Climate change is a huge concern on many people’s minds these days. Regardless of what your beliefs on the matter are, everyone can agree that our environment is critical. It’s important to take care of our planet so that we can pass it down to future generations.
With all the information out there, though, you’re bound to find conflicting viewpoints and perspectives. It’s not always easy to determine what’s true and what’s false.
You might find yourself torn on what to do in a range of situations, including your own garden. Trying to determine which practices are the best can be incredibly confusing.
Nowhere is this truer than with greenhouses, especially when you hear the phrase, “greenhouse effect.” It’s completely understandable if you’re wondering if greenhouses cause global warming.
We’ve done the research and we’ll clear the air for you on this topic.
Quick Answer: Do Greenhouses Cause Global Warming?
In brief, not really. Although large greenhouses can have a negative environmental impact, the reason people might think greenhouses cause global warming likely comes from a mix-up with the phrases “greenhouse gases” or “greenhouse effect.”
Greenhouses vs Greenhouse Effect: Are They Related?
Since there’s a very real possibility people associate greenhouses with global warming because of some confusion in terminology, let’s stop to look at those terms.
“Greenhouse gases” and “greenhouse effect” are two commonly used phrases in climate change discussions. It’s easy to see why anyone would assume they’re in some way connected to actual greenhouses.
But these phrases refer to gases and processes that mimic what a greenhouse does instead of the greenhouses themselves. To better understand, picture a greenhouse underneath a bright sun. Over the course of the day, it traps heat and diffuses light inside, raising its internal temperature.
The greenhouse effect is that same concept, but on a global scale. Imagine gases forming a panel over the planet, much like the panels on a gardening greenhouse. Also like in a greenhouse, these “panels” trap heat inside, contributing to a global rise in temperature.
In other words, the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases are just named after greenhouses. They are not necessarily caused by actual greenhouses.
The Environmental Impact of Greenhouses
Although greenhouses aren’t usually contributors to the gases named after them, it’s true that they do have a number of effects on their environment. Some may even use CO2 generators, which can also be linked to environmental impacts.
Some of these effects greenhouses have are positive. For instance, it takes less water to maintain a garden in a greenhouse than it does in an outdoor garden.
That’s because the water on your plants takes a little longer to evaporate, which means the water you use goes a longer way. It’s also due to the fact that greenhouses allow you to condense growing cycles, further reducing the amount of water you need to use.
If you’re growing food for yourself in your greenhouse, you’re also preventing the waste that occurs in packaging and transportation.
However, commercially sized greenhouses are known to have more negative impacts on the environment. That’s mostly due to the fact that require much more robust heating and cooling systems, which use up a lot of energy.
Read Also: Best Greenhouses for a Desert Climate
With the names “greenhouse gases” and “greenhouse effect” both having the word “greenhouse” in them, it’s easy to see where some people might get confused.
Don’t let this tarnish your understanding of greenhouses, though. Greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect were simply named after greenhouses, because all of them have a similar function: locking in warmth.
While it is true that greenhouses aren’t always as “green” as we’d like them to be, there are advances in technology every year that make even commercial greenhouses better for the environment.