Growing your own food, on a large scale, will require a commercial greenhouse. You can build long-lasting greenhouses with steel that will withstand the elements and last for years with continual use.
Simple greenhouses with just a clear material covering will cost much less than models that are equipped with:
- Irrigation systems
- Glass panels
- Ventilation systems
The cost to build a commercial greenhouse varies significantly based on your specific needs and build requirements.
Commercial Greenhouse Price Guide 101
Do you want to build a greenhouse with a gable roof, or do you want a true commercial greenhouse outfitted with ventilation and heating systems? These factors will play a major role in your costs.
Greenhouse Cost Overview
If you want to build a heated and well-ventilated commercial greenhouse that offers 20’ x 100’ of space, expect to pay $35,000.
You’ll find many people are able to build a modest greenhouse that provides 400 square feet of space for $10,000. Scale back your expectations and you can begin growing your own produce for as low as $1,000, although most people will spend between $5,000 and $20,000 on their commercial greenhouse.
HomeAdvisor states that the average greenhouse will cost $15,746 to construct.
Traditionally, you’ll spend somewhere around $25 per square foot for a commercial greenhouse, although there are a lot of factors to consider that may reduce or bump the price higher.
Factors That Impact Greenhouse Costs
A lot of factors impact your building cost, and if you hire a contractor to help, you’ll find that contractor pricing can be equally as complex. The greenhouse that you build will have a lot of price-impacting factors, but the most common are:
What amount of space do you really need for your growing? A general rule of thumb, for a garden, is that 200 square foot of space is enough to feed one person for an entire year. Greenhouses can be setup to make use of vertical space, which may reduce these requirements slightly.
Higher output means being able to leverage your greenhouse’s space optimally, which is difficult without ventilation and heating.
Common sizes for commercial units are:
- 6 x 8: Small and efficient, these models are meant primarily for hobbyists that want to grow small amounts of food to offset their food costs. If you want a true commercial greenhouse, you can scratch this item off of your list.
- 12 x 12: A mid-sized unit that is often used by farmers to maximize yield. These units are in the $3,500 to $7,000 range and have glass walls.
- 20 x 30: Larger units, 500 square feet or more, are the optimal choice for any commercial operation.
Sizes for larger units can vary from 20 x 20 to 20 x 100 or any dimensions that work with your land. There are multiple options available as well as custom builds that manufacturers might offer.
Greenhouses can be complex, or they can be simple. Adding in certain materials can cause the greenhouse’s price to soar. A few of the materials that you’ll come across are:
Steel has become one of the most common choices for greenhouses because they have a high resistance to wind, rain, rust and all sorts of damage.
PVC may work well for a small, personal greenhouse, but it’s not the optimal material for larger greenhouses. The larger the building, the greater the concern of snow loads and the building’s sturdiness.
Structural integrity is much higher when choosing metal for framing.
Metal may cost more upfront, but you’ll worry less about the building failing and may not need supports in the middle of the structure. When it comes to maximizing your space, metal buildings can provide an open, uninterrupted greenhouse that truly maximizes the interior space of the greenhouse.
It’s also easier to construct a taller building that makes better use of vertical space to maximize yields.
Framing for the greenhouse costs around $1 a linear foot for wood (due to lumber prices skyrocketing, these costs may be higher) and $2.50 for steel. The extra cost of steel adds to the upfront costs, but there are significant savings:
- No maintenance for moisture
- Insect damage isn’t a concern
Overall, steel has a much lower upkeep, which saves you money over the long-term.
Framing and materials aren’t the only costs involved when building a commercial greenhouse. Other costs to consider include:
The flooring of your greenhouse is more important than you think. Not only does it provide a surface to walk on, but it also:
- Prevents weed growth
- Helps keep pests out
- Provides insulation
- Helps with drainage
Bare floors can work just fine in a greenhouse, but you really need to have somewhere for people to walk or stand when the ground is wet and muddy.
Common flooring choices include:
- Rolled rubber
- Interlocking tiles
- Mulch and weed matting
Weed mat is an inexpensive option. Matting for 900 square feet of space will run you about $150. You likely won’t need that much to cover your greenhouse floor.
Concrete, brick or stone are the ideal options, but they can be costly. Rolled rubber will cost about $2 per square foot. Interlocking tiles, which are great for drainage, will run about $170 for a box of 12 large tiles.
All greenhouses need siding, and you have plenty of options in this department, too. Some of the most common types of siding and their average costs include:
- Polyethylene: $0.12/sqft
- Glass: $2.50/sqft
- Polycarbonate: $59/sqft
- Fiberglass: $0.70/sqft
Polyethylene is the budget choice and is popular for hoop houses. Glass is the most expensive but visually appealing. Fiberglass is a good middle-of-the-road option, and polycarbonate will be the best alternative to glass.
HVAC and Lighting
Lighting and temperature control are two other important considerations if you plan to use your greenhouse year-round. But for a large greenhouse, these two things can increase the cost of construction significantly.
- Grow lights can cost $30-$130 per light
- HVAC systems can cost $8,000 for a complete system
You may also need to secure permits for your greenhouse. If you build without a permit, you could face fines or be forced to tear down your greenhouse.
If you want to build a greenhouse with a retractable roof or a hydroponic greenhouse, the costs will also be different.
As you can see from our greenhouse price guide, there are a lot of variables that go into the cost of building a greenhouse. Speak with a manufacturer or construction company about your commercial greenhouse needs and budget to see what your options are.