Are you fond of gardening or farming? How about building a greenhouse? Wondering how much does it cost to build a greenhouse? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here in this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about greenhouses and the overall cost needed to build one.
1. What is a Greenhouse?
Greenhouses are structures made of transparent materials that allow the growth of various types of plants in a controlled environment. The greenhouse makes farming possible even in unfavorable climates.
There are different types of greenhouses based on their shapes, sizes, building materials, and purposes. Their scale and type range from small DIY greenhouses to large commercial greenhouses. Different types include hoop greenhouses, Gothic arch greenhouses, geodesic greenhouses, and the list goes on. The cost of building the greenhouse per square foot also varies depending on the type.
Thinking about how much does it cost to build a greenhouse? We will discuss that in detail, before that let’s understand how greenhouses work.
2. Working Principle of a Greenhouse
Are you curious to know about the working principle of greenhouses? The transparent building materials of greenhouses absorb sun rays, and the plants and other contents inside convert them into heat. The heat is released gradually by the plants and surrounding factors like the floor. This process creates a warm climate favorable for plant growth inside the greenhouse.
The transparent building materials of the greenhouse absorb light but they do not allow the heat to pass through. This trapped heat ensures a microclimate warm enough for plants to thrive. The heating, ventilation, cooling, and lighting inside the greenhouses can be controlled by using various technologies.
The large commercial greenhouse uses computer-aided optimization to ensure the desired artificial microclimate. Depending on the sophistication the cost per square foot also changes. The cost to build a greenhouse depends on many factors like type, size, and additional equipment.
3. Why are Greenhouses Important? Top Seven Benefits
3.1. Controlled Climate
The best thing about growing plants in a greenhouse is that you can control the climate inside. The humidity and temperature suitable for plant growth can be maintained by using various techs.
Installing fans, vents and electric heaters inside the greenhouse helps to control the cooling, heating, and ventilation. The cost per square foot of the greenhouse changes depending on the additional utilities. You don’t have to worry about the unpredictability of the weather while doing greenhouse farming.
3.2. Year-Round Production
Greenhouse farming allows you to cultivate even during adverse weather. Thus extending the growing season. You can keep the crops warm even during the winter season by adjusting the microclimate inside the greenhouse. The year-round production ensures more efficient use of every square foot of your farming area.
3.3. Higher Productivity
Greenhouse farming ensures better productivity as it is less vulnerable to adverse weather conditions. The productivity is enhanced due to the availability of a suitable climate and due to carbon dioxide enrichment. Commercial greenhouse farming is the best way to achieve higher productivity, especially in colder regions. Curious to know- how much does it cost to build a greenhouse on a commercial scale? well, we will discuss it in later sections.
3.4. Better Distribution of Light
The transparent building materials ensure the entry of an ample amount of light thus better distribution of light. The availability of light is crucial for photosynthesis.
You can customize and make your greenhouse portable. The rooftop greenhouses can be installed anywhere. Based on the customization and portability, the answer to the question of how much does it cost to build a greenhouse? also varies.
3.6. Diversified Production
One of the best things about the greenhouse is the fact that it is suitable for a diverse variety of crops including fruits, veggies, and your favorite flowering plants. Crops like tomatoes, strawberries, orchids all grow well in the greenhouse. The commercial greenhouses open a lot of possibilities like mixed cropping and vertical farming
3.7. Better Pest Management
Since the greenhouse offers a closed enclosure, it is easy to implement pest management measures. The greenhouse structure itself helps to prevent vermin, pests, and other diseases.
After understanding all the benefits of greenhouses, are you planning to install one at home? Well, let’s make your job easier. In the next section, we are going to discuss different types of greenhouses and the costs needed to build them. So, if you are wondering- how much does it cost to build a greenhouse? read on!
4. Types of Greenhouses and Costs to Build
The Greenhouses are classified into different types based on construction style, site of installation, and materials used. Let’s discuss different types of greenhouses and the cost per square foot required to build them.
4.1. Rooftop Greenhouse
The rooftop greenhouse is the best option for farming in urban areas. They make farming possible even in areas lacking enough land to grow crops. They can be constructed on the top of apartment buildings, restaurants, shops, etc. The greenhouse cost per square foot depends on the size and extra additions like heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
They can be built on a flat roof or they can be installed along the walls. They ensure not only healthy crops but also provide better quality air around your home. These greenhouses are becoming popular in urban areas because they offer a great opportunity to green the cities without compromising any urbanization. This is important against the backdrop of global warming.
The greenhouse also helps to save energy by providing cooling in summer and heating in winter. While building these greenhouses you need to pick the building materials carefully, they should be strong enough to withstand weather changes.
Metal frames or glass are good options, you can either build the greenhouse by yourself or seek the help of professional greenhouse builders. Curious about how much does it cost to build a greenhouse on the rooftop? The average cost per square foot of a rooftop greenhouse is around $ 10 to $25. The average greenhouse costs may increase if you are planning to build a large commercial greenhouse with more sophisticated techs.
If you are living in an urban area and facing space constraints just go for a rooftop greenhouse
4.2. Hoop Greenhouse
The greenhouses get their name from its hoop-like structures. They can be built more easily compared to other types and are relatively the cheapest. You can choose from varying sizes depending on your individual needs.
The hoops are installed on the ground and plastic is used to cover the hoop greenhouse. The biggest advantage of the hoop greenhouse is its structure which enables rain and snow to slide over. The usage of plastic sheeting also makes it a cheaper option. The hoop-styled greenhouse is a great option if you are planning to build a cheaper greenhouse in your backyard.
The hoop-styled greenhouse costs around $5 to $15 per square foot to build. You can also try building them by buying a hoop greenhouse kit or by getting professional help.
4.3. Pit Greenhouse
The pit greenhouses are built by digging a hole in the ground and attaching a glass structure above. The best thing about the pit greenhouse is its ability to maintain a warm environment. Since the hole is dug on the ground, the warmer earth makes heating easier.
This is especially useful in colder regions. You can customize the upper structure as per your preference. However one of the key factors to be considered while building a pit greenhouse is the type of soil in the region.
Wondering about – how much does it cost to build a greenhouse of pit type? This highly energy-efficient pit greenhouse costs approximately $20 to $ 25 per square foot. They are suitable for growing a wide variety of crops. You can choose a good company or build it yourself depending on the size and complexity of the structure you want to build.
4.4. Gothic Arch Greenhouse
Are you fond of Gothic architecture? Well, Gothic Archs are famous for their strength and their structure adds an aesthetic touch to your greenhouse. Its specific design makes it immune to strong winds and snow.
The Gothic arch greenhouse is available in various sizes and as for the framing you can choose according to your budget. The Gothic arch greenhouse can be installed on the ground or raised platforms. One of the greatest advantages of the Gothic arch greenhouse is its height. This allows you to grow plants that grow in height.
One disadvantage associated with arch-type greenhouses is the narrow side greenhouse walls. The average cost is around $ 10 -$20 per square foot. They are more suitable if you are planning to build a smaller one rather than a large commercial greenhouse.
4.5. Dome Greenhouses
The Dome Greenhouses is a good option if you are planning to build a greenhouse where you can walk around or look for a space to sit and relax. If your budget is low you can also go for a small greenhouse. They are also called geodesic greenhouses.
As the name indicates, they are dome-shaped. The larger surface area of the structure ensures the absorption of an ample amount of light. Usually metal frame covered with plastic sheeting or glass is used to build the outer structure. The cost of building a dome greenhouse or geodesic greenhouse is approximately $ 10 to $ 25 per square foot.
4.6. Solar Greenhouse
The Solar greenhouse is a step towards a more sustainable and greener future. These greenhouses are comparatively more expensive to build but they enhance the overall absorption of sunlight and hence raise the temperature inside.
They need an arch-styled south wall to ensure better harvesting of sunlight. But, how much does it cost to build a greenhouse with solar panels? These greenhouses cost around $35 to $45 per square foot to build. If you are planning to construct a larger commercial greenhouse costs will rise depending on the frames, ventilation systems, coating materials, and other technological additions. Even though greenhouse costs are higher, it’s a good way of using renewable energy.
The Lean-to-green houses are built attached to walls. They are comparatively easy to construct and are suitable if you are planning to build a small-scale greenhouse attached to your home. Having an attached wall makes it suitable for small households.
They require fewer materials to build and usually cost around $25 per square foot. You can build it along the house or attached to your garage. They can be constructed using a wooden frame or steel frame with glass covers or plastic sheeting as per the budget of your greenhouse project.
4.8. Barn-Style Greenhouse
The barn-style greenhouses roof is characterized by slanted edges. This structural feature provides more space for plants to grow compared to other greenhouse styles. They are typically made out of wooden or steel frames with ground-level vents.
The barn-style greenhouses on average cost around $25 to 35$ per square foot to build. The overall cost varies depending on the size and additional types of equipment you need to attach.
5. How Much Does it Cost to Build a Greenhouse? Factors To Consider!
How much does it cost to build a greenhouse? The cost of building a greenhouse depends on the various factors. They are listed below.
- The Type of Greenhouse
- Size of the Greenhouse
- Framing Materials
- Coating Materials
- Site Preparation
- Labour Cost
- Insulation, Ventilation, and Cooling facilities
- Additional Factors
Let’s discuss each of the factors in detail to understand the cost required to build a greenhouse.
5.1. Type of Greenhouse
As we discussed earlier there are different types of greenhouses ranging from rooftop to barn-style greenhouses. The type you choose will be a crucial factor in deciding the cost. A hoop greenhouse is generally the cheapest with an average cost of $5 to $ 15 per square foot. A lean-to greenhouse can also made on a lesser budget since it is built attached to a permanent wall.
At the same time if are planning more elaborate ones like solar green house the building cost will rise. The more complicated additions and structure will also lead to higher labor costs.
5.2. Size of the Greenhouse
The most important factor in deciding the overall cost of building a greenhouse is its size. Generally a greenhouse of the size 12’x12′ costs around $3,590.00 to build. For a size 6’x8′ greenhouse, the price may go down to, $482.00.
But if you are building a larger one about 1 acre in size the building cost will be around $45,000 to $100,000. The larger structures also need more additions like extra fans which will further increase the cost. The large commercial greenhouses cost around $3 to $ 30 per square foot to build. So, the cost of building a greenhouse depends very much on the size you choose.
5.3. Framing Materials
The frame materials are an important deciding factor when it comes to overall cost. PVC, wood, steel, and plastic are generally used to build the frame. The PVC and plastic frames are the cheapest. Buying a Polycarbonate greenhouse kit is a good option if you are building a small-scale one. For more larger frames stronger materials like steel are needed.
The wooden frame may cost around $ 1 per foot on the other hand for steel frame may reach $ 2.5 per foot. But rigid steel frames are more sturdy and last longer.
5.4. Coating Materials
Polyethylene and tempered glass are fiberglass commonly used coating materials. The glass costs higher but it lasts longer. The average cost for a glass coating is about $2.50 per square foot.
The cheaper corrugated fiberglass costs around $2 per square foot but more durable glass costs higher, about $3.50 per square foot.
UV-stabilized polyethylene or LDPE plastic sheeting are other cheaper options. But compared to polyethylene, LDPE is non-toxic. The plastic coatings require to be replaced after every few years and they need to be washed regularly. Plastic or polyethylene costs around $0.10 to $0.50 per square foot. On the other hand, polycarbonate coating costs $1.60 to $3 per square foot.
Plastic coatings are good choices for smaller stand-alone greenhouses and lean-to-greenhouses. But for larger commercial greenhouses, glass is more suitable.
5.5. Site Preparation
The costs for site preparation vary depending on the terrain. If you are building the greenhouse on level land, the cost associated with site preparation will be lower. But if it’s an uneven or hilly terrain you might need professional help from greenhouse builders which will raise the cost. The site preparation cost can vary from $3 to $15 per square foot or even higher depending on the terrain.
5.6. Labor Cost
If you are building a larger greenhouse labor costs will be higher. Also while calculating the labor cost you also need to factor in the various technicians required to install the systems for ventilation, heating, etc. Usually, the labor cost is also included while greenhouse builders quote the cost per square foot of greenhouse.
5.7. Insulation, Ventilation, and Cooling Cost
If you are planning to add more utilities to your greenhouse the cost will go up. Additional heating may be required to maintain the ideal greenhouse temperature depending on the local climate. The insulation, heating, and cooling systems may include Thermal screens, bubble wraps, heaters, and greenhouse ventilation. Their costs vary depending on the specifications of your greenhouse. The thermal screens cost around $2 to $4 per square foot.
5.8. Additional Costs
Some additional miscellaneous factors influence the overall cost. They include permit cost, door type, and additions like shelving inside the greenhouse. Do consider these costs and they vary depending upon location and your preferences. Going for customizations like sitting areas inside the greenhouse further increases the cost.
Many people prefer to build foundations for their greenhouse. This will increase the cost per square foot further. Stone gravel or concrete slabs can be used to build the foundation. The stone gravel costs approximately in the range of $1 to $3 per square foot. Larger commercial greenhouses require concrete slabs which cost around $3 to $6 per square foot.
6. Overall Cost Analysis
The cost of building a greenhouse depends upon many factors like type of greenhouse, size, materials used, location, and additional utilities. On average the smaller greenhouse of of 6’x8′ size the greenhouse construction cost is about $482.00, on the other hand, larger ones spanning across an acre may cost $45,000 to $100,000 and even more.
7. Final thoughts
In this blog post, we discussed about greenhouses and the costs involved in building them. We hope that all your worries about – how much does it cost to build a greenhouse? are solved. So, are you ready to take up a greenhouse project? Greenhouses not only increase the productivity of your crops but also make our cities more greener and environmentally friendly.
A passionate content writer bubbling with curiosity to explore new things. Shilpa is an content writer with experience in writing travel blogs and she is also a avid painter. Coming from Engineering background she is tech savvy and always like to find creative ways to tell new stories.