8 Ways To Make Your Greenhouse More Eco-Friendly

Gardener - ways to make your greenhouse more eco-friendly
Sponsor/Writer - LouAnn Moss

If your gardening has directed you down the path of making your own greenhouse, you are probably not just a casual gardener. The connection with nature that you feel while gardening is something magical, and that’s why it’s important to make sure that your actions outside of your garden don’t have a negative impact on the environment.

However, if you’re building a greenhouse, you have the chance to make sure that your actions in your garden aren’t negatively impacting the environment as well. Below are some tips on how to choose eco-friendly and long-lasting materials to ensure that your greenhouse sticks around for years to come.

1. Reuse and Recycle

If you’re able to use used or recycled materials on any part of your greenhouse, you’re immediately being more eco-friendly than if you were using all brand new materials. If your budget means that you have to use plastic on your greenhouse, make sure that you’re using recycled plastic whenever you can. However, if you can avoid using plastic and other materials that have a negative impact on the environment, you will be creating a much more eco-friendly greenhouse.

Make sure that you’re following this rule inside your greenhouse after its construction, as well — if you’re able to reuse pots, planters, or seed starters, try to do so.

2. Use the Right Metal

Make sure that when you’re constructing the metal framing for your greenhouse you’re choosing the right kind of metal to withstand the natural elements in your area. If you use forged parts for your greenhouse, they will have a 37% higher fatigue strength, which means that it will be able to withstand more pressure for longer, resulting in a longer-lasting greenhouse.

The easiest way to make something eco-friendly is to ensure that it will stand the test of time, since even using eco-friendly materials becomes something with a negative impact if you end up having to rebuild your greenhouse multiple times.

3. Use the Proper Coatings

After you’ve finished constructing your greenhouse, make sure that whatever coatings you apply to the outside don’t just act as decoration to your greenhouse, but also as protection for it. These two things are the primary functions that coatings fulfill, so make sure that your coatings are doing both.

4. Make it Modular

Modular construction, or prefabricated construction, is a great way to not only get your greenhouse constructed as quickly as possible but also to ensure that you’re saving energy. It’s been shown that modular construction can reduce energy use during the construction process by approximately 67%. In addition, it can save on future energy costs since it will already be designed and tested to function exactly as it should.

If you’re looking for a modular greenhouse kit, make sure that you’re paying attention to the materials that are being used as well as the assembly required. Will you need to pay for professional installation, or will you be able to construct it on your own at home? This answer will change depending on a few factors concerning the greenhouse, such as the size. If you’ll have to pay for professional installation, make sure to take that into account when you’re budgeting for the greenhouse.

5. Use an Eco-Friendly Watering System

You’ll have quite a few plants in your greenhouse, and they’ll need water. To make sure you’re not raising your water bills and negatively impacting your local water table, consider using rainwater for your plants.

If you place collection barrels under any gutters on your property, you can move the barrels into your greenhouse to help create a more humid environment and to have an easily accessible source to water your plants. If you have a pond or well on your property, you can also use those to fill up water containers to keep in your greenhouse.

6. Use Solar Power

Solar power is a great option for powering anything in your greenhouse that needs to use electricity. A greenhouse is designed with the goal of getting as much light for your plants as it possibly can, which means that it is a prime spot for solar panels.

You can place these inside your greenhouse, whether on a bench or table or even on the floor. You don’t need an extremely large solar panel if you aren’t planning on using it to power too much. Think about what you need before you begin building your greenhouse to make sure that you’ll be able to generate enough power from your solar panels.

For example, if your greenhouse needs additional heating past what you get from the heat being trapped in the greenhouse, consider powering them with solar energy. This way you can still benefit your plants while also limiting your impact on the energy grid.

7. Use a Dirt Floor

If you’re considering installing flooring into your greenhouse, think about using the natural floor that you’ve already been provided instead. A dirt floor is cheap, natural, and easy to “install.” All you have to do is ensure that the ground is solid and even and you’ll have a great floor for your greenhouse that won’t negatively impact the environment around you or your wallet.

8. Use Glass not Plastic

On the outside of your greenhouse, using glass instead of plastic is not only more effective at keeping energy and heat inside the greenhouse, but it’s also much more eco-friendly. Plastic is obviously not eco-friendly, and glass is a much better alternative. If you’re able to invest in double pane glass for your greenhouse, there is a coating on the side of the glass that faces inward that will help keep heat trapped in more effectively than single pane glass or plastic.

Greenhouses are a great way to open up your gardening hobby to a new season and type of gardening. If you want to make sure that you aren’t having a negative impact on the environment when you’re building your greenhouse, make sure to keep these tips in mind.

What materials did you use for your greenhouse? What do you wish you could use?

Image credit: Halfpoint Images via Storyblocks

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