Case Studies

Case Study: 14-01-021 Using Retractable Skylights to Gain Roof Access

October 7, 2016


When renovating a third floor deck at their East Hampton residence that overlooks Hook Pond, a client decided that they wanted an easier way to access the view than their existing heavy hatch door. The hatch sits atop a staircase that brings occupants to the outdoor deck from the floor below. The hatch is solid and blocks light, creating a dark, unsafe, and unappealing access way. The client came to Solar Innovations® with the desire for a more elegant design solution to this dilemma.

The design would be required to preserve the footprint of the existing deck space, preserve the views out toward the pond, and create a less cumbersome access way than the heavy hatch. To add to these requirements, the door would need to be weather-tight and have adequate thermal performance to combat the New York winters.


Solar Innovations® was capable of solving this design challenge by employing its retractable skylight. This innovative solution allows the retractable skylight to be used as an access way to the deck. Being completely motorized, the occupants no longer have to push a heavy metal door directly upwards, fighting gravity. The retractable skylight can be withdrawn at the push of a button. Not only is it easier to use, the light now enters into the staircase and increases visibility and safety. The low angle of the retractable skylight preserves the view of the surrounding pond and takes up the same amount of space as the previous hatch.

To meet the thermal performance requirements of the project, Solar Innovations® used a thermally broken structural frame. The retractable skylight is weather-proof and, with the addition of a rain sensor, will automatically close if rain is present. This feature limits interior water damage.

Utilizing their new retractable skylight, the occupants can access their deck with the push of a button.

Project Details

Series: SI6501 Single Slope Motorized Retractable Skylight

Finish: Dark Bronze Anodized Frame Finish

Glazing: 1” LoE 272 Insulated Glazing