Metal Building GreenhousesPosted on June 19, 2019 by Danielle Smith
Commercial greenhouses often need to enclose a large area with a requirement for long clear spans to allow their operations to function efficiently. They also need a commercial grade construction system that can be flexible, durable, and affordable. It’s no surprise then that metal buildings are being used to meet the need for all types of greenhouse growing operations, from flowering plants, to specialty horticultural products, and even for the large emerging market of legalized cannabis.
Here are some of the main reasons that metal buildings are being selected by more and more greenhouse operations.
The often humid indoor environment of a greenhouse creates conditions that can make other building systems break down prematurely. A galvanized metal building system can hold up against the moisture and the day to day rigors of a commercial growing operation. As an engineered structural system, it can also withstand the effects of weather that can be a hazard to less sturdy construction.
Large Clear Span/ Open Spaces
Greenhouses need space to support crops, store water, and process the harvesting of crops into final products. The column-free interiors that are possible with a metal building allow any or all of the functions to take place, be easily accessed, and allow complete flexibility for moving or adjusting the size or location of any of these needs.
The more sunlight that is available, the better the crops can grow. The metal building structure can be engineered to be very efficient, minimizing the profiles of metal building members thus allowing more room for glazing panels on the walls and/or the roof. In some instances, those glazing panels can be provided by a metal building manufacturer thus assuring a completely compatible and coordinated system. In others, they can be provided by a third party source and installed by the contractor.
Shorter Construction Schedules
Metal building systems are custom designed and factory fabricated to suit a particular project with components pre-drilled and pre-cut as appropriate. This typically results in a significant time savings of up to 33 percent when compared to a conventional steel frame and building enclosure construction. Shorter construction times means the building owner is operating sooner, not later.
The optimization of material usage and the streamlined installation of the components in a metal building requiring fewer labor hours all add up to direct construction cost savings. Add to that the long term low maintenance of metal buildings and the owner has a facility that is affordable to build and affordable to own and operate.
While the areas facing the sun are glazed, other areas may need to be insulated to protect the plants from unwanted heat and cold. Rather than just relying on a supplemental heating or cooling system, the opaque areas of a greenhouse can be designed and installed using insulated metal panels (IMPs) to provide a durable and energy saving component that helps keep temperatures in check.
Metal buildings are easy to expand. See our prior blog on this topic if you would like more details, but suffice to say that plants aren’t the only that can grow in a greenhouse – the building can too!
How does this all come together? A great example is a 4,000 square foot greenhouse in Leadville, Colorado. Architect Chris Green of Ago Studios worked with the building owner and the Ceco Building team to create a well-designed metal building greenhouse to support a year-round operation at an elevation of 10,200 feet above sea level! You can learn more about this interesting greenhouse project here.
If you are involved in any commercial greenhouse projects, you owe it to yourself to check out all the ways a metal building may be the best way to go by contacting your local Ceco representative.