Why Greenhouse Under-Gutter Height Matters
I don’t think there are many greenhouse manufacturers still left in the Dark Ages of “keep your greenhouse low or your heat costs will rise,” but if you do come across one, run for your plant life! Here are some reasons to consider building higher.
1. Taller houses cast less shadow on your crop.
I was not being facetious when I used the term the Dark Ages to describe the period of 7- to 9-foot-tall greenhouses. The modern commercial greenhouse standard height in North America is 16 feet for floral crops and 21 feet to 24 feet for vine climbing produce, but don’t quote me for too long on that one. Builders continue to raise their roofs with every build. Taller greenhouses allow you to produce more crop in the same footprint. They can accommodate double-hung and even triple-hung hanging baskets, while still providing a healthy environment for the plants at ground level, with better airflow and light levels.
2. Taller greenhouse environments can be controlled with less energy spikes.
When you increase greenhouse height, you increase the air volume that you are controlling. The greater the air volume, the slower changes in temperature occur. By moderating temperature fluctuations, you create a healthier environment for your plants. Some of our customers told us they have been able to reduce their heating costs in greenhouse ranges that are 3 or 4 feet taller than standard height greenhouses. When it comes to ventilation, taller greenhouses also have more air drawing out of the roof vents, which creates more efficient cooling.
3. If you are going to put in energy curtains now or want the possibility for them in the future, plan for a taller greenhouse.
No one wants their employees to have to duck between energy curtain wires. Put the curtains high enough that you don’t have to worry about this. And while you are at it, we recommend you have 18 inches between the top chord of your truss and your gutter, which allows most shade systems to be installed with ease.
Although we recommend building higher, every greenhouse grower has an ideal growing environment that works for them. The structural decisions you make will of course depend on your geographical location, what crops you’re growing and the climate of the market you are selling into.