions about the need for new cultivation systems, be it lighting, HVAC, benching, greenhouse covering, irrigation or water circularity. Expert panelists will also discuss energy upgrades and retrofitting to renewable energy. For full building retrofits, learn the unique load requirements, building envelope, utility access and contamination issues before the design begins rather than after construction is underway. Participants will gain an understanding of when outside specialists will be required for their project and what incentive programs exist to offset a portion of the costs.

Topical areas include:

  • Retrofitting existing buildings to CEA

  • Retrofitting  existing CEA facilities with more efficient systems

  • Measuring water usage

  • Energy Monitoring Tool Lending Programs

  • Building envelopes and MEP considerations

  • Considerations for DIY vs outside contracting 

  • Impact of new cultivation systems on existing systems

  • Retrofitting on-site renewable energy 


Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the scope and resources for the two types of retrofit

  • Learn how to assess the MEP and building structure for retrofit

  • Understand the impact of retrofitting a cultivation system upon other systems

  • Better plan and manage operations during a retrofit project


Target audience:

  • Cultivators

  • Operations & Facility Staff

  • Design & Construction Partners

  • Property Owners

  • Utility & Government Representatives


Funded with support from:    



Joe Cavallero's Profile

Joe Cavallero Related Seminars and Products

Nimbus Cannabis

CTO at Nimbus Cannabis, Joe has 15 years experience cultivating medical and recreational cannabis in California. Before joining Nimbus, Joe offered consulting services for energy, HVAC and Lighting system design, as well as compliance across the state to the nascent Cannabis industry. At Nimbus, Joe works with a team of professionals committed to a sustainable future for the cannabis CEA industry.

Rob Eddy's Profile

Rob Eddy Related Seminars and Products

Technical Director

Resource Innovation Institute

Rob has over 30 years of experience in plant growth facility management, plant research and commercial production. At Purdue University, he brought online and managed a computer- controlled 40,000 ft 2 research facility, made up of 25 greenhouses and over 60 growth chambers and grow rooms. He was responsible for hundreds of CEA studies involving flowering, food and medicinal species. He served on design teams for greenhouse projects and one of the first automated machine-vision phenotyping centers in the country. In his consulting role, he supported major hydroponic produce growers AeroFarms and Bright Farms; Big Ag companies Dow AgroSciences, Novozymes and Indigo Ag; and several cannabis operations including Clade9. He wrote cultivation plans for cannabis licenses awarded in Missouri and West Virginia.

Rob’s protocols for optimizing greenhouse production have been downloaded over 70,000 times in 104 countries. He participated in the publication, A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses, recognized throughout the world as a primary resource for safe production of genetically modified crops. In 2016, he was a member of the International Committee for Controlled Environment Guidelines that published Guidelines for Measuring and Reporting Environmental Parameters for Experiments in Greenhouse Facilities, the seminal document of quality assurance protocols for plant science research.

In his free time, Rob enjoys gardening, growing microgreens under LEDs, baking and winning croquet matches against his three grown children.

Aaron Fellabaum's Profile

Aaron Fellabaum Related Seminars and Products

Product Marketing Manager – Vertical Farming


Aaron Fellabaum is a controlled environment ag consultant and horticulture enthusiast who has +15 years working with equipment manufacturers, distributors, and growers to help scale their businesses and optimize production facilities in both Cannabis as well as commercial agriculture. He has experience with the full spectrum of horticultural operations including facility and greenhouse design, installation, maintenance, pest management and production optimization strategies.