Solar Innovations® Supports Ronald McDonald House Charities with Largest Solar Cares Donation to Date

Solar Innovations® Architectural Glazing Systems, a custom manufacturer of sliding, folding, and stacking glass walls, doors, windows, and screens; sunrooms; greenhouses; skylights; and curtain walls; donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania.

PINE GROVE, PA – Solar Innovations® Architectural Glazing Systems announced the conclusion of the first quarter fundraiser of Solar Cares, a campaign dedicated to giving back to the surrounding community. Employees raised funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania, a non-profit organization based in Hershey, PA that provides temporary housing for families of seriously ill children who are being treated at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. By allowing families to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Hershey and the Ronald McDonald Family Room, this program keeps families together when children need their support the most.

ronald mcdonald house charitiesWith 74.1% of office employees donating, Solar Innovations® surpassed the team goal. Including team member donations and company match, a total of $2,575.00 will be donated to the local charity.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania includes the Ronald McDonald House and the Family Room. The House is located in Hershey, PA and houses out-of-town families for the duration of a child’s treatment at Penn State. The Family Room is located within the Children’s Hospital and offers a comfortable living room and sleeping space for family members with children so ill that leaving the hospital is not an option. The Family Room is also available for those who live too close to be eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Services, including home-cooked meals, laundry, showers, internet access, play areas, entertainment, and transportation are provided at the House and Family Room at no cost to the families. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Pennsylvania have personally and positively impacted the lives of several Solar Innovations® team members.

The Solar Cares campaign launched in October of 2015. For the inaugural fundraiser, team members raised over $1,700 for the Breast Cancer Research Fund at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute in Hershey, PA. In December 2015 the team participated in the Adopt-a-Family program, providing presents for a local family in addition to $1,700 raised by the team, which was used to purchase additional gifts and donate to the Salvation Army Corporation in Pottsville, PA. Solar Cares continued in 2016 with donations of over $1,500 worth of food to the Williams Valley and Pine Grove area food pantries, $1,300 worth of pet food, toys, and supplies to local SPCAs in the Schuylkill and Lebanon counties, and $1,850 in donations to the Schuylkill United Way “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive. Solar Cares participated in Adopt-a-Family once more in 2016, this time providing gifts and $1,900 for four local Schuylkill and Lebanon county families.

Solar Innovations® is a single source provider of custom glazed structures, skylights, windows, and doors. Their extensive product line ranges from greenhouse to sunrooms, to folding glass walls. To learn more about Solar Innovations®, its products, the Solar Cares campaign, or to request a brochure, visit www.solarinnovations.com, contact skylight@solarinnovations.com or call 800-618-0669.


Johnny Appleseed Day

Johnny Appleseed Photo

Johnny Appleseed’s actual name was Jonathan Chapman. He was born on September 26, 1774. Chapman earned this nickname by planting apple trees and starting orchards while walking across 100,000 square miles of wilderness and grassland Eastern United States.

Chapman only lived off the food provided by nature and never killed animals. Although he appeared poor, he gained wealth by selling his apple trees and land. He preferred bartering and trading, and he developed a complex system of storing his money by burying it in the ground rather than using a bank

Chapman acquired more than 1,000 acres of farmland which he developed into orchards. In 1842 he made his last trip back to Ohio after 50 years of walking the land.
On March 18, 1845, he died of pneumonia at 71 years old.Fort Wayne still celebrates the life of Johnny Appleseed with a festival in September when the apples are harvested.

Although the winter weather made a small change of plans for today to celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day, we are not letting it get the best of us.  Instead of planting an apple tree outside today, our greenhouse expert decided to dress up as Johnny Appleseed and plant an apple tree indoors that will be transplanted outside once the weather warms up again.


Selecting the Right Greenhouse Heating System

selecting the right greenhouse heating system

Those of us that enjoy spending time in our greenhouses may know that heating a greenhouse can be a challenge. Sometimes it can feel like Mother Nature is not on our side. However, if you set up an efficient and effective heating system, you can maintain the perfect growing environment without the frustration. Keeping your greenhouse the correct temperature can be the difference between bounty and failure of plant growth in colder months.

The first aspect to consider is what type of heating system to use in your greenhouse. While warm air is usually the choice of most greenhouse owners for its easy install and cost effectiveness, mounted propane or natural gas is always the best choice for greenhouse environments. Another ideal is radiator water heat, which is usually connected to your home’s hot water system and is easily controlled by a separate greenhouse thermostat. This system can be placed underneath greenhouse benches for convenience.

Placement is key for greenhouse heaters. My recommendation for anyone, whether heating a small growing environment or expansive estate greenhouse, is to place your heat source close to the floor. Only in a small hobby greenhouse will a single wall mounted heating unit be sufficient to provide an ideal growing environment. Since heat rises, placing the heater near the floor allows the warm air to naturally travel upward and fill the greenhouse with heat evenly. Keeping the heat source low to the ground also provides warmth for your plant roots, which prevents plants from becoming too cold overnight and during cooler months.  If you must hang your heater, always try to have your fans placed strategically to force the heat downward. With today’s new technologies in heating materials, make a smart investment in a mounted propane or natural gas heating system and take advantage of the best placement options to thoroughly and evenly heat your greenhouse and provide the best environment for your plants.


Inside Solar: Wood Veneer Vinyl-Composite Folding Glass Wall

wood veneer vinyl-composite folding glass wall

wood veneer vinyl-composite folding glass wallOur team was recently able to install a new unit in our upstairs showroom and office space. We are pleased to introduce our vinyl-composite folding glass wall with real wood veneer interior and black painted exterior.wood veneer vinyl-composite folding glass wall

Vinyl-Composite windows and doors offer ease of operation and a low maintenance, durable frame. As an effective insulator, vinyl-composite systems achieve excellent thermal performance, making them an energy efficient product that can help reduce utility bills in a home or business. Vinyl-composite systems are suitable for both residential and commercial applications. While the popularity of vinyl-composite systems stems from European tilt-turn windows, vinyl-composite is quickly becoming a popular option in the United States. We are proud to offer durable, American manufactured vinyl-composite systems including folding glass walls, sliding glass walls, lift slide doors, swing doors, and a variety of operable windows.

Keep an eye out for more Inside Solar blog posts to stay updated on the exciting changes to our corporate office and manufacturing space.


Preventing Bacterial Disease in Plants

preventing bacterial disease in plants

There are about 170 microscopic species of bacteria that can cause disease in your plants, and it’s important to notice the visible signs of disease your plants may show. Though there is not one single symptom for all plants, several common signs to look out for are black veins running through yellowed areas on the leaves; tiny, round dark spots on the leaves; yellowing of the leaf; wilting or collapse of the plant stem; and v-shaped yellow or brown wedges on the plants.

Managing bacteria on your plants can be as simple as detecting it in the early stages when the leaves begin to yellow or when black spots start to appear. Plants that are only affected insignificantly should be sprayed with a bactericide or fungicide, and infected leaves should be removed. Once treated, try to keep the plant separated from more healthy plants. Infected plants should never be hung above a healthy plant. Plants with major infections should be discarded completely to prevent the threat of bacteria spreading to healthy plants.

Keep your growing environment clean in order to prevent bacterial infections in your plants. Always clean up and discard all plant debris from the plants and pots they are growing in. Keeping benches and the floor clean can also help keep bacteria under control. Mesh top benches are ideal as they allow for excellent air circulation and drainage. Good air flow, either naturally sourced from windows, ridge vents, and eave vents, or supplemented by circulation fans, helps prevent bacteria from starting. Maintaining a well ventilated, clean environment will keep your plants happy and healthy.


Case Study: A High Performance Complete Glazing Package for Oceanside Living

Challenge

While constructing a high-end residence in Southampton, New York, an architecture firm sought an experienced glazier to provide quality fenestration to complement the modern style of the residence. The dwelling is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean to the South and Mecox bay to the North. The orientation provides wide, scenic views of the beach and bay. However, this luxury location comes at the cost of increased exposure to hurricanes, high winds, and storms. The corrosive ocean air, seasonal variances in temperature, and exposure to driving rain translate into a necessity for high-quality fenestration. The desired windows, doors, and curtain walls would need to be impact, wind, and water rated with a finish that can hold up to the tough seaside atmosphere.

Solution

Solar Innovations® was able to provide the proper fenestration for the client’s vision as well as the demands of the location. The high performance complete window and door package allows for beautiful expansive views to fit the modern aesthetic while holding up to the specific demands of the environment. The curtain walls remain largely unobstructed thanks to the high-strength aluminum structure, providing incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The G2 International style windows were chosen for their consistent sightlines and impact tested ratings which perfectly meet the needs of the design and weather expectations. Awning windows were favored for the location because of their ability to shed rainwater while open. Fixed screens on the interior of the awning windows prevent the intrusion of airborne pests when fresh air is desired.

The high performance glazing set in thermally broken aluminum bars provides excellent thermal performance that meets the demands of the climate. An interlayer within the glazing prevents harmful UV rays from entering the dwelling. The AAMA 2605 white finish on the units prevent corrosion that would otherwise occur due to exposure to ocean air. The clean, precisely machined lines of Solar Innovations®‘ fenestration compliment the modern style of the residence and provide excellent thermal, water, and impact performance so that the residents can rest easy in their new home.

complete glazing package for oceanside livingProject Details

Series: Multiple Solar Innovations® Product Lines

Finish: AAMA 2605 White

Glazing: Solarban 60 Laminated Insulated Glazing


Preparing for Spring: Starting Seedlings Inside

starting seedlings inside

Despite the winter weather, it’s almost that time of year again to start our seeds for the spring. Most annual flowers and vegetables should be started about six weeks before the last frost, but it’s important to research your plants to get your timing right. Remember to start your seeding trays with sterilized seedling soil and use clean containers. Specific seedling containers or flats can be purchased, but small trays or egg cartons are good alternatives. If making your own containers, be sure to poke holes in the sides near the bottom.

Light and temperature are very important to seedlings. For optimal seedling growth and strength, read your seed labels to see what conditions they require to start. The majority of seedlings will require your grow lights to be on 24 hrs a day during the first portion of their lives. You can cut back on lighting once your plants are growing. However, the less light you provide, the more your plants will stretch or become “leggy,” which weakens the plant. Make sure your heat mats are set to the correct temperatures as specified on the seed labels. Most seeds sprout best between temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is easily maintained in a greenhouse with propagation accessories. If you have seeds that start at range of temperatures, it is possible to set your temperature at an average range to germinate a few varieties if desired.

Be careful when watering the seedlings, as they are sensitive to too much or too little water. Make sure to water with warm water rather than cold water. Once your plants have their second or third sets of leaves, they will be ready for transplanting. Move them to individual pots filled with potting mix and plenty of compost for best growth.

Always refer to the seed labels when starting the indoor sprouting process, as some seeds may need to be soaked, scratched, or chilled before planting. We recommend teaming up with a neighbor or friend when starting seedlings, since a packet of seeds often yields much more than expected. Gardening with a partner can also act as an incentive to keep your plants happy and healthy, whether through working together or a little friendly competition!


Case Study: Using Sliding Glass Windows to Create a Dynamic Entertaining Space

sliding glass windows for entertaining

Challenge

In an effort to compliment a valued outdoor pool where the family spends much of its summer, a Pennsylvania resident constructed a timber-frame pergola and pavilion. The pergola design shades an outdoor fireplace, grill, and patio space. While offering scenic views of rolling country hills, the pavilion shelters a bathroom, kitchen, and dining area from the elements.

The client required a flexible schedule with which to finish the construction of the pavilion so that spatial limitations could be gauged. In need of a door and windows to complete the enclosure, the client reached out to Solar Innovations®.

Solution

sliding glass windows for entertainingSolar Innovations® was eager to work around the client’s schedule. The project was broken into two halves for the client, one half being completed and shipped five months before the second. The project encompassed the installation of a three-panel folding door, five sliding windows, and four custom triangular fixed windows.
The sliding windows enable cross ventilation to cool the pavilion’s interior space. The windows come equipped with fiberglass screens to keep bugs from entering the enclosure. The three-panel folding door can be collapsed to unite the patio and pavilion. The end door of the three-panel folding door can also be swung open like a terrace door while the other two panels remain fixed. The glazing specified for all of the units is 1” LoE 272 tempered insulated glazing with argon filled airspaces for thermal efficiency.

The client’s pergola and pavilion, now equipped with quality doors and windows, further the functionality and appeal of the pool space. The pergola and pavilion have become ideal spaces for outdoor gatherings and summer recreation, and the enclosure offers inspiring views while also providing a refuge during inclement weather conditions.

Project Details

Series: SI8000 Thermally Broken Multi-Track Sliding Glass Window System,

Finish: AAMA Class I Dark Bronze Anodized

Glazing: LoE 272 Tempered Insulated Glazing


Case Study: Utilizing a Custom Glass Structure for Rooftop Access

custom glass structure for rooftop access

Challenge

Exploring ways to meet the New York City building code on egress, a New York townhouse resident decided to use the opportunities afforded by a renovation to bring extra light into their living space. The new code had invalidated an existing ladder and roof hatch on the fourth floor as a suitable form of egress. Instead of rebuilding a similar exit, the architect decided to rip out the ladder and roof hatch, puncturing the roof to accommodate a new set of stairs. A one-hour fire rated wall was constructed alongside the single stringer staircase. The architect then approached Solar Innovations® to discuss the installation of a structure to protect the floors below from the elements. The design required a glazed structure that would provide exceptional thermal and water protection while admitting paramount levels of daylight to enter the residence below.

Solution

Solar Innovations® collaborated with the architect to design, manufacture, and install a straight-eave lean-to walkway with one gable end and one back wall. The structure’s pitch was specifically designed to achieve the required clearance in relation to the rise of the staircase.

The structure, which boasts glass walls on three sides, permits a significant amount of light to penetrate the stairwell. It is equipped with an in-system awning window for ventilation. In order to achieve optimal thermal performance, one inch insulated glazing units with an argon filled airspace were installed. In addition to its practical uses, the egress acts as a focal point of design along the residential rooftop. This unique rooftop structure that doubles as a skylight permits the townhouse to meet NYC building codes on egress and illuminates the stairwell with plentiful natural daylight.

Project Details

Series: SI5201 Irregular Straight Eave Lean-To Walkway with One Gable End & One Backwall

Finish: AAMA 2603 Standard White Duracron

Glazing: 1” LoE 272 Clear Annealed Laminated Glazing


Keep Your Plants Healthy: Minerals for Plant Growth

minerals for plant growth

Minerals are essential for healthy plant growth, but choosing the right soil and minerals for your plants can be overwhelming. Our greenhouse experts have broken down the main minerals for successful gardening, and what to expect if your plants are not getting enough of any of them.

Nitrogen
Nitrogen is used by all plants more than any other mineral. Lack of nitrogen can cause many different symptoms in your plant, including yellowing of the leaves, excessive growth, lack of fruiting, and weakening of the plant. It is important to make sure your plants get enough nitrogen, because a lack of nitrogen tends to make plants more prone to disease and insect attacks.

Phosphorus
Phosphorus is an important mineral that is used to transfer energy in the plant during the metabolic process. It promotes root and seed development in the fruit of the plant as well as helps the plant itself become more drought and cold tolerant. A phosphorus deficiency can cause stunting of growth and maturity, poor coloration in the leaves, and may even cause your plants to not seed.

Potassium
Potassium is important for the enzymes that are involved in the photosynthesis process and cell structure of the plant. It also helps with water absorption, fighting diseases, and improving the fruit or vegetables.

Calcium
Calcium helps the plant roots and tips become stronger and more developed. A lack of calcium causes plants to not bud, or even lose fruit once it develops.

Magnesium
Magnesium is important for the development of plant cells to efficiently undergo photosynthesis and provide a better seeding. Deficiency of magnesium causes leaf discoloration, making the leaves appear old or withered.

Sulfur
Sulfur gives the fruit its color and odor characteristics. Therefore, a deficiency in sulfur in your plants causes a lessening of color and taste.

Manganese
Manganese helps the enzyme development in the plant cells. A deficiency of manganese will make the plant leaves look like they have yellowish stripes. Iron, copper, and zinc also play a similar role as manganese but are more toxic to plants if too much is applied.

Boron
Boron is important in plants because it assists in the transformation of sugars and in the germination of pollen tubes. A lack of this mineral will stop self-pollinating plants from pollinating, and will also harm the pollination process of fruit trees and corn.

There are a wide variety of essential minerals for plant growth, so it is important to get a professional soil sample taken at least every three or four years in addition to when fertilizing your garden, fruit tree crop, or even fields of corn and grasses. Always use a well-balanced fertilizer with all the trace minerals to keep your soil stocked with the essentials for your plants.