By now, most of us are familiar with the term “CFO grow.” In this context, the chief financial officer determines the canopy size, designing rooms based entirely on a yield metric where the canopy’s square footage multiplied by the dollar value per pound equals a quick profit.

Many of those designs faced obstacles as challenges arose.

  • Pioneers pushing that metric and getting the possible canopy into a room were in uncharted waters from HVACD design.
  • Airflow issues led to mold, crop loss, and the expanded use of remediation technology
  • Veg couldn’t keep up which necessitated buying genetics from outside the facility.
  • Hop Latnent Viroid became the covid of cannabis terminated lineages, plummeting the performance of historic cultivars.
  • Cultivators with warehouses became “Master Growers” because that’s the title on a resume that would land the job.
  • Master growers became makeshift MEPs, human resources, and accounts management in addition to cultivators.

On a positive note.

  • We have all learned a lot from the transition of cultivation knowledge from the black market to the commercial cannabis industry.
  • Technology has evolved- HVAC, Fans, lights, and racking are now purpose-built for cannabis cultivation
  • Scientific research has evolved – studies on curing and water activity are the norm now when burping buckets drove early research

As we all evolve we learn to balance science, business, and real-world application to design facilities that are financially viable, are a great place to work, and help to create products the market demands.

So what did Grow Glide learn in that time period?  We learned how to better serve the customer and innovate.

One of the reasons why Airglide was created so you can smash as many plants into a room as possible.

A manifold designed to guide the air from the biggest fan reasonably from the front of the room to the back, tickling every leaf along the way. It makes the minimum 36-inch mobile aisle functional by helping the room cycle air efficiently with maximum canopy. But it’s not an HVACD system.

This is where racking layouts become crucial.

Where is your conditioned air supplied to the room? Where does it exit? How will airflow through the space? Where will the ducting and HVACD components be located? How much space do you need from the room entry to the racking components to efficiently load the room with plants? Do you need extra space at the front of the room to serve as an open-air mixing plenum in your multitier setups? Does your ceiling require tiers of different heights in the same room to meet clearance requirements?

How much space do you need between the plants and the back wall to maintain a healthy garden? And the considerations continue.


Even with all these factors, there are countless ways to lay out a room. At Grow Glide, we take pride in this process, as demonstrated by our Room Builder tool that we share with everyone.


Behind the scenes, we take deep dives with our potential customers to best understand their cultivation and business goals while exploring a rich catalog of solutions tailored to their needs.

Here is a simple and straightforward example of the impact of racking layouts on a room that is 32feet wide by 50ft long with 15ft ceilings.

Below are the parameters:

  • The door is on the 32ft side 
  • Minimum 4ft from the front wall to the racks
  • Minimum 36-inch working aisle between rows
  • Minimum 4 inches from the back wall? 
  • No pillars or obstructions

With a nonmobile solution, you would have 727 SQ. FT. of canopy and the layout would look like this:

With Fully mobile single tier racking you would increase to 1272 SQ. FT. of canopy and it would look like this:

With double-tier racking you would increase to 2,309 SQ. FT. of canopy and it would look like this:

Going three-tier fully mobile gets you 3464 canopy square feet:

And this is the moment the CFO Grow was born.

The linear math looks like this:

CanopySF x grams x price per gram makes us all want to turn this into a three-tier build.

Let’s say they (CFOs) project great flowers every run and sell for $1000/lb in your market.

Let’s say you expect to yield 65 G/SQ on average and maintain a conservative harvest schedule of 5 per year.

727.24 x 65 /454 = 104.12 x 1000 = 104,120 x 5 = $520,600 for the nonmobile design per year in top-line wholesale flower sales. 

1272.67 x65/454 = 182.21 x 1000 = 182210 x 5 = $911,050 for the fully mobile single tier design

2309.72 x 65/454 = 330.687 x 1000  = 330,687 x 5 = $1,653,435 for the two tier design

3464.58 x 65/454=496.03 x 1000 = 496,030 x 5 = $2,480,150 for the triple stack

The financial delta between the non-mobile solution and the three-tier option is almost $2M in top-line revenue…from the same space. That said, I think we would all like a little more room in the front for three tiers. Let’s say we leave 8ft up front and 2ft from the back wall for the three-tier we still get 3,128sf of flowering canopy and over 2.2M in flower sales… assuming we can get the HVACD and airflow support needed.

At this point, you are doing the math. More materials, more lights, more HVACD, more fertigation, bigger veg space, more labor. However, if you can pilot and tight ship like many of Grow Glides customers running successful three-tier setups you will have the operationally efficient facility possible. In the cannabis racecar world, this is Formula One and there is a lot at stake but your race has tremendous rewards.

But not everyone is ready to drive 200mph. Not everyone can handle the G-forces of market compression. You need a team to help you design the car and support you to the finish line

But you also need to choose your race.

Maybe your journey is a phased approach. Maybe it starts with fully mobile.

With our assumptions, there is a $400,000 top-line revenue difference from non-mobile to mobile. That’s per room so 3 rooms choosing to to go fully mobile increases yearly revenue by $1.2M. Maybe that doesn’t buy your team Ferraris in loud colors but it does allow you to invest back into your team, your business, and your brand. Those kinds of profits afford for appropriate maintenance investments, spare parts, and upgrades in future phases.