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Marijuana HVAC: A Hot New Career Opportunity

Dan has been in the HVAC industry for 23 years, with experience ranging from installation and service to sales and distribution.

Crane hoisting new HVAC rooftop unit onto the curb.

Crane hoisting new HVAC rooftop unit onto the curb.

HVAC Grows With Marijuana Industry

HVAC is an excellent trade to study. First, it exposes a person to many different trades, giving you diverse experience and knowledge. Second, there's a massive amount of growth potential and need which offers a tremendous amount of job security.

But now that 30 U.S. states (and neighboring Canada) have legalized some form of marijuana, the HVAC industry has a new specialized field of "growth" to explore in North America.

If you want to be on the cutting edge of an ever-changing technical field, it's time to start working in HVAC.

Harvested marijuana/cannabis buds

Harvested marijuana/cannabis buds

HVAC Plays Integral Role in the Marijuana Industry

When it comes to growing quality marijuana quickly, which will be a must to succeed in the industry, a controlled environment is nearly everything. From heat and humidity to ventilation and air quality, the HVAC industry goes hand in hand with cannabis-growing facilities.

The designs of these facilities (which I've had the opportunity to see) include top-notch, fully loaded RTUs (rooftop units), geothermal systems, energy recovery equipment (ERV), UV lighting, smoke detection, as well as your rather typical furnace and air conditioning setups for the office areas and the list goes on. All of which are tied to massive amounts of air distribution and operated by intelligent controls.

It is without a doubt the steady growth of the marijuana industry in North America is not only going to create these types of installation projects for HVAC companies but also generate a ton of work on the service side afterward.

Extended breakdowns will not be acceptable to these production facilities as they will not only risk the loss of crops but could also create a safety hazard for their employees. I believe that the HVAC/R systems in these grow facilities and the need for their precise operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, will be so important that they will staff their own HVAC professionals.

Why Marijuana Will Require HVAC Specialists

There are unique challenges when addressing the environmental control of a grow facility. The environment and variables within, along with what is expected to be a heavy amount of regulation, are unlike that of most HVAC projects and tolerances.

Not to mention most HVAC techs will have little to no knowledge of what it takes to grow cannabis. Because of this I firmly believe there will be a need for technicians who not only specialize in various areas of HVAC but understand what's needed to create a healthy marijuana growing environment thus creating a new area of study in the HVAC/marijuana space.

Potential Pitfalls

While the acceptance of marijuana in society has grown exponentially over the last few years especially, there is still a stigma involved and that creates a couple of challenges for HVAC business owners.

One issue companies who have gotten into this end of the business have faced was other customers finding out they work for these facilities and aren't on board with the idea of legalized marijuana. This creates a sort of "guilty by association" scenario that if not addressed by the company could cost them business.

The other is making sure that, if you're going to be doing work for these cultivators, they are above-board companies and not fly-by-night operations. As I mentioned earlier, there is going to be heavy regulation involved in this industry and as there is already fairly heavy regulation in the HVAC industry, you want to make sure that your customer doesn't put you in a situation that could jeopardize your business.

This doesn't even necessarily mean your customer is a "bad guy" but perhaps doesn't understand himself how to conduct his business fully and thus if you're on the job, you could be caught up in something you thought was legit.

I think these issues are easily overcome by making sure you're up to speed on the latest rules and regulations of the marijuana industry and maybe even discussing the venture with your other high-value clients in advance. This way you can weigh the cost of potentially lost business vs. the newly gained business because let's be honest, in the end, it's all about keeping your business growing and advancing in a changing world.

Marijuana Industry Growth Potential Is Worth Your Attention

While I'm focused on the impact of marijuana on the HVAC industry, there is no doubt it is worth the attention of many businesses and industries throughout North America. Seeing how the cannabis industry created over $9 billion in North American spending in 2017 and is expected to grow towards the $50 billion mark over the next ten years, if you are a business owner or worker in an industry that may be somehow connected, it's worth taking a look at how you may be able to capitalize on this opportunity. Even a fraction of this multi-billion dollar industry can mean big gains for those in the loop.

So while you may or may not support the legalization of marijuana, perhaps it's time to seriously consider getting involved in this new HVAC career opportunity or involve your company in this expanding industry because it's happening either way.

Other HVAC Career Information

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 Dan Reed


Dan Reed (author) on August 09, 2018:

Thanks Natalie. I wanted it to be catchy but still be searchable. (Jury is still out) While HVAC is my thing but it won't just be HVAC. The legalization of MJ, agree or disagree, is going to open up a lot of specialized positions in the trades or create positions that people in the trades could move into.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on August 07, 2018:

I have to say, the title got my attention. I couldn't figure out what HVAC systems had to do with marijuana legalization. Definitely a creative title that hasn't been covered excessively!

Dan Reed (author) on April 25, 2018:

Thanks Alison. You're not alone. Many haven't realized the career opportunities that MJ will bring to North America outside of growing and selling.

Alison Monroe on April 25, 2018:

Well I never thought about this career opportunity, but it must exist. Interesting article.