NanaWall Folding Glass Doors Featured Prominently at 2011 Solar Decathlon

Date: 10 October 2011
At the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon at the National Mall in Washington, D.

C., three teams welcomed the world into their houses through the custom-made NanaWall® folding glass walls. This is the fourth time NanaWall has been chosen for the world-famous international design competition.

At the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., three teams welcomed the world into their houses through the custom-made NanaWall® folding glass walls.

Florida International University’s Solar Decathlon 2011 PerFORMDance House rendering showing two exterior walls of 21 NanaWall panels that fold open. (Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon 2011 is the world-famous international design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Twenty collegiate teams from around the world are invited to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and attractive.

Teams from New York, California and Florida featured the NanaWall for flexible entrances, day lighting, passive cooling and expanding interior spaces to the outdoors.   

“We are proud to give young architects and engineers the opportunity to design houses that respond to environmental and demographic challenges. NanaWall Systems has sponsored over 10 Solar Decathlon teams since 2005, including previous award winners Cornell University (2005), Santa Clara University (2007) and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2009),” said Ebrahim Nana, president of NanaWall Systems.

In 2011, two teams with the NanaWall were among the top teams for "Energy Balance": Florida International and SCI-Arc/Caltech.

CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK Solar “Roof Pod” for PlaNYC 2030 Long-Term Sustainability Program

More than 100 students of the City College of New York designed and built a solar-powered home for city dwellers. Their “Roof Pod,” a modular structure that can be assembled on flat roofs of apartment houses or mid-rise commercial buildings, is the only one of the 20 finalists designed for high-density urban centers like New York City.

Team New York’s Roof Pod combines the underutilized urban space of rooftops with the abundant energy resource of the sun. The team has found that the energy from the sun over New York City is twice that needed to power the grid, and there is 1.6 billion feet of roof space available. Extra energy produced by the Roof Pod supplies the building underneath. This modular, flexible penthouse design meets PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s long-term sustainability plan.

Two Nanawall folding glass walls make Roof Pod into penthouse-style living space, providing wide views of the city from both the North and South. Visitors enter through the North NanaWall – a 9 foot 8 inch-wide folding glass wall that protects against cold and wind when closed. The South NanaWall unit, also 9 feet 8 inches wide, extends the living area to the exterior porch.

“The efficient and beautiful modern NanaWall doors allow us to have two beautiful thresholds between the interior space of our house and the exterior space of the landscape,” said Farah Ahmad with the City College of New York Solar Decathlon team. “Furthermore, the Nanawalls reflect the core, which is placed in the middle of the house separating the public and private spaces of our Pod.”


Florida International University’s 2011 Solar Decathlon house is called “PerFORMDance” and was designed as an open pavilion with operable louvers and folding glass walls that link the interior and exterior. It performs (dances) as an interactive exhibition that showcases sustainable strategies and technologies to the public.

The design for the open steel framing, northern-facing glass, and exterior canopy is inspired by the vernacular architecture of Central and South America, where the weather is hot and humid. This type of design takes advantage of cross-ventilation to cool interior spaces and relies on large overhangs to protect from intense sunlight during the day.

The southern façade is an insulated wall that protects the home’s core during the heat of the day. The remaining exterior walls incorporate more than 60 feet of floor-to-ceiling operable glass NanaWalls oriented north to provide the maximum amount of natural lighting while providing a minimum level of heat gain. The seven NanaWall openings, each 9 feet wide, create a seamless transition and optimum flexibility between inside and outside – key to making PerFORMdance a “truly performing house.”

Florida International University chose the NanaWall SL73 folding wall system for hurricane zones. It has Miami/Dade and AAMA Hurricane certification and provides maximum storm protection.


Southern California Institute of Architecture and the California Institute of Technology designed a “Compact House with Infinite Possibilities”(CHIP). CHIP's flexible, stepped interior adopts the ethic of doing-more-with-less, allowing a single, continuous interior to perform in a variety of different ways to serve the occupants’ daily needs. Natural ventilation is promoted by the sloped floor plan, which encourages hot air to rise out through the north NanaWall window(almost 10 feet wide by five feet 10 inches high) on the upper level while drawing cold air through the entrance to the house on the lower level, a system of NanaWall panels 11 feet wide by 7 feet high.

The overall design of the house has been optimized for the Southern California target market, but the house can be easily adapted to function in other climate zones just as effectively. The NanaWall wood-framed WD66 folding glass wall systems help to reduce the energy needs of CHIP through day lighting and passive cooling.

About NanaWall Systems

For over 25 years, NanaWall Systems has provided operable glass wall systems for large architectural openings. The NanaWall is a custom-made operable glass panel system that opens wide to blur the line between indoors and outdoors. Easily opened, the panels stack or stow away, opening the room to the outside. When closed, the panels provide a weather-resistant barrier protecting against wind, rain, snow, and cold temperatures. NanaWalls are used in single-family homes, multi-family buildings, offices, retail storefronts, restaurants, hotels, schools, sports stadiums, hospitals and wineries.

Unrivaled in the industry, the NanaWall meets or exceeds industry standards for air infiltration, water penetration, structural performance, forced entry, and extreme weather protection (the NanaWall SL73 aluminum folding system is Hurricane Certified by Miami/Dade County). Architects and design professionals rely on NanaWall’s experience, choice of options, superior engineering, and unsurpassed durability to fulfill their distinctive architectural designs.

NanaWall Systems is headquartered in Mill Valley, Calif. with showroom locations across North America. NanaWall is the exclusive North American partner of Solarlux Germany, the world leader in operable glass wall technology. For more information about NanaWall, visit our award-winning website and project gallery at or call 800 873 5673.

About the Solar Decathlon 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. See for more information.

600450 NanaWall Folding Glass Doors Featured Prominently at 2011 Solar Decathlon

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