Structural considerations

Ask the Experts - Structures

Nexus/RBI systems engineer Jacob Carson details the trends growers should be aware of and what they can offer customers.

April 20, 2020

According to Nexus/RBI systems engineer Jacob Carson, the companies can help growers in every aspect of their greenhouse build and guide them through the multi-week process of adding new greenhouse space. That support includes not only planning for the now, but also how a business might expand and what other crops it might start growing.

“In the greenhouse industry, we do see a lot of benefits to this approach,” Carson says.

Greenhouse Management: Why is it important for growers to keep learning about greenhouse structures and updates to the technology?

Jacob Carson: Growing facilities have moved beyond just the structure. The biggest point of focus now is environmental controls and systems integration — how everything works together within the structure. As our companies have worked together to become a single-solution resource for our customers, we have learned how we can better adapt our structures. Seamless integration allows for better control and more consistent yields.

GM: How does the acquisition of Thermo Energy Solutions change what Rough Brothers Nexus/RBI can offers its customers?

JC: With Thermo Energy, we are really able to upgrade the scale of the facility [that] we are able to provide. All three companies are part of the Growing Solutions division of our parent company, Gibraltar Industries. The idea being that we’re not handing our customers a singular product, but a soup-to-nuts solution. It’s a robust cache of resources. We’re coming in on the ground floor, working on the architectural plan and that includes irrigation, the lights, the install, going through the permits, the general contracting and build out of the whole growing facility.

GM: As for long-range vegetable greenhouses, what are you seeing develop with that style of greenhouse?

JC: With leafy greens, we’re seeing two preferred methods of growing: deep-water culture and NFT. For a deep-water culture growing facility, we design a greenhouse with ponds that have a concrete substructure inside of them, and roof vents to be able to draft over, with horizontal fans over long ponds and bays. The difference in the design for NFT is that it is a more automated leafy greens system that requires very little labor for growing and harvesting. For long-range greenhouses, a truly integrated and automated greenhouse ensures operational consistency. We’re excited to be able to provide a facility design that includes everything a grower needs — not just the greenhouse.