Designing A School Greenhouse

Designing an educational greenhouse is a significant undertaking that requires the expertise of professional greenhouse manufacturers specializing in horticulture and tunnels. This comprehensive guide aims to assist you in making crucial design decisions for your educational greenhouse project.

Size Consider the number of students who will be utilizing the greenhouse simultaneously and how the greenhouse will be utilized. These factors should serve as the foundation for determining the appropriate size of the structure. As a general guideline, allocate a minimum of 5 square meters of greenhouse area per student, along with 2.5 square meters of bench space per student. It is advisable to consult your local department of education for minimum square footage requirements for high school greenhouses. Additionally, bear in mind that greenhouses used for hydroponics and/or aquaponics typically necessitate more space than those dedicated to ornamental horticulture.

Location Selecting an appropriate location for the greenhouse involves several considerations. Ideally, the greenhouse should have a North-South orientation. Since it requires regular attention, proximity to a classroom is advantageous as it facilitates frequent visits throughout the day. Additionally, light levels play a crucial role in plant development, so it is essential to pay close attention to the proximity of light sources such as parking lot lights and football stadium lights.

Structure When it comes to the greenhouse structure, opt for a frame made of galvanized steel or aluminum and cover the greenhouse with polycarbonate. Galvanized steel and aluminum offer long-lasting durability with minimal maintenance requirements, while polycarbonate boasts excellent insulation properties, optimal light transmission, and flame retardant qualities. Furthermore, polycarbonate is stronger than glass, providing enhanced protection against hailstorms, debris thrown by lawn mowers, and stray baseballs.

Other structural elements to consider include flooring, benches, and aisle widths:

  • Concrete slabs are recommended for greenhouse flooring as they are easier to clean and eliminate weed growth.
  • Expanded metal bench tops provide low-maintenance service, encourage proper air circulation and water drainage. Benches accessible from both sides can have a width of up to 2 meters, while benches accessible from only one side should be limited to 1 meter in width.
  • Maintain aisle widths of 1,8 to 2 meter to accommodate larger class sizes and students with special needs.

Climate Control Installing an automatic temperature control system is essential. While remote monitoring and control capabilities are advantageous, they are not mandatory.

Heating: Gas unit heaters are recommended for greenhouse heating, available in LP gas or natural gas options. Electric heat is also feasible, but it can be costly for a greenhouse of this size due to the requirement for 3-phase power.

Cooling: Achieve effective cooling with properly sized exhaust fans and evaporative cooling systems. If budget permits, consider incorporating energy curtains, which act as retractable ceilings within the greenhouse, maintaining lower temperatures at plant level and reducing heating costs. Additionally, energy curtains can function as a shade system during warm seasons.

These are just a few considerations to keep in mind when designing your educational greenhouse. When you are ready to commence the project, the professionals at Dicla Tunnels and Horticulture are eager to collaborate with your team, providing expertise in designing and constructing your greenhouse project.

1 Comment

  1. Coenie
    March 27, 2024

    Can i make an appointment with a knowledgeable person to advise me on how to establish a greenhouse at a school in Gauteng , i will gladly drive out to wherever your offices are !! This project will require 2 tunnels to grow a variety af vegies and fruit !
    Coenie 084 60 60 123

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