Varin Science


Five Tips to Consider When Building a Cannabis Laboratory

Assuming you have optimized your equipment layout and lab flow for maximum efficiency, we offer several other often overlooked aspects to consider when designing your cannabis lab:


  1. Hide the Vac Pumps: Vacuum pumps used on rotary evaporators, distillation equipment and other solvent recovery system can be loud and noisy, and add unnecessary background noise to the lab environment. Do you and your staff a favor by locating these on an outside wall or separate mechanical room.
  2. Code Compliance with Flammables: The Fire Department usually has authority here and they may one of the last groups involved in the permit review process. If you plan hydrocarbon or ethanol storage, but sure you have enough allowable space to meet your production goals. In the case of ethanol, some jurisdictions may require an outgassing area for spent biomass which may require more space than anticipated and possibly an emissions permit from the air pollution control authority.
  3. Proper Flooring: The last thing you want to do is work all weekend to relocate equipment in order to install or re-install flooring. Epoxy coatings are the most common and durable, but depending on solvent type and use, a special coating may be required on top of the epoxy for added solvent protection. If you’re planning GMP, there may be other criteria to consider.
  4. Correct Electrical Placement & Load: Lab equipment often requires substantial electrical energy to operate. If electrical loads are exceeded, the circuit panel breakers will trip and temporary interrupt production. Hire a competent electrician to estimate the entire electrical load when all equipment is operational, and be sure the electrical requirements (e.g., 110 or 220 volt, single or three phase) match the equipment and locations in your design.
  5. Adequate HVAC: Lab equipment releases considerable waste heat. Unless this equipment is located in a hood or controller air environment (like a C1D1 or C1D2 booth), waste heat can build-up considerably and make for a poor work environment.  For example, a simple five-ton walk-in freezer generates approximately 244,000 BTU per day of waste heat which requires about 20 tons in cooling capacity. See for more information.


Bonus Tip

Source Heating and Cooling Fluids in Advance: With COVID affecting supply chain availability of many common industrial fluids, acquisition can be delayed or expensive. Dimethyl silicone, commonly used in heat recirculation devices, is in short supply and may hard to find and/or expensive. (Contact us if you need some, we have it in stock). Save a lot of money by buying in bulk, such as 55-gallon drums from chemical suppliers instead of overpriced, repackaged fluids from the local grow shop. Finally, be sure to use the equipment manufacturer’s recommended grade so that you don’t void the warrantee.

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