A low-maintenance, glass greenhouse with high-quality results: Sound too good to be true? Find out here if the Dutch Venlo from RoughBrothers is right for you.
The Venlo offers maximum light transmission with low squarefoot costs. Its tempered glass dry roof glazing prevents frequent reglazing andmaintenance. The truss system will support hanging baskets, displays, booms,systems and other needed equipment. It was also designed for use with heatretention and shading systems, reducing winter heat loss and summer heat gainfor maximizing energy efficiency.
The posts, gutters and bar joists are made of galvanizedstructural steel. Polycarbonate sheet sides and endwalls provide thermalinsulation for better temperature regulation in the greenhouse throughout theyear.
The Venlo is available in standard 20-foot, 6-inch- and30-foot, 9-inch-widths in bay lengths of 10 and 12 feet. An advanced computerAuto-CAD system matches the Venlo house to your site demands. For widergreenhouses, a gutter-connected building can be constructed in multiple widthsof 20 feet, six inches.
“One thing we see is that the foliage is a littleharder, which is a good thing,” says Tim Donahue of Donahue’s Clematis,Fairbault, Minn. “I think we get a little better color too.”Donahue’s Venlo has been erected for four years, and he hasn’t had any problemswith it. “We haven’t lost a single pane of glass.”
According to Bill Vietas, divisional manager and vicepresident at Rough Brothers, the better color is probably due to the glass’higher light transmission. And, better ventilation with the Venlo is mostlikely responsible for the hardening of the foliage.
For those considering the Venlo, Donahue suggests a high gutterheight. “I think you just get better cooling in the summer, and I would gowith a shade system too — that’s very nice.”
Kathy Pufahl, president of Beds and Borders in Riverhead,N.Y., agrees that a shade system is a good idea. Pufahl did have a few problemswith her shade cloth, but Rough Brothers quickly identified themanufacturer-related problem and handled the situation for her. “When itwas first manufactured it was cut wrong, and then they had to go and get itre-cut and re-sealed or taped,” Pufahl says. “And there was a gapbetween the sidewall and the shade cloth. It didn’t have either stationarypiece sealing the two or the original piece didn’t go close enough to the wall,so we had to go back in to seal up that gap around the perimeter.”
Bill Vietas remembers that project and recalls the shadecloth shrinking after it was installed, which is a common problem that shouldhave been addressed before the shade cloth was sent to Rough Brothers toinstall.
So, how do you avoid something like that? “When youinstall the curtain, you have to let it lay for a day or two,” saysVietas. “The longer you can, the better. Then it’ll shrink on its own, andyou can fasten it down.”
Words of advice
Both Donahue and Pufahl agree that they should’ve made theiraisles wider. “I don’t have a standard 10:20 flat, so I wound up havingcarts manufactured for myself, custom-sized, after the greenhouse was erected.The center aisle is fine, that’s 10 feet, but the peninsula aisleways I’d makebigger,” says Pufahl, who grows mostly finished pots.
Pufahl would also have had more lights installed. “Wejust put them down the center walkways, and low and behold we are pulling someorders after dark on occasion. There’s not quite enough light at the ends ofsome of the walkways,” she says.
In the end, though, Donahue and Pufahl are both happy withtheir decision to go with the Venlo. “It’s a beautiful, sturdyhouse,” says Pufahl, who doesn’t view size to be as important as quality.”I’m not a grower who’s looking to grow a range of 12-13 acres. I’m notsure at that point if it is as economical as some cheaper alternatives, but forhaving a really high-quality operation, it was a really good choice. Glass islow-maintenance and wonderful to grow in.”
“You canget our Venlo house sometimes cheaper or sometimes in the same price range as acorrugated polycarbonate wide-span house. But you get the longevity ofglass,” says Vietas. “There’s a lot of flexibility in the Venlo,there’s very little maintenance, and for a high-quality house, it’s notinexpensive, but it’s on the lower-end pricing of a high-quality house.”