From their humble beginnings as a protection against external factors, Dutch greenhouses have developed into high-tech cultivation facilities. Technological advancements have made it possible to cultivate out-of-season and provide food and flowers to markets around the world, every day of the year. With improvements in climate-, cultivation-, irrigation- and automation systems, the greenhouse construction itself has also improved greatly to facilitate them, protect them and make these systems even more efficient.
Greenhouse Structure & Construction
Greenhouse structure: covering your valuable crops
A complete greenhouse, from the foundation up
As greenhouses are designed to be as cost-effective as possible, the Dutch greenhouse construction has numerous multi-function elements. The best example for the structures' multi-purpose function, is the way the roof is designed. It's typical V-shape directly serves as a rainwater discharge system and is therefore completely integrated into the greenhouse structure. Cladding, whether it is glass, polycarbonate or sandwich panels, therefore also serves its function as part of a gutter.
Seen from below, the greenhouse construction consists of the following structural elements, all with numerous options and variations:
- Foundation (Concrete, reinforcement steel)
- Sub- & Superstructure (respectively steel & aluminium frame)
- Roof & side cladding (glass, polycarbonate, dibond or sandwich)
- Ventilation (glass panels that can open, with or without insect netting)
- Rainwater discharge (through the steel structure or with downpipes)
Learn more about greenhouse structures and construction?
Do you want to learn more about greenhouse structures and construction?
Step 1: Greenhouse Foundation
Every structure starts with a foundation. In some cases, piling is required, but in most cases a lightweight foundation is sufficient. A typical foundation consists of boreholes and a perimeter wall (non-structural tie-beam), filled with concrete and pre-fabricated steel foundation posts.
Before erecting the steel structure, the ventilation mechanism and other future provisions are mounted to the trusses. The aluminium gutter between the trusses is a critical structural element and is erected together with the steel structure.
Step 3: Rainwater collection
During construction, weather must anticipated on. Ensuring rainwater is managed properly before installation of the roof can prevent a lot of construction problems.
Step 4: Service Building
At DutchGreenhouses® we always start with the construction of the sandwich-panel covered service building. This allows for proper material storage and allows third-parties to start on-time with placement of specific installations or equipment.
After the service-area is covered with sandwich panels, glass roof-covering works commence and ventilation windows are installed simultaneously. Sidewall covering is done after the roof is finished.
Step 6: Insect Netting
The installation of insect netting is at the very end of the actual greenhouse construction. Depending on the brand and the project-based workflow, these can be installed from the roof or from inside the greenhouse. If the latter is the case, it is critical that this is finished before screening works commence.
The main purpose of a greenhouse is to shield important crops from external elements, while still permitting essential sunlight to penetrate and nourish the plants.
The framework of the greenhouse is constructed from durable materials such as concrete, steel, and aluminum, and is enclosed with either glass, sandwich panels, or polycarbonate.
The structural parts of Dutch greenhouses are the foundation, the steel sub-structure and the aluminium super-structure.
The construction of a greenhouse involves a serie of well-planned steps. First, a foundation is laid, which can involve piling or a more lightweight alternative comprised of boreholes, a perimeter wall, and prefabricated steel foundation posts. Next, the steel structure is erected, along with critical elements like the aluminum gutter and ventilation mechanisms. Rainwater management is addressed during this phase to avoid future complications. A service building covered in sandwich panels is then constructed to store materials and facilitate the work of third parties. The greenhouse is finally covered with glass and ventilation windows are installed, followed by sidewall covering. The last step involves installing insect netting, which is crucial for the functionality of the greenhouse, and can be installed either from the roof or from inside the structure.