We explore an under-appreciated side effect of semi-closed greenhouses: the ability to recover transpired water, thereby increasing water use efficiency. Semi-closed greenhouses are fit with cooling equipment, to limit natural ventilation requirements for temperature and humidity control. We assess the effect of cooling system capacity on ventilation needs of semi-closed greenhouses under different climate conditions and provide a general framework to evaluate potential water savings using the semi-closed greenhouse concept in different regions. We simulate greenhouse climate and crop yields for various cooling system capacities in Central Europe (The Netherlands) and Mediterranean (Greece and Algeria) by implementing a "cooling module" into an existing greenhouse model (KASPRO) and validating it using concurrent experimental data. Increasing the capacity of the cooling system has a double effect on water use efficiency (WUE): increase of fruit yield due to improved microclimate and lower water use, due to collection and reuse of vapour condensed in the heat exchanger and, to a lesser extent, lower crop transpiration. Thus WUE is strongly associated to the capacity of the cooling system. Finally, we show that there is a unique relationship between water use efficiency and the coupling of greenhouse environment to the outside air (an indicator of ventilation requirements), for all regions studied.