Commercial Greenhouses

Our commercial greenhouse design leverages passive solar design principles, including insulated walls, high performance glazing materials, and efficient HVACD systems. Ceres creates growing environments built to sustain any climate, and businesses (production, lab, or research facilities) that may expand in the future. At Ceres, we create more than just facilities, but rather whole systems solutions for companies looking to grow profitably.

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The Greenhouse Design

Ceres steel kits are energy-efficient growing environments for sustainable and abundant year-round growing. Our commercial greenhouses for agriculture use insulation, high light-transmissive glazing and passive solar design to help you grow more, while using less energy.

We customize our commercial greenhouses to work seamlessly with your choice of: grow system, supplemental lighting, and shade system; fully integrated with Ceres engineered HVACD and controls. 

We ship all greenhouse materials to the job site and the greenhouse is erected by a local contractor. Ceres provides turn-key construction in the US and Canada. We also provide construction management and project planning, organizing and project facilitation from start to finish. We can facilitate the entire construction process for you in most international locations.  

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We pride ourselves in creating the most energy-efficient commercial greenhouse design kits on the market.

 Your success is our business. 

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What is a "Commercial Greenhouse"?

Ceres Commercial Greenhouses describe any greenhouse a client might use for a commercial purpose. This might range from a small scale cut flower operation, but also includes large research facilities. 

For bigger operations that are looking for maximum operational precision and yields, our SunChamber™ sealed grow facility offers the best aspects of a greenhouse coupled with the control of an indoor grow. 

While there is no exact greenhouse “type” for commercial purposes, our clients typically use one of the following greenhouse styles for the purpose of selling their products (or running tests on their crops):

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Calculate Your Energy Savings

Find out how much you can save with Ceres Greenhouses compared to standard greenhouses.

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Ceres Greenhouse Options

Commercial Greenhouse Technology

Commercial Greenhouse FAQs

We provide tailored quotes for commercial greenhouses, as each structure is optimized for the climate and growing considerations. Pricing varies according to structure type — commercial greenhouse structures, DIY, or HighYield™ Greenhouse Kits – as well as your indoor growing requirements and climate.  Please contact us with some information about your project to get a quote.

Our commercial energy-efficient greenhouses are made with galvanized steel frames. Steel is the strongest framing material, and can be insulated in a variety of ways. We combine the frame with insulated metal panels, commonly used in warehouses or large industrial buildings, because of their high insulation values and ease of install.

We use triple wall, 16mm polycarbonate on most of our commercial greenhouses. In colder climates, the triple wall polycarbonate allows us to retain more heat while still allowing in more than enough sunlight. Our polycarbonate is incredibly durable and can stand up to the harshest weather.

We also offer acrylic and ETFE options if full UV is needed.

Our typical commercial greenhouse is a shed-style roof with a single slope. If this does not fit your site, or in cases of very large (over 5,000 sq. ft.) commercial greenhouses, we can potentially investigate other building styles, however our passive solar design does work best for optimal natural light intake. In any case, we work with you to create a custom structure that meets your needs, site and budget.

We custom engineer each structure according to your site’s snow and wind loads. This streamlines the building permit process, which we can also help with. We have designed greenhouses with snow loads of up to 85 lbs/square foot, and with wind loads of up to 190 mph.

The time it takes to recoup the investment of a greenhouse depends on many factors including: crop grown, operational cost and market demand. It is important to conduct market research, and evaluate which crops would be most profitable in your area and in which season. Another factor to take into consideration is the grow system, and how long the grow process will take, resulting in numbers of harvests per year. The more harvests the more sellable product. 

Commercial greenhouse facilities can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months from conceptual design to operation. This process includes design, engineering, material orders, construction and commissioning. There are many project-specific variables, like site approval, building permit, facility size, local building season, headhouse buildout, custom features, etc. Not all factors are a requirement in every project and thus a project-specific timeline is determined for each client.

Yield is primarily driven by the growing systems and climate control systems selected. It will be important to conduct research on the growing system options for the crops you are hoping to grow (which systems will enable the highest yields, etc.). Ceres provides the mechanism for year-round growing in addition to the design and implementation of the necessary climate controls for each grow operation. 

The utilization rate of a greenhouse is usually around 80% (without the headhouse for commercial veggie processing).

As an example, 12 small basil plant starts can be grown per sqft, whereas 1 full grown tomato plant can be grown in 4-8 sqft. 

We follow a strict process starting from design through to materials orders and project management in an effort to deliver the most comprehensive and predictable product. Change orders sometimes occur in this process, so we suggest putting a budget of 10%- 20% aside at the start of the project. It is important to keep in mind that each step of the process requires sign off and changes require approval. A change order can be $0, a positive number, or sometimes a negative amount.

Easy shipping anywhere in the US and Canada. If you are elsewhere please contact us for a shipping cost estimate.

You can install a HighYield® Kit yourself, or hire installation out to a local contractor. You can also opt to have a Ceres construction supervisor oversee the construction process and direct your building crew.

Like many commercial greenhouses, we often install gas powered heaters, dehumidifiers, and exhaust fans. Oftentimes, because of the built in efficiencies of our greenhouses and smaller heating and cooling loads that we deal with, we can design smaller systems to save our clients money during initial installation, and because the systems are needed less often, they save money over the long term.

The environmental control equipment and controllers will determine the quality of the products that are grown. The complexity of the control system needs to match the complexity and variety of climate control solutions used.

A greenhouse with a few circulation and exhaust fans plus thermostats can run for about $100. If the GAHT® system is employed, then humidity controls (humidification and dehumidification) and wet walls are used for cooling, and an automated controller with online system access and data storage is a good choice. 

In highly sophisticated greenhouses with high end climate control solutions for high value crops the most sophisticated control system might be the best choice. Every aspect of these greenhouse can be controlled from anywhere and data analysis packages are available to optimize yields and profits. These systems cost somewhere between $3 and $10/sqft. 

Whatever your climate control needs might be, we provide a whole systems design to ensure that everything is appropriately and efficiently integrated.

Both color choice and wall & roof thickness of the insulated metal panels can effect your building’s heat gain and retention. Lighter colors and thinner walls are recommended in hotter climates to minimize the heat gain. The thickness can range from 2.5”-6” (R-20 to R-48). 

In commercial projects, we don’t spec anything outside of the footprint of the facility. We suggest getting support from a well specialist for these components. Trenching and laying water lines underground is a safe way to prevent freezing; the frost depth and distance to the well will determine the economics of this.

This depends on the size of your commercial greenhouse. For more on basic greenhouse foundation types see our blog, Greenhouse Foundations. We work with engineers who can design your greenhouse foundation. However, because structural engineers are licensed by state, we oftentimes work with a structural engineer that you find in your area so that they will have be able to stamp the drawings in the state you are building in.

Whether or not the greenhouse needs a foundation depends on size, it’s location and the snow and wind loads. Small solar greenhouses do not need a foundation. They can be built on a level base (dirt or gravel) and anchored to the ground using rebar or products called earth anchors. For moderate to large residential greenhouses (over 120 sq. ft.) we recommend adding a foundation. Foundations can often be simple concrete piers. More about them and other foundation types in our blog “Greenhouse Foundations.”

We offer consulting on choosing a foundation type and recommend hiring a contractor to install the foundation.

This predominantly depends on how you want to grow. If growing with aquaponics, hydroponics, or in a commercial greenhouse with potted plants, concrete floors provide a clean surface to -efficient greenhouses do not need a floor. This is because the perimeter of the greenhouse is insulated. The soil below ground stays a warm constant temperature year-round. Normally, raised beds connect directly to the soil below ground. This is best for drainage and robust root growth. Flooring materials can be used in walkways. We recommend gravel, flagstone, or pavers. If planning to grow on tables, or with an aquaponics system, you may elect to install a concrete slab to create a level floor (this can also serve as your foundation). More information in our blog “Three types of floors for a greenhouse”.

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