Proper Planning for Your Next Greenhouse Project Can Pay Off

Proper Planning for Your Next Greenhouse Project Can Pay Off

Atlas Greenhouse Project

There are a number of factors growers should consider before meeting with their builder on a new greenhouse, including climate and orientation. Photo: Atlas Greenhouse

Our team at Atlas Greenhouse has been involved in several greenhouse projects over the years. Recent projects include a new build at Speedling in Bushnell, FL, a project more than two years in the making. We also recently worked with a large grower near Fort Meyers, FL, to help them rebuild after damage from Hurricane Irma.

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With each of these projects, and with every other grower project we are involved in, the process starts with two goals that must be addressed:
• How to reduce labor. To improve efficiency and eliminate the need for unnecessary labor, we spend a lot of time looking at ways to help with traffic flow when moving plants in and out of the greenhouse.
• Make sure all the company’s decision makers are on the same page. A construction manager may have different ideas than a grower or a business owner. We try to meet with all of them and get everyone’s ideas in one meeting. This helps us get the best overview of what their plan is and what they’re trying to accomplish.

10 Factors to Consider

If you are in the early stages of planning a greenhouse design project, there are a number of items you’ll want to make note of, or questions you should answer, before meeting with a supplier.
• Have you appointed someone to be the overall project leader for your team?
• What type(s) of crops will you be growing? Will production be seasonal or year-round?
• What is the local climate at your location, and how will that affect the orientation of your greenhouse?
• What will your energy consumption be, and will you have sufficient access to electricity or natural gas?
• How do you want water to flow off of and away from your structure to avoid erosion?
• Will your crops have any additional heating/cooling or irrigation needs?
• How much automation do you want to include in the greenhouse, and what needs will this automation address (plant movement, climate control, irrigation, etc.)?
• What is your overall budget?
• What future expansion plans might you have down the road?
• Will the project require parts in high demand or made overseas? If so, have you scheduled accordingly to account for customs delays, etc.?

Here’s the bottom line: by planning ahead and knowing the answers to all these questions in advance, you should be able to make the challenge of a new build run smoother for both yourself and for your manufacturing partner.