Double Skin Sunrooms

Gatland Double Skin Sunroom

Double skin façade sunrooms by Solar Innovations, Inc. are designed to collect solar heat, increase user comfort levels, and control utility costs. The term “double skin” is often used to refer to curtain wall systems, but sunrooms can also easily be designed with a double skin application. The purpose of a double skin façade is to create a cavity between two glass walls that collects solar heat and channels it into the building.

The interior glass wall typically contains doors or windows that allow warm air to enter the interior environment.  The addition of the warmed air into the home reduces the structure’s reliance on traditional heating methods. These glass walls can also be combined with a glass roof to provide additional natural light.

In cold climates, the outside walls can be fixed, allowing the double skin sunroom to constantly gathering solar heat. When located in a mild climate, the exterior walls can be operable to allow natural air flow; additional operable windows or walls can be added to connect the sunroom to the interior living space.

The exterior glass walls can consist of  operable doors, such as folding glass walls, stacking glass walls, or sliding glass doors. The doors provide users the ability to open up to three of the sunroom’s walls. By incorporating operable exterior walls, the double skin sunroom’s flexibility is greatly increased. When the weather is pleasant, these doors can be opened, allowing fresh air into the sunroom. The interior doors can also be opened to enable the fresh air to further penetrate the building.

Solar Innovations, Inc.’s double skin sunrooms enhance buildings by providing daylight and views of the outdoors.  The sunroom allows daylight to enter the space, potentially reducing the need for artificial light and saving energy, and daylight is known to increase productivity and the mood of occupants.

When windows are opened in a single skin sunroom, outside noises are easily transferred into the room. A double skin sunroom setup provides acoustic benefits by adding two glass walls between the outdoors and the normal occupant space and reducing noise transfer. These properties become particularly useful when a building is located near an airport, railroad tracks, or an interstate.

Double Skin Sunroom

During the winter months, heated air coming from an HVAC unit has a tendency to become dry, which can cause user discomfort. When the interior wall is opened, the humidity produced by the plants will mix with the interior air and increase comfort levels.

Solar Innovations, Inc. produces the entire double skin sunroom at our Pine Grove, Pennsylvania manufacturing facility, and our greenhouse experts can even provide advice on what plants can increase humidity levels.

The framing of the double skin sunroom is constructed of durable aluminum, which will not rot, rust, warp, or require constant finish maintenance.  Operable ventilation can be added to the glass roof, along with windows in the side walls, if desired.  Solar offers five standard paint finishes and two anodized finishes; custom color matches are available at an additional cost.

Double Skin Sunrooms Operable Doors

Operable Door Integration

The operable door systems that can be integrated into a double skin sunroom vary in function.  Clear walls consist of individual panels, without horizontal framing, that slide individually on a track and can stack into a pocket.  Clear glass walls are ideal wind breaks, as they add no performance value and should not be used when air conditioning and heating are a factor.

Folding walls are made up of door panels that are hinged together and stack against a wall like an accordion.  Sliding doors consist of panels that slide on a track and generally stack behind each other.  Stacking glass walls are similar to clear walls, except each panel has both horizontal and vertical framing. Stacking glass walls can easily be designed into a system where all three walls will completely open without obstructions.

Glazing Options

Insulated glazing units can be integrated into the entire double skin sunroom. The only exception would be the use of clear walls, which are generally glazed with monolithic or one single pane glass. Monolithic glazing is suitable for use in a wind break but offers no thermal performance. Insulated glazing is thermally efficient and aids in the control of heating and cooling costs. The addition of LowE tints further improves the thermal properties of insulated glazing products.

Double skin façade sunrooms are custom designed by Solar Innovations, Inc.’s  in-house engineers to withstand local elements, such as wind, rain, and snow loads. If you would like to speak with a Solar Innovations, Inc. representative, please e-mail

Please Note: Solar Innovations, Inc. only recommends using wood for exterior purposes if there is an overhang to provide protection or if the product will be used for interior applications. Also, Solar Innovations, Inc. does not recommend the use of wood on the exterior of doors for durability purposes and hardware limitations.

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