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Problem Solvers - Engineering & Design

Together, Nexus and RBI ensure greenhouse efficiency and a harmonious relationship among all newly installed equipment.

February 26, 2020

Photo courtesy of Nexus Greenhouse Systems

When assessing a project, the sister-companies concentrate on all areas of engineering and integration. This collaborative and comprehensive design approach guarantees optimal functionality, especially compared to a build where systems are overseen or installed by multiple parties.

For example, observes Sales Rep and Special Projects Engineer Paul Golden, “People sourcing HVAC themselves may not understand how those components work in conjunction with each other. When working with us, we have all the angles and know the issues that are going to arise.”

Nexus and RBI perform custom design and engineering for greenhouses, and also have in-house manufacturing. They build or source additional systems and equipment including coverings, climate control and lighting. The companies’ client portfolio comprises retail garden centers as well as commercial growers in the vegetable, ornamental and cannabis industries.

As a “one-stop shop” incorporating benching, irrigation, heating/cooling and more, Nexus and RBI ensure greenhouse efficiency and a harmonious relationship among all newly installed equipment.

“We integrate the greenhouse into one system so a [grower] doesn’t have to talk to 20 different vendors,” says Systems Engineer Jacob Carson. “If there’s not an integrator on a project, you can delay the start phase by months. To the scale we’re operating at, that’s unique.”

As part of the Growing and Processing Solutions group of Gibraltar Industries, Nexus and RBI have been able to expand their scope of work and product suite. Chiller and dehumidifying systems provide customers with peak climate conditions, while LED lighting is designed for exceptional crop performance. The companies’ structural engineering expertise, meanwhile, helps growers navigate permitting and other key regulation issues.

“More facilities are being built in an urban environment, so the amount of oversight is increasing,” Carson says. “We want those facilities to be sustainable environmentally and economically. We work with districts that haven’t built greenhouses, and going through regulatory issues is somewhere where we’re really excelling.”

Before engaging the permitting process, Nexus and RBI determine if a site has the proper infrastructure and climate for crop growth. After regulations are cleared, a cadre of engineers implement the steel structure and equipment.

“We work with a customer back and forth on a solution, because some growers are irrigation-focused and others are climate-focused,” Carson says. “We make sure the facility is customized and you’re able to optimize in a sufficient time period.”

Nexus and RBI are busy supplying climate control systems in humid climates, with mechanized hydroponic vegetable growth representing a burgeoning sector for 2020.

Greenhouse crop production can lead to a sustainable future for greenhouse facilities, but it’s an integrated design methodology that will provide the ideal environment for crops, note the engineers.

“It’s about providing maximum yield plus minimum labor, maintenance and cost to the client,” Golden says.