Chapter 1

Greenhouse Structures and Design

Types of Greenhouses

There are two basic types of greenhouse: attached and free-standing and attached (gutter-connected). Freestanding greenhouses are completely independent structures that come in a variety of different designs. Attached greenhouses are exactly what they sound like: greenhouses attached to another structure (e.g., other greenhouses).

Free-standing Greenhouses

Free-standing structures are separate from other buildings or greenhouses. Free-standing greenhouses come in four different designs: even span, uneven span, Gothic, and Quonset.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Free-standing Greenhouses

A free-standing greenhouse has certain advantages and disadvantages. One advantage of a separate house is that it is easier to program and maintain the temperature to meet specific crop requirements. In addition, free-standing greenhouses are easier to ventilate without exposing the plants to erratic temperature fluctuations or harsh blasts of cold air. The light in a free-standing greenhouse is uniformly distributed over the entire growing area. In attached greenhouses, the roof gutters cut down on the light admitted and shade the crops, affecting their growth.

Attached Greenhouses

Attached greenhouses are actually several greenhouses connected together with a common roof. Various styles of attached greenhouses include ridge-and-furrow, barrel vault, Rover, Venlo, and sawtooth. A range of greenhouses is easily expanded in size by simply adding an additional connected greenhouse.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Attached Greenhouses

Attached greenhouse structures occupy less land and have no sidewalls; therefore, fewer materials are needed for construction. Because there are no walls where the gutters are, more interior space is available than in several free-standing structures. Less energy is required to heat and cool the greenhouse because the exposed wall surface area is reduced. It is cheaper, and thus more feasible, to automate the single consolidated space inside a gutter-connected greenhouse than the multiple equivalent spaces in several free-standing greenhouses.

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