“I say a greenhouse that is paid for is a greenhouse that is ready to be replaced,” Both says. “Every situation is different and yes, building new will cost money, but so does operating an inefficient older structure. A thorough economic analysis may be needed to evaluate the best option.”
Kurt Parbst of shade cloth and screen manufacturer Ludvig Svensson, agrees, but offers some goals for a successful approach to structure improvement.
“Sometimes greenhouses that are paid for are very inefficient in their utilization of land, labor, energy and water,” Parbst says. “Crops should be grown in facilities that maximize return on investment. In some cases, that may require updating old facilities or replacing them. Labor and energy are often the two largest expenses and efforts spent here will have the largest return.”
When New Isn’t Possible
Still, even in the best of times, most small to mid-sized growers cannot afford to replace their structures. The next best thing, then, is to upgrade existing greenhouses with inexpensive technologies that boost production efficiency with less risk involved.