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Plastic greenhouse on the left and glass greenhouse on the right with the text: Plastic vs Glass Greenhouse

Plastic vs Glass Greenhouse

Table of Contents

When it comes to types of green houses and the trending debate of “plastic vs glass greenhouse,” the choice extends far beyond aesthetics. It’s about the future of your garden and the planet.

As per our expertise, while glass greenhouses should certainly be commended for their durability and sustainability, using polycarbonate for greenhouses is more eco-friendly than glass due to its affordability, ease of assembly, and energy-efficient properties.

This is because polycarbonate offers superior insulation, reducing the need for artificial heating or cooling and thus decreasing energy consumption, inherently making it a more environmentally responsible option for gardeners like yourself.

In this article, we at Greenhouse Emporium will explore the critical features of commercial greenhouses made of plastic and glass, ultimately making a case for polycarbonate as the best indoor greenhouse kits, and most sustainable choice for gardeners with an eye on the environment.

Let’s dive in!

Upper image exterior view of glass greenhouse, lower image plastic greenhouse with text: Glass or Plastic: Uncovering the Best Greenhouse Material

Glass Greenhouse vs Plastic Greenhouse — Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing between glass and plastic greenhouses, several key factors come into play. Both materials offer unique advantages and disadvantages that cater to different gardening needs and preferences.

In this comparison, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of glass and plastic greenhouses, shedding light on their distinct features and helping you make an informed decision that leans towards our polycarbonate greenhouses.

green house building kits


Transmittance is a crucial factor when choosing a greenhouse material, as it directly impacts plant growth through photosynthesis.

Glass greenhouses excel in this regard, offering exceptional light transmittance that allows a broader spectrum of light to penetrate the structure.

This promotes not only better photosynthesis but also healthier plant growth overall. The clarity and transparency of glass minimize light distortion, creating an optimal environment for plants to thrive.

On the other hand, plastic greenhouses, commonly made from materials like polyethylene or polycarbonate, also offer effective light transmittance. However, they may not provide the full spectrum of light that glass does.

As a result, gardeners may need to invest in additional accessories like grow lights to ensure efficient light transmittance.

This is particularly true for plants that require additional accessories for greenhouses, such as grow lights, for efficient transmittance.

Despite this, the versatility of plastic materials allows for customization, making them a viable option for various gardening needs.

Cost and efficiency

When considering the cost and efficiency of greenhouses, it’s essential to look beyond the initial price tag.

Glass greenhouses, while more expensive upfront due to material and installation costs, offer long-term value. Their durability means fewer frequent replacements and lower maintenance costs, effectively offsetting the initial investment over time.

In contrast, plastic greenhouses, particularly those made from PVC and polythene, are more budget-friendly from the outset.

Based on our observations, their lightweight nature simplifies assembly, reducing labor and installation costs. However, these materials are less durable and may require more frequent replacements, which could elevate long-term expenses.

It’s worth noting that not all plastic greenhouses are created equal. Our polycarbonate greenhouses at Greenhouse Emporium offer a balanced blend of affordability and durability.

They’re designed to withstand wear and tear, providing a cost-effective and sustainable option, even when you factor in additional purchases like greenhouse benches and shelves.

Heat retention

When it comes to hothouse vs greenhouse, heat retention is a critical factor in greenhouse gardening, especially in colder climates or during winter months.

Glass greenhouses are exceptional in this regard, effectively trapping heat while maintaining a stable and consistent internal temperature. This makes them an ideal choice for gardeners in colder regions, lessening cold frame greenhouse disadvantages substantially.

On the other hand, plastic greenhouses, particularly those made from materials like PVC or polyethylene, may not offer the same level of insulation as glass. While they can retain heat to some extent, their insulation properties are generally less efficient, potentially requiring additional heating solutions to maintain optimal growing conditions.

However, polycarbonate greenhouses stand out as an exception. It can withstand extreme temperatures without distortion, breakage, or absorption of heat, making it a robust and efficient option for heat retention.

In this way, our polycarbonate greenhouses at Greenhouse Emporium offer a balanced solution for both cost and thermal efficiency.

modern black greenhouse


Aesthetics play a significant role in the choice of greenhouse material, as they contribute to the overall ambiance of your garden or outdoor space.

For instance, our Victorian greenhouse kits by Janssens are renowned for their classic and elegant appearance.

After putting it to the test, we found that a glass greenhouse adds a touch of sophistication and grandeur to any garden or landscape. The clarity and transparency of glass also provide an opportunity to showcase your plants, enhancing the visual appeal of your outdoor space.

Conversely, plastic greenhouses, particularly our Modern Greenhouse by Janssens, offer a contemporary and sleek design that holds its own in terms of aesthetic appeal.

These structures blend seamlessly with modern architectural styles, offering a fresh and updated look that complements a variety of outdoor settings.

Whether you prefer the classic elegance of glass or the modern simplicity of plastic, Greenhouse Emporium has options to suit your aesthetic preferences.

Where is the industry going?

The greenhouse industry is progressively shifting towards utilizing polycarbonate over traditional glass for constructing greenhouses.

Several compelling factors, primarily those relating to environmental concerns and the industry’s growing emphasis on sustainability and reduced energy consumption regarding ‘the polyethylene vs polycarbonate greenhouse‘ are what are driving this transition, such as:

  • exceptional insulation, which creates a natural barrier against heat loss to keep your plants warm on the coldest winter nights
  • robust, long-lasting, and flexible, which is also impact, weather and UV-resistant
  • easy to recycle
  • easily assembled, which significantly reduces transportation energy costs and contributes to a lower carbon footprint
  • offers superior light diffusion compared to traditional glass structures without compromising on sustainability

Our investigation demonstrated that these advantages collectively position polycarbonate and our greenhouses as a more environmentally responsible option compared to glass, making them the industry’s choice for gardening that prioritizes sustainability without compromising your plants’ growth conditions.

As we and other companies continue to embrace eco-conscious practices, polycarbonate’s popularity is expected to rise, reflecting the broader trend towards sustainable and efficient greenhouse accessories and technology.

insulated greenhouse kit

Visit Greenhouse Emporium today to find the perfect greenhouse to extend your living space, craft an outdoor oasis, and embrace sustainable living in style. Explore our quality greenhouse kits now!

Did you find this article helpful? If you’ve ever built your own greenhouse, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know what worked for you and what didn’t in the comments!
Jesse James
Jesse James

Jesse James, an Army Veteran, now shares his passion for gardening through engaging articles on Greenhouse Emporium. Leveraging his experience and love for nature, Jesse provides practical advice and inspires others on their gardening journey.

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