Case Study: Custom Traditional Greenhouse Design with Modern Functionality

custom traditional greenhouse design


While looking for a manufacturer to design and build a custom traditional style greenhouse for plant cultivation and private gatherings at their privately owned equestrian estate, a Massachusetts client was having trouble finding a supplier that could meet their needs. The existing farm displays extensive formal French gardens and traditional aesthetics. The client desired a greenhouse that would combine traditional style with modern functionality and serve as both a greenhouse and a conservatory.


custom traditional greenhouse designSolar Innovations® was able to meet this list of demands through their focus on custom built structures and an extensive stock of decorative elements. Working with the client, Solar Innovations® designed, manufactured, and installed a straight-eave double-pitch greenhouse with two gable ends that sits upon a 4 ft. tall ashlar stone veneer basewall. A slate nose cap lines the sill and compliments the rough stone basewall beneath.

One gable end and one dormer connected entry way with traditional French doors accentuate access into the conservatory space. The final dormer on the rear of the structure is blocked off and serves as the headhouse, supporting the mechanical and electrical needs of the conservatory space.

Traditionally styled pilaster columns with capitals and plinths terminate into overhanging eaves and gables, giving an increased perception of structural integrity, while these decorative columns only visually support the weight of the roof. The alternating series of thick columns, thin bars, and delicate grids create an easily understood rhythm to the structure. Decorative crown molding and gutter wrap around the eaves and gable rakes, adding intricacy and visual weight to the eave.

Following the traditional style, the operable windows are equipped with low profile grids and simulated divided lites (SDLs). Aside from being used as ornamentation, the grids also keep the focus on the interior space rather than views of the surrounding woods. Roman fold shades, ridge vents, operable windows, and king-post mounted ceiling fans work in unison to keep the conservatory space a cool and pleasant place to gather in summer months. This new greenhouse combines the traditional aesthetic desired by the client with the modern functionality permitted by aluminum.

Project Details

Series: SI5204 Straight-Eave Double-Pitch Greenhouse with Two Gable Ends and Multiple Greenhouse Accessories

Finish: Custom Color Match

Glazing: 1” LoE 272 Tempered Insulated Glazing

Case Study: Vinyl-Composite Tilt Turn Windows for Thermal and Acoustical Performance

vinyl-composite tilt turn windows


When designing a six-story apartment complex sitting atop a storefront in Virginia, a client searched for a manufacturer that could fabricate all fenestration for the job to achieve visual consistency across all units. The client requested vinyl-composite fenestration for the material’s thermal and acoustical efficiency. While the apartment complex is conveniently located in a bustling community, the surrounding heavily trafficked streets create noise pollution, an unwanted malady in an apartment complex. Vinyl-composite fenestration is a great way to address this noise pollution by improving the acoustical break between the interior and exterior. Solar Innovations® took on this challenge and agreed to fabricate the doors and windows for the job.


vinyl-composite tilt turn windowsWhen taking on the job, Solar Innovations® suggested the installation of its Vinyl-Composite Tilt Turn Window System. This window offers two separate operation functions; turn the handle to the side and open the window as a hopper or turn the handle upward to open as a casement. The hopper position provides additional safety by minimizing the accessible open space, however the casement option allows for larger airflow into a room.

By the end of the project, over 800 units were manufactured and installed by the Solar Innovations® team. Vinyl-composite units require minimal maintenance and make re-painting unnecessary. In addition to great energy efficiency and superior acoustical performance, the vinyl-composite product line offers durability, moisture and rot resistance, and matching sightlines among windows and doors. Vinyl-composite products by Solar Innovations® are also an environmentally sustainable choice ­­— an important consideration for apartment complexes targeting younger clientele.

Project Details

Series: SI4500 Insulated Tilt Turn Windows, Fixed Windows, & Terrace Doors

Finish: Clay

Glazing: 1 3/16” Insulated Tempered Argon Filled Glazing

Solar Innovations e-University for Continuing Education Launched

Solar Innovations e-University

The Solar Innovations® e-University recently went live!

Solar Innovations® pairs with AEC Daily to provide continuing education courses to architects, engineers, and construction professionals. Our one-of-a-kind courses give insight into the development, selection, and use of greenhouses, operable walls, glazing options, and much more for optimized use of any space.

These courses educate professionals on glazing system selection and functionality, which allows them to better assist their clients in creating a customized ideal home or business environment. Continuing education is a requirement of nearly all design professionals including architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, and contractors. By taking our online courses, professionals earn credits at their own pace and can complete a course at any time. Courses on AEC Daily often focus on sustainable products and practices.

Solar Innovations® currently has three courses in our e-University: Intelligent Daylight Design for Glazing Systems, Operable Walls for Sustainable Design, and Planning & Designing a Greenhouse Structure. Visit the Solar Innovations® e-University and browse through our courses here:

Case Study: Achieving Performance and Style on a Large Scale with Lift Slide Doors


An architect designing a glass clad high-rise hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii required a series of high performance sliding doors suited for exposure to harsh ocean air and hurricanes while maintaining high thermal performance. These doors, totaling over 1,000 panels, would allow access to private hotel balconies overlooking Māmala Bay to the southwest. In addition to offering high wind, water, and thermal performance, the doors would need to complement the rest of the building’s façade. While searching for a manufacturer to meet these rigorous standards, the architect reached out to Solar Innovations®.


Solar Innovations® discussed the desired performance of the sliding doors with the architect, and advised the use of the Lift Slide Door Systems to maximize water performance. As opposed to traditional sliding doors, the Lift Slide System locks the panels down into the sill when closed, sealing itself with built in gaskets and locking pressure. The handle is the home of the Lift Slide technology; a turn of the handle lifts the gaskets and allows the panels to travel smoothly along the track. Lift Slide Doors can be arranged in nearly unlimited configurations of operable and fixed panels, providing the variety and flexibility that the architect desired.

high performance lift slide doorsSolar Innovations® worked with the architect to provide doors with even higher performance ratings than previously achieved with the Lift Slide System. Water performance, design pressure, and thermal performance were all rigorously tested and improved. The in-house engineering team at Solar Innovations® was able to achieve a design pressure of ±65psf. Combined with the Lift Slide System’s water performance, the doors were well suited to resist harsh coastal weather.

1¼” insulated glazing was selected to both increase thermal and energy performance as well as match the glass façade of the rest of the hotel. Solar Innovations® provided custom color matches on both the interior and exterior of the door panels to blend the units seamlessly into the suites’ contemporary design palette. To maximize the precious balcony space, finger grips were substituted for handles on the exterior of the doors, with the iconic Lift Slide handle implemented on the interior only. The Lift Slide Doors allow vacationers to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian vista of Māmala Bay while providing the comfort and security of a high performance system.

high performance lift slide doors

Project Details

Series: SI8600LS Lift Slide Multi-Track System

Finish: Custom Color Match: “Pine Frost” & “LG Twister”

Glazing: 1¼” Insulated Tempered Glazing

Case Study: Custom Geometric Skylight as an Architectural Focal Point

custom geometric skylight


While designing a wellness center in Monticello, New York, architect Kimberly Ryan at Liscum McCormack VanVoorhis sought a manufacturer to create an eye-catching skylight. The wellness center features a six-story hotel, spas, yoga rooms, and a centrally located indoor pool. Over this pool, Ryan desired a large custom geometric skylight that would both serve as a focal point and allow daylight to brighten the pool area. Daylight is particularly important in a wellness center setting due to the correlation of natural light with improved moods, increased productivity, and higher quality sleep cycles.

The architect envisioned a 16-sided polygonal structure that would taper to a single point. The opening for the skylight would exceed 30 feet at its greatest length. The only drawback of this impressive star-shaped design was the complexity and structural needs of the design at its size.


custom geometric skylightSolar Innovations® answered the call and worked with the architect to design and manufacture the unique skylight. Solar Innovations®’ in-house engineering team utilized the high-strength and lightweight properties of aluminum to accommodate the span and complexity of the 16-sided polygonal skylight. Heavy aluminum glazing bars were chosen and the skylight was constructed in an alternating series of valleys and peaks. Solar Innovations® provided a custom color match finish to seamlessly blend into the center’s color palette.

Once manufactured, the skylight was delivered to the job site and carefully installed by the Solar Innovations® Install Team. The skylight capitalizes on southeastern sunlight to provide daylighting to the centralized pool room, adding to the ambience and serenity of the space. Through Solar Innovations®’ engineering and design, this striking, geometrically complex skylight will surely become the architect’s desired focal point once the wellness center reaches completion.

Project Details

Series: SI5600 Custom 16 Sided Polygonal Skylight

Finish: Custom Paint to Match “Medium Bronze”

Glazing: 1” Bronze Tempered over 5/16” Clear SN-68 Annealed Laminated Insulated Glazing

Architect: Kimberly Ryan, Liscum McCormack VanVoorhis LLP. 181 Church Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Job Site: YO1 Wellness Center, 420 Anawanna Lake Road, Monticello, NY 12701

Solar Innovations Receives Community Involvement Excellence Award

maea community involvement award

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; won the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Association Excellence Award in the Community Involvement category.

PINE GROVE, PA – Solar Innovations® Architectural Glazing Systems received the Community Involvement Excellence Award during the 2017 Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Association Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

The Solar Innovations® team made exceptional strides in community involvement in the past year, with 87% employee participation in the most recent charitable donation campaign.

“Solar Cares,” the company’s community service campaign, is focused on building strong and positive relationships with the local community. Solar Innovations® provides various types of incentives for the team to encourage their participation, such as allowing office team members to wear jeans for two months when donating a specific dollar amount, number of goods, or time spent volunteering, and raffling off vacation hours for shop team members.

In addition to quarterly fundraisers, the Solar Cares Team participates in various other events throughout the year. The Solar Innovations® core values of “Live and Work Green” and “Build Strength Through Teamwork” shine through their efforts to educate community members about proper care of the environment and do their part to keep children active and outside experiencing the environment. The team is just as passionate about education and the ability to inspire others. They are proud to be able to host a variety of tours for student programs and related organizations within the surrounding area to teach them about manufacturing, career paths, and job opportunities within the county.

The “Solar Cares” campaign, along with additional community outreach programs, provides a meaningful connection with the local community by offering opportunities to improve and enrich the lives of others. Volunteering and connecting with the community has become ingrained in Solar Innovations® culture. To team members and the local community, Solar Innovations® is more than just a corporate entity.

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

Solar Innovations Celebrates 19th Anniversary

19th anniversary

To celebrate our upcoming 19th anniversary, Solar Innovations® team members gathered yesterday afternoon for food, fun, and a little competition!

_DSC8681 SMOur biannual Cornhole Tournament kick-started the events, and we named a new championship cornhole team who took down the defending champions from last fall’s event. Our volleyball net and table tennis equipment were also set up during the event. Team members enjoyed snacks and roasted marshmallows on our fire pit.
In addition, our president spoke on our previous year, looking back at our accomplishments and growth as a team and looking forward to more great anniversaries together.


As Solar approaches our 19 year anniversary on April 15th, it is fun to reflect how we have changed and grown over the past 18 years. Our team has greatly expanded, along with their capabilities, which has enabled us to remain innovative and push ourselves to Make the Impossible Possible. Achieving our Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) of being the Best Place to Work and the Best at What We Do is not without challenges, but our team has been dedicated to these goals. When I think about how we have progressed from a 10,000 sq. ft. facility in 1998 where we produced simple greenhouses to having a corporate campus of over 330,000 sq. ft. that drives the industry in product innovation, I’m proud of the team that got us to where we are today. Each year has been a positive stepping stone and the future looks bright. Here’s to another great year of Making Dreams a Reality.

-Greg Header, President

_DSC8627tu SM

Case Study: Glass Railings for a Safer and Brighter Learning Environment

glass railings


During the renovation of an elementary school in Washington D.C., a client sought to replace an existing atrium space with a modern design that was more inviting. The atrium acts as an entry for students and facilitates movement to the second floor classrooms. The existing design featured a bulky half-wall that wound its way up a U-shaped staircase and around the second floor balcony. In addition to appearing outdated, this half-wall obstructed both light and visual connection from the entry. As the first thing the students would see in the morning, this was hardly an inspiring or inviting view.


Glass Railing


After reaching out to Solar Innovations®, the client decided that the best course of action was to tear out the existing half wall and replace it with a sleek glass railing. The railing features aluminum top rails, offset aluminum handrails, and ½” clear tempered glazing. The existing skylight that capped the atrium was also replaced with a more efficient Solar Innovations® skylight.

Maximizing the natural light from the skylight was a top priority for the client. Studies have shown that students exposed to daylight during the course of the day attain higher test scores. With the new glass railing system, ample daylight is able to penetrate more deeply into the first floor rather than being blocked by solid walls. The transparency also provides a safer environment for students by offering greater visual connection between the floors for better teacher supervision and increased visual acuity on the stairs.

Solar Innovations®’ precision aluminum craftsmanship and the visual weightlessness of the glass provides this atrium space with a modern, clean look. The end result is a much more inviting and inspiring view that greets the students as they enter the elementary school and provides a better and safer learning environment.

Project Details

Series: SI9500 Glass Railing System with Offset Handrail and Top Rail

Finish: Class 1 Clear Anodized

Glazing: ½” Clear Tempered Glazing with Polished Vertical Edges

Case Study: Lumira® Aerogel

lumira aerogel

The Benefits of Diffused Light

An Alternative to Traditional Glazing

Despite the many benefits of bringing daylight into a space, it can often be hard to overcome the common downfalls of glazing systems. The low thermal performance of glazing systems reduces the overall efficiency of the building envelope, increasing the running costs of a HVAC system. Glazed surfaces also permit the transfer of exterior sound to interior spaces, potentially ruining the tranquility of an intentionally quiet or relaxed space. If imprudently placed, glazing may reveal undesirable views or allow glare or uneven lighting to ruin the functionality of an interior space.

lumira aerogel beads

Lumira® Aerogel Beads

These drawbacks can be remedied through the use of Lumira®. Lumira® is a lightweight insulation and daylighting solution that utilizes semitransparent aerogel to offer high thermal performance, reduced solar heat gain and loss, 75% natural light transmission, and ideal sound absorption and retention. Made of a dry silica particulate, Lumira® aerogel is completely recyclable, eco-friendly, and non-combustible.

Lumira® can be installed in any skylights, roof lights, smoke vents, glass roofs, windows, tensile structures, and fabric roofing that utilize composite panels, polycarbonate systems, polycarbonate faced systems, U-channel glass, or insulated glass units. Lumira® offers many benefits for those looking toward their next renovation or construction project.


Renovations and Additions

Anyone living with an existing, antiquated glazing system will see the potential offered by Lumira®. The intrinsic thermal performance and reduced solar heat transfer of Lumira® surpasses that of traditional glazing, making it a superior option when considering a renovation or addition. The exceptional thermal performance lowers heating and cooling loads, which translates into money savings and a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Lumira® will distribute evenly diffused light throughout a space, preventing glare and reducing hot and cold spots associated with direct sunlight. It can be strategically placed to absorb and retain noise or block undesired views while preserving the benefits of daylight.

From a construction standpoint, Lumira® allows for a less invasive renovation than traditional glazing systems because of its lightweight and flexible nature. This flexibility is likely to prevent substantial changes to existing curbing or framing during renovations.

In Case 1 (top image), an office space utilized Lumira® during a renovation. The office was looking to preserve daylighting offered through southern exposure, but sought to prevent the associated glare on computer monitors. The window glazing was replaced with Lumira® and the office workers now enjoy evenly distributed lighting without productivity-reducing glare.


New Construction

If integrated strategically in the design phase of new construction projects, Lumira® can significantly improve the overall quality of a completed building. The thermal performance that lowers the heating and cooling loads, saves money, and reduces carbon footprints also helps in gaining or maintaining LEED credentials. Lumira® is also free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), even when exposed to UV rays, maintaining a healthy environment for occupants.

lumira aerogel

Case 2: Lumira® in a Manufacturing Space Laylight

In much the same way that glazing can be used to frame views, Lumira® can be used to block undesirable views without obscuring natural light. Similarly, Lumira® can be used to prevent glare, particularly glare associated with Western facing glazing. The lightweight properties of Lumira® make it an adaptable, easy-to-install material. It can be used in a wide range of residential, commercial, educational, and institutional applications.

In Case 2 (left), Lumira® was utilized in a manufacturing plant. In order to lower the cost of lighting without sacrificing thermal efficiency to traditional glazing, this manufacturing plant was designed with skylights equipped with Lumira®. The finished space promotes evenly distributed light, a thermally efficient roof, and benefits from lower operational expenditures on lighting and HVAC.


Reaping the Benefits of Lumira®

As evidenced in the preceding cases, Lumira® offers a wide range of benefits and design potential. Lumira® can find a place in nearly any project from renovations to new construction. It only takes strategic placement for a building to reap the plethora of benefits associated with Lumira®.

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, contact or call 800-618-0669.