What are the Different Types of Greenhouse Systems?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 09 March 2020
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Greenhouses are buildings that allow plants to live in temperate climates year-round. While they often hold high amounts of flower and other decorative plants, they are also essential for certain fruits and vegetables. Typically, greenhouse systems are classified based on whether they provide warm or cool temperatures to the plants that they house. The most common types of heated greenhouse systems include those that use space heaters and fans. However, larger commercial greenhouses may use boilers, valves, and pipes, or even solar energy to heat their greenhouses. In contrast, cooled greenhouses keep temperatures down in hot weather. Evaporatative coolers are typically the most effective, though shade, cloth, and pain may also provide some success.

Typically, greenhouse systems are classified according to whether they provide a hot or cold environment. One of the most common types of heating greenhouse systems uses only a space heater and fan in order to disperse the heat throughout the building. This is typically one of the most inexpensive forms of greenhouse systems, and can be easily set up by almost anyone.

Another of the most popular heated greenhouse systems are those that use boilers to heat the building. With this system, a number of valves and pipes are required to distribute heat. While these systems may be more effective at providing even and consistent heat to the plants housed in the greenhouse, they are also much more expensive. Traditionally, they are used only by commercial companies.


Solar radiant systems, or those that use heat produced by the sun, are typically considered to be the more effective forms of heated greenhouse systems. These systems, however, are also the most expensive. Like greenhouses that use boilers, these systems are typically used only by commercial or research organizations.

While heat is often essential for plant survival, irrigation is also very important. In order for plants to thrive, an effective irrigation greenhouse system is required. While irrigation systems may vary quite substantially depending on the type of plants housed in the greenhouse, all typically contain at least valves that supply clean water to plants, as well as a pump to bring the water to the valves.

Some greenhouses also require ventilation greenhouse systems in order to prevent the development of mold or other bacteria on the plants. While strategically placed fans may provide adequate ventilation in some cases, other greenhouses may require roof vents or exhaust fans.

While some greenhouses can depend simply on ventilation to keep temperatures down in the summer, others require cooling greenhouse systems in order to prevent excessive heat. One of the most common types of cooled greenhouse systems are those that contain evaporative coolers. Typically, these systems work by changing the water found in the air in the greenhouse to vapor, and removing it through a small hole in the wall of the greenhouse.

Less expensive forms of cooled greenhouses include those that rely simply on shade, cloth, and paint. These are traditionally found in smaller and private greenhouses, and often require high amounts of experimentation in order to perfect. In some cases, a botanist may be required to provide instruction on using these less expensive cooling supplies.


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