Maintaining your greenhouse can mean more than sealing doors, greasing hinges, and repairing tears or cracks in coverings. For commercial greenhouses, proper maintenance also means making necessary upgrades to keep your operation efficient and your workforce effective. Not only can this result in healthier plants, but also better profit margins.
Greenhouse technology changes quickly. For that reason, consider that a greenhouse has about 10-15 years of useful life in it in terms of its systems, such as heating, cooling, etc. The structure itself may last a lot longer, but planning to upgrade the working parts of your greenhouse operation is necessary to stay competitive.
Whether your greenhouse upgrade is imminent or still potentially several years away, take inventory of the following and the upgraded options so you’ll be prepared to make investments in your greenhouse when the time comes.
Benching. Need more space? If you have stationary benches, making the switch to movable or rolling benches can help you increase your production area by up to 25 percent.
Glazing. Manage heating costs by reviewing your glazing. It’s likely you regularly reglaze, but be especially mindful of acrylic and glass, which dulls easily. A greenhouse grade glaze that diffuses light, coupled with an infrared layer that adds energy efficiency is ideal.
Heating. High efficiency, condensing type gas systems are among the most efficient options available. To improve heating efficiency, also install horizontal air flow fans to improve heat distribution. Alternative fuels can also help reduce energy costs.
Ventilation. Making the move to natural ventilation will have a significant impact on your energy costs as well. Roll-up side walls, large roof vents and open roof designs make this a widely available option. If you must use fans, switch to those with a ventilation efficiency rating of 16 and up.
Controls. Another option to help cut your energy costs is to upgrade your control system. Some of the latest technology now combines heating and cooling in one device. By streamlining the monitoring, this helps the systems work more efficiently, ensuring they don’t overlap.
Irrigation. Manage water usage and labor and energy costs by upgrading your irrigation system to an automatic one. Ebb-and-flood benches and flood-floor recycle systems can also help conserve water and help save on fertilizer.
Materials Handling. Increase productivity by automating the way you move plants. Many automated options are available, including rotating basket systems, container filling, potting and labeling, etc. Also consider conveyors and carts to move plants, as they offer the most inexpensive option.
Have questions about a particular system or upgrade cost? We’re greenhouse experts! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.