Greenhouse growers in every industry need to gain any advantage they can over their competitors to sustain success. While trying to obtain this competitive edge, many growers focus solely on what equipment will improve their operation, and often overlook one of the most important factors: the structure itself, explains GrowSpan's latest blog post.
A structure is the foundation to any greenhouse operation, and it’s important for growers to acquire a production space that’s not only versatile, but that can also accommodate the ever-changing needs of their business. If growers neglect their greenhouse’s design, they potentially hinder their chances for long-term success before production’s even begun.
A gutter connected greenhouse offers the best way for commercial growers to plan for the future and gain long-term advantages. As a modular greenhouse, a gutter connected greenhouse helps growers avoid over-spending up front and allows them to expand as their business dictates. By having a plan for expansion from the beginning, growers can give their business the basis it needs to stay successful over time.
What is a gutter connected greenhouse?
A gutter connected greenhouse is a growing structure that’s designed to be easily added on to in order to increase growing space and keep crop production under one roof. This structure is considered a modular greenhouse, because it is comprised of individual bays, which can be attached and expanded upon infinitely.
If growers are planning to eventually expand their operation, then a gutter connected greenhouse is the most economical choice. A free-standing greenhouse is still a viable option, but operations will have to continuously purchase new separate structures, which can be expensive and more difficult to maintain long-term than gutter-connect structures.
Growers who are just starting out can begin with a single bay of a gutter connected greenhouse, and then easily expand their operation down the line by adding more bays. This helps them get a superior growing space that is more manageable, catered to their budget and allows them to develop as they see fit.
Gutter connected greenhouse advantages
A gutter connected greenhouse offers growers a number of advantages that will help their operations stay successful over time. From simpler expansion to short and long-term savings, as well as improved crop production, growers can more easily optimize their operation with a gutter-connect design.
Simplified greenhouse expansion
When growers design their initial structure with expansion in mind, they make it quick and low cost to grow their business. New construction won’t interfere with the current operation, as growers can simply add a bay to their existing greenhouse, without disrupting ongoing production.
Operations also avoid having to build a completely new structure, mitigating the headache that often comes with expansion. Blueprints for new structures can be expensive, but with an engineered gutter connected greenhouse, growers will already have stamped drawings that may make it easier to get expansion plans approved by municipalities. This can make the process cheaper and easier, so growers who think ahead with a modular greenhouse will be able to grow more aggressively in their market.
The gutter-connect design presents an opportunity for significant savings, both short-term and long-term. Operations can start with as many bays as they can afford, which means there’s far less of a chance of going over budget.
Environmental control systems and utilities are simpler to install when growers connect greenhouses, so they can save on costs for accessories and necessary resources for crops. By keeping everything under one structure, computer systems, water supply and electrical setups can all be consolidated to make installation and maintenance less expensive.
This provides a subsequent boost to labor efficiency as well. Automation becomes easier to implement throughout a singular structure, and workers are able to operate under one roof, rather than maneuvering between different, free-standing greenhouse structures.
A gutter connected greenhouse typically also provides greater energy-efficiency than several free-standing structures. With a smaller ratio of cladding area to floor space, heating costs can be significantly cheaper than in multiple greenhouses with an equivalent floor area.
Improved crop production
A gutter connected greenhouse lets growers take full advantage of their total usable space and maximize their growing area. Free-standing commercial greenhouses are separate and leave gaps of unused space between each individual structure. However, in a gutter connected greenhouse, this space can be filled with crops to maximize an operation’s output, leading to more crops produced per square foot.
Generally, there is also less temperature fluctuation in a gutter connected greenhouse, which makes it easier to maintain the desired temperatures for specific crop types. When growers have this level of environmental control and their harvest is under one roof, they can promote uniform growth and more easily monitor crop health. If a disease or pest outbreak happens to occur, bays can be sealed off in the structure to prevent the contaminate from spreading through an entire harvest.
Which gutter connected greenhouse design is best?
When it comes to selecting a gutter connected greenhouse, GrowSpan’s S2000 Commercial Greenhouse is an excellent option, according to the post. This modular greenhouse is designed to optimize crop production and provide a durable, reliable growing space that will last years.
Both sides of the S2000 feature gutters that allow growers to expand in either direction and build a greenhouse of any size. Whether growers begin with a singular bay, or acquire multiple at once, the S2000 will provide wide bays that optimize available space and boost crop development.
The S2000 gutter connected greenhouse also boasts a triple-galvanized frame that is clad with 8 mm twin-wall polycarbonate, allowing it to stand up to demanding regions with a heavy snow load or severe wind loads. 10’ tall sidewalls provide ample gutter height and increase crop space, while ridge vents and a peak-roof design help the structure to be naturally ventilated. This design also limits the buildup of water, ice and snow on the modular greenhouse.
For more information:
GrowSpan Greenhouse Structures