Factory Tour: Alpen Windows

June 22, 2018

Niwot, Colorado based window maker Alpen Windows is one of the best kept secrets in Boulder County. Alpen is a manufacturer and supplier of extremely high energy-efficient windows. We met with Craig Maierhofer, VP of Business Development, who gave us a remarkable tour of their manufacturing facility where the windows are assembled, tested, and shipped straight from their warehouse.

At Studiobvio, we are driven to seek out and identify the best manufacturers and products possible and we are inspired when we can make local connections within our own backyard.

Alpen started as a glass manufacturing company and pioneer of film tensioned glass. Alpen is the first company in North America to make an R10 fiberglass window, the Zenith ZR10, in compliance with the Department of Defense’s 2020 benchmark. The majority of Alpen’s sales are in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast, but their windows are also well suited for harsher climates like Greenland and the Arctic.  As more and more homeowners recognize the comfort and performance provided by high performance windows, we hope to see the local Colorado market for Alpen windows grow.

Alpen is both a national sustainable building industry leader, and also a fantastic local company, employing local craftsmen to build their handcrafted windows. We appreciate the performance of the windows and the story of where they come from and how they are made.

As big proponents of Passive House technology, Alpen Windows fall right into place when it comes to performance and meeting high standards of energy performance.

Alpen Windows are one of the only domestic producers of Passive House certified window components. Passive House certification is the most stringent energy efficiency standards in the world. Despite a noteworthy history of leadership in energy efficient design, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, the US is far behind many European countries and our neighbors to the North. One result is that until recently, high performance windows that meet the Passive House standard had to be imported from abroad, at high-cost and high-risk to the homeowner. With Alpen Windows just up the road, that performance is right at hand (and without the risks, cost, or energy footprint of distant trade).

For context, a passive house is a very well-insulated and draft-free building designed to provide the highest level of comfort. The methodology was established by Dr Wolfgang Feist built upon a collaborative research project to address the problems of unhealthy, unsustainable, and unaffordable homes initiated by Bo Anderson during the 1960s to 1980s.

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