Hoop House Calculator

Created by Rahul Dhari
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Feb 02, 2022

The hoop house calculator is helpful to estimate the greenhouse surface area and the size of the heater you would need to maintain appropriate temperatures for your crops.

Plants often require a specific set of conditions to grow, and it is critical to saving them from changes in the environment like extreme cold. A hoop house or greenhouse maintains pressure, carbon dioxide, and lighting. It is also used in normal weather conditions for hobby or gardening purposes. A greenhouse heater regulates temperature and humidity depending on the greenhouse's size and shape.

If you know what type of greenhouse you have, you can start by entering the numbers in the calculator or reading to understand what a hoop house is and the associated costs.

What is a hoop house or greenhouse?

A hoop house or greenhouse is a transparent confined space or a cabin-like area often made from polycarbonate or glass or polyethylene that mimics favorable conditions for the plants to grow. It is mostly used to grow crops in places where it is difficult for plants to grow due to the extreme weather or to grow delicate plants that need particular climatic conditions. A greenhouse works on the basic principles of:

  • Heating;
  • Cooling;
  • Ventilation;
  • Lighting; and
  • Carbon dioxide enrichment.

It is made from a transparent material to receive heat inside by solar radiation and trap the heat inside it. Based on the space or ground area availability, the greenhouse could be of different shapes and sizes. Types include:

  • Gable;
  • Arched roof;
  • Quonset; and
  • Lean-to.
Different types of greenhouses — (clockwise from top) Arched roof, gable type, quonset, and lean-to type greenhouse.
Different types of greenhouses — (clockwise from top): Arched roof, gable, quonset, and lean-to type greenhouse.

A hoop house often has a concrete foundation dug into the ground and a wooden frame. A transparent covering of acrylic glass, polycarbonate, or polyethylene is attached to the frame. The amount of greenhouse cover depends on the exposed surface area of the structure.

Greenhouse cover cost

To find the surface area, first, we need to find the area of individual walls and roofs. You can ignore the area of the ground. The walls are triangular, square, or rectangle in shape with an exception in the Quonset type and arch type greenhouse where it is an arc. You can then multiply the surface area by the material unit cost to find the total material cost.

You can also use the surface area to calculate the walls' net heat transfer. This heat loss is helpful when estimating the size of the heater you need to fit in the greenhouse to maintain adequate temperature levels. To start using the calculator:

  1. Select the type of greenhouse.
  2. Enter the dimensions of the greenhouse, such as:
    • Height;
    • Height of sidewalls;
    • Length; and
    • Width.
  3. The greenhouse cover calculator will return the surface area of the hoop house.
  4. Fill in the unit cost of the material.
  5. The hoop house cost calculator returns the material cost.
  6. Choose the type of construction material or directly enter the heat loss value.
  7. Enter the inside temperature.
  8. Fill in the outside temperature.
  9. The hoop house calculator returns the heat transfer through the greenhouse walls.
  10. Insert the heater efficiency to obtain the heater size needed.

Example: Using the hoop house calculator

Find the area of the gable type hoop house having the following dimensions:

  • Height = 10 m10 \text{ m};
  • Height of sidewalls = 7.5 m7.5 \text{ m};
  • Length = 10 m10 \text{ m}; and
  • Width = 8 m8 \text{ m}.

The greenhouse is made up of 6 mm polyethylene having cost as $0.5 per m2\text{\textdollar}0.5 \text{ per m}^2. The inside and outside temperatures are 30 °C30 \text{ °C} and 10 °C10 \text{ °C}, respectively.

  1. Select the type of greenhouse.
  2. Enter the dimensions of the greenhouse, such as:
    • Height = 10 m10 \text{ m};
    • Height of sidewalls = 7.5 m7.5 \text{ m};
    • Length = 10 m10 \text{ m}; and
    • Width = 8 m8 \text{ m}.
  3. The surface area of the hoop house is returned as 384.34 m2384.34 \text{ m}^2.
  4. Fill in the unit cost of the material as $0.5 per m2\text{\textdollar} 0.5 \text{ per m}^2.
  5. The material cost for the greenhouse is $192.17\text{\textdollar}192.17.
  6. Choose the type of construction material as 6 mm polyethylene.
  7. Enter the inside temperature as 30 °C30 \text{ °C}.
  8. Fill in the outside temperature as 10 °C10 \text{ °C}.
  9. The heat transfer through the greenhouse walls is 50.16 kW50.16 \text{ kW}.
  10. Insert the heater efficiency as 0.8 to obtain the size of input as 62.7 kW62.7\text{ kW}.

FAQ

What do you mean by hoop house?

The hoop house or greenhouse is a cabin-sized space built to grow plants in favorable conditions. It is very common in places of extreme temperature environments such as snowy areas. The hoop house controls the temperature, pressure, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels to ensure healthy plants.

What are the different types of greenhouses?

There are different kinds of greenhouses such as — Gable type, Quonset, arched type, and lean-to type built based on the amount of space available and the arrangement of plants. Each design has its limitations, whether space or heat retention or cost.

How do I calculate the area for my hoop house?

To calculate the area of the hoop house:

  1. Find the surface area of each wall and roof by multiplying their respective dimensions.
  2. Add all the areas to obtain the total area of the hoop house.

Note: Do not consider the floor area while adding the areas.

How do I select a greenhouse heater?

To select a greenhouse heater:

  1. Find the surface area of each wall and roof by multiplying their respective dimensions.
  2. Add all the areas to obtain the total area of the hoop house.
  3. Multiply the total area by the temperature difference.
  4. Multiply the product by heat loss coefficient to obtain the heat requirement for the hoop house.
  5. Use the heat requirement to select the capacity or size of the heater.
Rahul Dhari
Greenhouse type
Gabled roof
Gable type green house
Area / volume
Total height (H₁ + H₂)
ft
Height of sidewalls (H₁)
ft
Total width (W)
ft
Length (L)
ft
Surface Area
ft²
Cost
Unit
$ /
ft²
Material cost
$
Material and environment
Material
Polyethylene (6 mm)
Heat loss coefficient
W/(m²⋅K)
Inside temperature
°F
Outside temperature
°F
Heat loss
Conductive heat loss
BTU/h
Heater efficiency
Heater input needed
BTU/h
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