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Propane Heating Expands to More Indoor Farming Operations

April 11, 2018
In some areas, growers have no natural gas lines available to them, which led to this solution.

DALLAS, April 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Intense heating and cooling needs for indoor farming operations has sparked a boom for propane fuel in both urban and rural markets that have inadequate electricity and no natural gas infrastructure.Those uses include cannabis (marijuana), vegetables and microgreens, across the US, according to news from Mestex, Inc.

In these markets, propane sellers are coupling volume pricing with an innovative gas heat-pump (GHP) air conditioning system that makes propane an alternative to upgrading electric utility infrastructure.

The new Sierra GHP commercial heating and cooling unit, available in the U.S. from Mestex, provides energy-efficient indoor climate management, 24-hours-a-day. Sierra propane-powered mechanical systems, described as "state-of-the-art," are controlling the climates for some of these growing operations.

Mestex showcased the Sierra GHP at the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) Southeastern Convention and International Propane Expo, which was held April 6 – 8, 2018, Atlanta, Ga.

"For commercial indoor agriculture, the availability, quality and consistency of electricity for heating and cooling is often inadequate," said Sarah Swinford, vice president for engineered sales at Mestek, Inc. "The Sierra propane-fueled, industrial-grade HVAC system allows commercial indoor growers to maintain precise temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in both remote and urban areas that have limited infrastructure."

An underdeveloped area just north of Las Vegas houses a new industrial park and among the tenants are commercial indoor cannabis grow facilities. The lack of water, sewer, and natural gas line access to the area has posed problems for the developing businesses.

"There is uncertainty as to whether growers in this area will ever have access to natural gas lines, so propane is the solution," said William Platz of Delta Liquid Energy, a propane distributor in Nevada and California. "By using propane-powered HVAC systems, our fuel allows these businesses to keep their operation running efficiently at a price that's competitive with both electric and natural gas utilities."

Demand is growing in the U.S. for the Sierra GHP, which unlike any other air conditioning system on the market, uses an internal combustion engine to drive mechanical parts of the unit. Fueled by natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (propane), the Sierra GHP is ideal for indoor agricultural applications that rely on mission-critical heating and cooling, as well as for general commercial, institutional and residential buildings.

Mestex, a division of Mestek, Inc., is a group of HVAC manufacturers with a focus on air handling and a passion for innovation. Sources say Mextex is the only HVAC manufacturer offering industry-standard direct digital controls on virtually all its products, which include Applied Air, Alton, Aztec, Koldwave, Sierra, Temprite and LJ Wing HVAC systems.