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TEMP-AIR a Sunbelt Rentals Company

Hydroponics Facility Case Study

TEMP-AIR successfully provided cool, dry air to a Chicago-based hydroponics facility for more than one year.

For over a year, TEMP-AIR provided two model PAC-50T4H 50-ton temporary industrial air conditioners at Urban Till, a Chicago-based hydroponics company. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants (specifically at this facility – herbs and micro-greens) in flowing water without the use of soil. This growing process gives the company the ability to grow vegetation year-round as well as requires only a fraction of the water supply needed for traditional farming of this type of produce. The herbs are being grown for use by local restaurants.

Urban Till initially contacted TEMP-AIR because their facility was getting too warm. At the time, Urban Till was only using four 5-ton air conditioning units to cool the entire building prior to leasing TEMP-AIR’s equipment. Due to the high level of moisture in the air mixed with the heat generated from growing lights, their local TEMP-AIR Technical Field Representative recommended the company use 100-tons of cooling to control the interior temperature.

Urban Till needed precise temperature control to keep the interior air temperature of the facility below 70°F. The flowing water could not get too warm otherwise it would destroy the root system of the plants. Plants had previously been dying when the facility got too warm due to the heat emitted from the growing lights. Also, the reduced temperature would help with bug population control within the building so that their plants would not get eaten throughout the growing process.

In the process of using the portable TEMP-AIR units to provide air conditioning, the units also served as dehumidifiers. The air conditioning equipment would take the moisture in the air and would pump the water out of the building. The customer then saw the opportunity to reuse the water resulting from the equipment condensation process rather than using public water. This developed a self-sustainable environment. The reused water is better than city water since it has positive ions which the plant roots absorb acting as nutrients.

A major obstacle faced by the TEMP-AIR team had to do with the equipment set-up. At first, units were placed on the ground outside the facility with duct fed in through the windows. TEMP-AIR then built steel frames on the roof to set the units in. This resulted in long duct that draped over the building leading into the interior space. To hide the duct that draped over the side of the building, the TEMP-AIR service team drilled large holes into the roof in order to directly insert the duct from the top of the roof into the building.

An additional set-up obstacle was that only one access point was available. Since cool air was only entering through one area, TEMP-AIR had to add eight fans inside the building to push the air through to the back of the building.