Case Studies

Solar Innovations Inc.

Shining in tailor-fit building solutions driven by environmental performance

For more than 15 years, Solar Innovations Inc. (SI) has been the single-source solution for a complete line of high performance structures and accessories from operable doors and walls to skylights, windows and glass rooms to curtain walls, screens, shades, ridge vents and a range of other products. By manufacturing everything in-house within the expanse of its own 300,000-square-foot facility in Pine Grove, Pa., SI backs innovative design with an environmentally-responsible process and top-notch team focused on crafting custom-fit, energy-efficient building components.

SI is the brainchild of Everlite Greenhouses (Everlite), a company founded in the early 1950s. Everlite was purchased by a Maryland-based sunroom manufacturer in the 1980s and produced sunroom products and Mahogany interior aluminum exterior conservatories. Everlite eventually split up, selling its equipment and designs to several manufacturing entities, one of which moved to York, Pa.

Do-it-yourself ingenuity

The Pennsylvania-based company proceeded to manufacture wood and aluminum products and in 1997, Greg Header, now president of SI, joined the team as a consultant. After reorganizing, SI officially emerged in April 1998 and Header assumed the role of president and Darren Coder was named vice president.

“We started in the conservatory and green house business about 15 years ago and even then, in the early years, we shipped some of these systems internationally,” shares Header. “We couldn’t find doors and windows that fit right so we started developing our own and we now ship those all over the country and internationally.”

Talking the talk and walking the walk

Today, SI has established a network of dealers and outside sales representatives nationwide, operating from a 24-acre campus combining a corporate office, testing lab, metal fabrication and manufacturing facility. Since its inception, SI has made environmental stewardship a cornerstone of its business, quite literally, in fact with a facility that’s LEED Gold certified and well on its way to becoming LEED Platinum.

“Our choices in everything from regular day-to-day purchases and marketing initiatives to corporate events center around their impact on the environment,” assures Header. “But our facility really speaks for itself in terms of environmental consciousness.”

SI’s facility achieved LEED Gold by being 98.5 percent landfill free. 85 percent of power collected off the grid and the facility features a 2,200-panel solar array, among other LEED implementations.

Fit, form and function

While the company certainly is a shining example of its own solutions at work, Header says SI’s growth is the result of design-build partnerships. “We partner with people that provide green solutions to maximize their ROI,” he explains. “From the design stage, we get in with architects early to design for fit, form and function. We help calculate all of those factors that make a product truly more efficient for a specific facility, which in turn, saves thousands of dollars.”

Header says much of SI’s contracts have formed through these design-build collaborations with people across the building industry -architects, engineers, builders, contractors, owners. “Not only are we doing the owner a serving by maximizing their ROI, we’re also minimizing headaches for builders and architects by making the process run smoother and adding more value to the project, which at the end of the day makes the building more attractive.”

And it’s not just new construction that SI’s method proves effective. “We also shine in going into older buildings and renovation projects, making these facilities more energy efficient,” adds Header.

The sky’s the limit- vertical integration

Skylights, green house systems, sunrooms, windows, operable doors -by producing these components and more in-house, at its own manufacturing site and testing lab, SI delivers greater control over lead times. “For example, if a customer’s deadline requires a door two weeks earlier, we do not need to wait for hardware,” compares Header. “The same principles can be applied to testing. If a Florida Impact test requires changes to our product, we are able to source the parts or create new ones within a short period of time and find a solution.”

This also allows for greater price control because SI doesn’t purchase parts from outside vendors at marked up price points. Our experience has proven that shortening lead time for custom products enables customers to adhere to their construction schedules while providing a superior quality product that is manufactured in the U.S.”

SI has delivered better building components from stadiums to high-rise towers. “We’ve done the Washington Huskies’ Stadium and the Cincinnati Red’s Great American Ballpark Renovation,” notes Header. “We’re also involved at the Tower at PNC Plaza, one of the world’s greenest skyscrapers, incorporating a design-build collaboration of a 30-story interior double façade wood curtain wall with a specialty operable door system. This project is a good demonstration of where we’re headed now, working with all mediums from wood to aluminum clad wood.”

As the green industry continues to strengthen, so does SI. “We’re showcasing our latest G3 combined purpose door system at Greenbuild 2014, which will be a major part of an upcoming $2 million project in Hawaii,” adds Header.

“We’re also an industry leader in bifold doors, offering the next generation in structurally glazed, combination marine folding doors and a patent-bending corrosion-proof door catch made for large industrial doors,” says Header.

Solar Innovations continues to shed new light on better building components driven by custom solutions that work for individual facilities needs while benefiting the industry as a whole.

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Spring 2018

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