Greenhouses need access to water, sunlight, and heat – when selecting one it’s important to look at ways of meeting these essential requirements in an eco-friendly manner.
Positioning a greenhouse on a south-facing slope (in the northern hemisphere) maximizes winter sunlight while limiting wind impact, thus cutting energy costs by eliminating the need for additional lighting solutions.
Glass is the Way to Go
Building a greenhouse requires thinking of the environment as much as possible. Employing eco-conscious building materials and energy-saving heating/lighting fixtures are essential to creating a long-term, eco-friendly structure. Furthermore, ensure that there is an easy way to access water from underground while controlling its temperature during construction.
Greenhouses can be made out of any material, but glass is one of the more eco-friendly choices. Plastic is less effective at trapping heat and sunlight than glass does; using double paned glass may make a bigger impactful statement about energy conservation than single-pane glass does. Double pane glass may cost slightly more but saves even more energy!
Location is also of utmost importance when choosing where to locate your greenhouse. To get maximum sunlight all year, an east-west orientation with an extended south side would work best, helping plants flourish faster while saving you on energy costs in the process.
Before building, carefully consider how your greenhouse will be ventilated. A greenhouse can quickly become hot and dry without enough ventilation, leading to mildew and mold growth that requires constant attention from its inhabitants. Install vents on both roof and side walls of your greenhouse in order to promote circulation for maximum effectiveness.
Selecting eco-friendly materials when building a greenhouse can have a dramatic positive impact on the planet, so selecting recycled or pre-used ones is of utmost importance. Doing this can save money while decreasing landfill trash volume significantly. When selecting new materials, be sure to opt for ones with low or no VOC levels; this will lower exposure to toxic chemicals in the air and ensure minimal environmental impacts.
Once your greenhouse is up and running, it’s essential that it be regularly monitored and maintained. A thermometer can help gauge how the soil inside is faring, while monitoring moisture levels of planters is also beneficial.
Coatings are Key
Greenhouses require considerable amounts of water and energy in order to nourish their plants, so it is vital that before beginning construction on one, you understand how to make it sustainable – this means being aware of where sustainable water sources come from, as well as knowing how best to deliver nutrients for their development.
Consider using renewable resources when choosing renewable materials for your greenhouse, both to help the environment and save money over time. Solar pumps could save on the cost of fuel while rainwater harvesting systems allow you to take full advantage of a natural resource that often goes wasted.
Location is another crucial component to its sustainability. Your greenhouse should be situated in an area that receives ample sunshine throughout the day and, ideally, should have one long side facing south to maximize free sunlight during winter and reduce dependence on additional lighting solutions.
Consider coatings as another eco-friendly measure for your greenhouse, as these will help make it more eco-friendly. Coatings provide both decorative and functional purposes by controlling sunlight/temperature control as well as protecting plants within its structure from harm. Look for products with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which will be less detrimental to the environment.
To further reduce the environmental footprint of your greenhouse, opt for a coating composed of recycled materials. Also look for one with low surface energy as this will prevent dirt and debris accumulation on its exterior surface.
Use energy-efficient heating and cooling systems in your greenhouse to minimize its environmental impact, such as solar panels or ground or air source heat installations. Furthermore, black plastic bottles lining interior walls absorb sun’s heat during the daytime before gradually releasing it during nightfall. This can significantly lower energy costs.
Plastic or Fiberglass
Sustainability when building a greenhouse depends heavily on the materials chosen. Selecting something durable that won’t pollute the environment when broken down is crucial – glass holds heat more effectively than plastic while being more eco-friendly. You can also use the greenhouse as a summer house if you want.
Environmentally friendly greenhouses can also be built using materials that have been repurposed or recycled – this means less waste when the greenhouse eventually breaks down!
One such way could be using recycled wood or stones to construct your greenhouse’s foundation instead of purchasing brand new ones; alternatively, concrete or stone pavers could help prevent soil erosion while conserving water resources.
Solar panels provide an effective means of heating and lighting your greenhouse. LED lights may also play an integral part in this effort as they’re more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
Drip irrigation systems offer more sustainable ways of watering the crops inside your greenhouse than sprinkler systems do, since they directly and efficiently water plants reducing consumption by as much as 70%.
Dependent upon where your greenhouse is situated, using natural water sources as your main source of irrigation may also be more sustainable. Water pumps can access nearby wells, streams and ponds while rainwater harvesting provides free use of a resource often wasted.
Greenhouses can be useful tools for growing different crops, yet the basic energy requirements remain the same. To reduce energy use and costs, greenhouses must be properly heated and vented – using a thermostat set at the lowest temperature appropriate to each crop being grown will ensure air does not become too hot and harm their plants. It’s also essential that shade cloth be added where appropriate in order to prevent sunlight overheating the crops too quickly.
Used or Recycled Materials
Growing plants is an enjoyable way to connect with nature, while at the same time protecting our ecosystem. Greenhouses can be great places for us to get in touch with Mother Earth when constructed from sustainable materials.
Greenhouses are designed to protect plants from weather elements while simultaneously regulating temperature and providing sunlight. Making use of recycled materials in your greenhouse is an effective way of going green while saving money – in fact, many opt to build their own out of scrap wood, old windows and tarps already lying around the home or yard – the trick lies in finding an aesthetic balance that serves both function and form.
There are numerous websites and books with free greenhouse plans to assist your eco-friendly efforts. These plans often feature detailed photos and written instructions that can help you build an attractive structure while being efficient and functional at the same time. Some even provide tips from experienced gardeners, along with construction guidelines to make the entire project simpler.
Another inexpensive and eco-friendly greenhouse option is to make one from recycled old doors or railings, scrap wood, and PVC pipe from local recycling centers and garage sales, plus groups on Facebook for passionate gardeners in your area that may offer unwanted doors or windows as donations.