If you always wanted to be more eco-friendly, building your own greenhouse is one of the best ways to do it. Building a greenhouse allows you to grow your own plants, cultivate fruits and vegetables and do your part to boost sustainability. But designing a greenhouse isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Sure, you could go build a makeshift one; one that keeps your plants safe from elements. However, to be more sustainable, you need to build one from the ground up. To make going green just a little easier, we created this guide that explains everything you need to know about designing and building sustainable greenhouses.
1. Financing Your Project
Before we get into what a sustainable greenhouse is and why they’re so important, let’s talk about the cost. Designing a sustainable greenhouse does come at a cost, so before you start your passion project, you need to iron out your finances. As with any home renovation project, you need a viable way to pay for without into the red. This can involve saving up or finding ways to cut monthly costs, so you can invest those funds into the project.
You can start by looking at your monthly finances and determining where you can cut corners. If you have high-interest credit cards, you can either try to pay them off earlier, or speak to the company about lowering your interest rate. If you’re paying on student loans, you can consider refinancing them. Depending on your situation, you may be able to save enough to invest in your greenhouse. If you’re familiar with how the refinancing process works, you can view this site to learn whether this is the right choice for you.
2. What Exactly is Sustainable Greenhouse Gardening?
Greenhouse gardening is an excellent way to cultivate your own plants and food. Since the process takes up only a small space on your own property. These sustainable structures also help to keep the ecosystems preserved, in addition to any wildlife. When compared with traditional farming techniques, this method is far more sustainable. In addition, when designed with sustainability as the goal, you will have to consider the investment in energy and water. But from the planning stages to operation, these types of gardens preserve natural resources and lower your carbon footprint.
3. Sustainable Design Checklist
Creating your greenspace should always be laid out beforehand. To get the process started, you need to write a checklist of what you need to do and how you want to go about it. While not set in stone, your checklist may look something like this:
- Choosing the size
- Construct of the structure
- Selecting the right materials
- Installing water systems
- Follow the 3 R design: Reduce, recycle and reuse
4. Choose the Size
Deciding where to erect your greenhouse is just part of the first step. While you do have to be careful where you choose to put it, you also need to think about the overall size. Since heating costs can add up in the winter, you need to think about heating costs, especially if you live in a cooler climate. In general, the temperature needs to be maintained around 65 degrees. Therefore, you should consider building in an area that gets a lot of sunlight, and choose a size that won’t cost a fortune to heat. You can also look into installing solar panels to offset your electric bill during the winter.
5. Design Your Structure
Your greenspace also needs to be optimized according to shape structure. If not, you may not yield the results you want. You should consider whether you want to use prefabricated materials or a modular unit. Both types are already tested for their efficiency, so you don’t have to worry about them not being green enough. You also need to think about the type of flooring you want to install. Soil foundations are usually the least expensive and easiest to install. However, it can quickly become an added expense if your unit is on the larger size. Alternatively, you could consider using gravel. Gravel is relatively inexpensive, and allows for proper run-off when it rains.
If you’re considering a larger, more permanent type of structure, you could opt for brick, stone, cement or treated wood. Each foundation comes with its own set of pros and cons, so do your due diligence before deciding on one. You want a foundation that’s easy to clean and helps maintain the right temperature indoors. If you choose cement, you’ll also have to install a centralized drain system. Brick usually allows for water run-off, as does wood. Ultimately, the foundation you choose does depend on the climate you live in. You need to make sure the temperature is on point to avoid mold growth underneath the foundation itself. You should also reach out to local agencies and make sure you are compliant with building codes.
6. Selecting the Materials
The materials you use are equally important. They need to be durable and strong enough to withstand harsh temperatures. Metal, specifically forged metal, is known for its superior longevity. There are also a variety of eco-friendly structural options. In an ideal situation, you could use glass to close in the space. You can also look into using plastic, although plastic can deteriorate in harsh weather conditions. Coatings for the outside are also important. In addition to adding decorative touch, it’s also important for temperature control, shade and heat transfer. You also need to use low VOC options to reduce the use of harmful chemicals into the air.
7. Install a Watering System
Your watering system must be one that saves money and water. There are a variety of tools you can incorporate, which include moisture trackers, soaker hoses and water reservoir systems. Drip irrigation systems are also important; they can decrease water usage up to 70 percent. Also, these types of systems are also more effective when it comes to watering fruits, vegetables and plants.
Recycle, Reuse and Reduce
Following the R’s is an effective way to save natural resources and help decrease waste in landfills. With regards to materials, try to use repurposed ones or ones that have been recycled. These can include recycled wood, brick pavers or granite from previous projects. To reduce plastic waste, resume your planters when it comes time to replant.