Design expert Steven Silva waxes on design, automation, managing microclimates, and more.
So, you want to build a greenhouse? What are the key things to keep in mind when embarking on this endeavor?
We caught up with Steven Silva, an expert in greenhouse design and the Founder/CEO of the consulting firm SB SILVA LLC in Fresno, Calif., to answer some questions about where to start and what to consider in the process.
First, you need to establish what crop types will be grown in the greenhouse, Silva says. “Generally, high-value crops are grown in infrastructures like greenhouses because the cost of goods sold to produce the crops are higher when you have equipment and energy compared to field-grown or row crops,” he adds.
Once the crop type is identified, it’s time to decide on the greenhouse design. Height, width, and layout need to be considered, as well as whether it should be a gutter-connected greenhouse or a standalone greenhouse, Silva explains.
Geographic location is also a determining factor, especially because of natural light. Location has everything to do with choosing a greenhouse structure with the right angles and peak, Silva notes, and selecting the correct glazing with the proper diffusion.
“These are all things that are going to dictate the amount of light transmission and the amount of R-value (the measure of resistance to heat flow) that you’re going to get inside the greenhouse,” Silva says. “If a crop requires a lot of light, you’ll need a structure that’s taller