Lorelle Meadows, Pauline Khan, and Mary Jane Northrop, Project Managers
Rachel Liu, Engineer of Team G
Structures and shapes of greenhouses and their benefits and disadvantages
October 13, 2011
Our community partner, Focus:HOPE, needs assistance in improving their hoop house in regards
to temperature control, stability, and productivity. The improvement of the hoop house will
provide Focus:HOPE with an effective way to produce crops and utilize the harvest for the
benefit of the community. Therefore, our team has researched separate topics regarding
greenhouses to better understand how they function practically; I have researched the different
types and styles of greenhouses to see if potential changes to the hoop house shape would deliver
better stability and efficiency. This report contains my research findings.
Greenhouses are available in countless shapes such as the quonset, gothic, A-frame, and barn-
style. There are also several types of greenhouses that range from cold to hot and lean-to to
freestanding. Each form has its benefits and disadvantages in terms of usability, stability, and
cost effectiveness. Thus, the central purpose behind the greenhouse must be identified to
distinguish which type and style is best suited for the tasks and crops. Full knowledge about
these elements is essential to create an effective greenhouse that will satisfy the needs of the user.
Recently, my team visited with our community partner Focus:HOPE in order to discuss design
needs at their campus. One of the problems that my team decided to focus on was their hoop
house that is currently unstable and unable to maintain correct temperatures throughout the day.
An idea we discussed is to modify the shape and structure of the hoop house, allowing it to be
more stable and space efficient while maintaining cost-effectiveness and aesthetic appeal. I have
researched several types and styles of greenhouses in order to gain more knowledge about the
advantages and disadvantages of each. This research will aid in my team’s design project to
adjust the hoop house to better suit Focus:HOPE’s needs. My findings are stated in this report.
There are five types of greenhouses: cold, cool, warm, hot, and conservatories. Cold houses
serve to protect plants; however, they lack an added heat source, allowing temperatures to
decline during the winter months. They can start crops early in the spring and extend the fall
growing season, but they cannot withstand the freezing temperatures in the winter. Cool houses
are slightly warmer than cold houses and retain a 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range.
Plants can be maintained year round in these houses and their purpose is to protect frost sensitive