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How Facility Emissions Assessments Can Help Cultivators Avoid Liability

Why understanding your canopy’s emission profile is critical for tackling odor and protecting profits

Community complaints of odor from Cannabis operations are at an all time high, nationwide. This is due, in part, to cultivators’ continued reliance on HVAC systems that are not engineered for Cannabis odor control. Byers Emissions Analysis solves this problem using data from first-in-its-class emissions profiling to help commercial cultivators prepare for and resolve site-specific odor issues. 

Byers Emissions Analysis, led by nationally recognized Cannabis emissions scientists Dr. Alex Guenther and Dr. Will Vizuete, offers one-of-a-kind Cannabis facility emissions assessments. We don’t just rely on ambient air sampling. Instead, we assess the total number of molecules our clients’ plants emit to ensure we capture the various terpenes and other complex compounds. This data allows you to efficiently, effectively, and sustainably sequester odor molecules through right-sized odor mitigation solutions.

Cannabis odor and emissions is a complex field of study that has yet to undergo rigorous, global research. What is known is that cannabis odor is typically strongest during the flowering stage. We also know that plants often emit odor at the highest concentrations during plant agitation, such as during harvesting and processing. There are over 200 unique molecules in cannabis plant emissions. These molecules are comprised of monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, thiols, and other compounds. Like other recent studies on the topic, our research has identified the compound 3-Methyl, 2-Butene, 1-Thiol as a potential contributor to the most common cannabis odor. 

Byers Emissions Analysis has been developing the methods and techniques to identify and quantify that compound along with several others specific to Cannabis, as we have found many other thiols emitted from the plant during our leaf enclosure studies.  It appears that there is no singular molecule causing the ‘skunk-like’ smell, so Byers Emissions Analysis comprehensively measures all the complex emissions coming from the plant using the Leaf Enclosure Method. .

Byers Facility Emissions Assessments

Each assessment begins with measuring an identified number of plant strains and their individual emissions. We use the Leaf Enclosure Method to determine the types and quantities of site-specific terpenes and other BVOCs. We also take a specified number of air samples at the facility to provide our scientists with the full picture of the molecules present. 

Using this data, we can calculate emissions factors for each strain as we continue to build the first-ever Cannabis Emissions Inventory for air quality, odor, and terpene drift. Interestingly, our studies have shown significant variability in the rate and composition of BVOC emissions across (and even among) Cannabis strains. 

Our lab then analyzes all collected samples using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). With all emissions data, the Byers team of scientists can quantify the site-specific gas-phase emission rate based on the number of strains, plant count, life stage, and estimated plant weight.

Why does this matter?

Standard ambient air sampling reveals only a fraction of the canopy’s actual emissions. Only through Leaf Enclosure Studies and subsequent Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis can you measure your canopy’s true emissions profile. A facility-specific emission profile then provides the foundation for odor mitigation planning. 

We can ultimately plug all of this collected and calculated facility data into our Mass Balance Calculator. The calculator allows us to mathematically determine the exact number of commercial-scale Molecular Filtration Units required to sequester the odor molecules as a function of the area’s total volume. For example, we can determine that a 225,000 ft³ cultivation space requires two (2) 6,000 cfm molecular filtration systems (i.e., 12,000 cfm), which equals ~3 air exchanges/hour. This precision doesn’t just improve efficiency, it also helps prevent “over-scrubbing,” which can negatively impact plant health. Understanding the optimal number of air exchanges required to fully neutralize your site’s Cannabis emissions before odor molecules have a chance to escape is the first step in comprehensive odor mitigation planning.


With our comprehensive odor abatement planning, site-specific research and modeling, and consulting services, we better equip Cannabis businesses to operate without interruption from community complaints. The only true odor mitigation solution is engineered using this bottom-up approach. 

Whether you are applying for cultivation licensing, preparing deliverables for a pending license, or actively cultivating, we are here to help you operate smoothly.  

At Byers Emissions Analysis, we solve the most complex odor and emissions challenges that the Cannabis industry faces. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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Terpenes and Testing

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