Plants vs. People Controls – Our New Partnership with Argus Controls

By: Victor Carranza, BAS Solutions Engineer at Athena Engineering

Growing Business and Plants:

We are in the business of providing people the perfect environment and giving them the ability to control it. We look at a building as a blank canvas and the integration of building systems as our Mona Lisa, taking into account the building, the client’s needs, and the client’s budget. That is why we have begun to support and integrate many systems inclusive of DSX Access Controls, Pelco video surveillance, and lighting controls with Schneider Electric EcoStruxure and Honeywell Niagara. Having all of these systems under a single interface and putting together the design is our specialty. We are constantly searching for other systems that do the same thing.

Argus Controls:

We first learned about Argus Controls while providing a design-build proposal for a two-story indoor growing and cultivation facility. The Argus Controls system and the quality of their drawings left us with curiosity. They controlled everything involving the life cycle of the plants, inclusive of temperature, humidity, fertigation (aka irrigation), nutrient control, and CO2 levels. Of particular interest to us was that their systems ranged from 40,000 square foot indoor cannabis automation to a greenhouse for growing tomatoes covering thousands of acres. On top of commercial greenhouse crop production, Argus is heavily involved in bioscience research facilities. We saw the versatility, flexibility, and the quality of their product. Clearly others did too since they are specified in 90% of the research market projects. The cherry on top of this plant growing powerhouse is the integration capabilities of this system via BACnet. This means Argus Controls can play nicely with other building automation systems.

Figure 1. Aerial View of Facility with Argus Controls Figure 2. Indoor cannabis Growing Facility


We love it when other systems talk BACnet because we can design and build comprehensive, customized solutions to our clients. The BACnet protocol enables interoperability of building systems where data is shared and individual systems respond to each other. Not only do building systems exist in the same house, but they live with each other; cooking together, telling each other jokes, and cleaning together. Unlike my college roommates who never left their rooms. Ultimately, building systems working together allows for greater autonomy and building owners/operators can shift their focus from building operations to business goals.

It is our goal to develop such systems for our clients. Our symbiotic relationship with Argus and our title of Channel Partner is a testament to our commitment to custom solutions for our clients. Being a channel partner means getting support from Argus and drinking from their bottomless well of knowledge. While Argus brings their expertise in horticulture, our knowledge of HVAC and automation offers a complete package to the Southern California market.

Experts in Automation for All Growers:

Argus Controls, a subsidiary of Conviron, is a leader in environmental controls for plants, crops, and cannabis. Argus Controls has been providing controls for plant and crop production for over 30 years. Conviron specializes in providing customized growing chambers for plants, crops, or cannabis. From poinsettias to cannabis, their systems are found installed in greenhouses, indoor growing facilities, and even research institutions. No matter how large or small the project, Argus Controls and our collaboration with them will cultivate the perfect solution for all.

About Athena Engineering, Inc.:

Athena Engineering, Inc. is a building systems contractor that helps commercial, industrial, and institutional clients find comfort in their environments and gives them the tools to maintain it. Our in-house Mechanical HVAC construction and Building Automation divisions specialize in notoriously complicated environments like hospitals, laboratories, infrastructure, utility, and operational facilities. Founded in 1984 by Richard and Jannie Chiera, our family of team members now numbers over 40 people. The 36-year old company was the recipient of the NMSDC National Minority Supplier of the Year and the WBEC-WEST Woman-Owned Business of the Year in 2018. Learn more about us. 

About Victor:

Victor joined the Athena Engineering Family upon graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He studied mechanical engineering with a focus on HVAC. He is in charge of estimating for the building automation team as well as assisting Athena with marketing and business development pursuits. Although interested in automation and technology, Victor enjoys taking weekend getaways to the mountains to sleep underneath the stars. Contact Victor.