Factory Tour: Alpen Windows

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.

 

 

 

 

Studio Visits: Twig + Vonmod

We believe strongly in local craft and manufacturing. Recently we had a chance to visit two local makers who are leading the way in proving how small manufacturing wins the day.

Twig is a custom builder, providing millwork and CNC solutions to the home and DIY industry. With targets on the tiny house market, creating easy to ship and assemble furniture. For such a small team, Twig utilizes design tools such as CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) and Fusion which plugs in with Revit, one of our favorite tools. During our time together, we discussed ways in which our design process could easily integrate with their workflow.

 

VonMod is a design and build studio specializing in high-quality custom cabinetry. VonMod works closely with architects and designers. VonMod is run by an architecture heavy team, who frequently operate as in-house designers. Based in a self-built studio located in the Globeville neighborhood, due north of the expressway, VonMod has a special vantage point on the homebuilding industry.

At Studiobvio, we’re all about saving time without sacrificing quality. We look forward to working with the creative folks at Twig and VonMod to harness their technologies and power awesome design solutions.

 

ADU Denver Home Tour

Why Accessory Dwelling Units Are In Everyone’s Future

This summer, Denver hosted its very first ADU Home Tour, uniting homeowners and industry experts passionate about the future and potential of building accessory dwelling units or ADUs in their own neighborhoods and backyards. The event served as an opportunity to survey the current landscape and learn more about what it takes to get an ADU built. Owners of eleven ADUs opened their doors, inviting the curious-minded to explore and experience the possibilities of ADUs.

The tour sought to raise awareness and demystify perceptions associated with building an ADU.
Two major observations we gleaned from the tour: 1) ADUs come in varying scales relative to the existing home. 2) No two ADUs  are alike. ADU owners carry different backgrounds, stories, and propensities for building ADUs. This finding is really all a testament to their flexibility and wide-ranging appeal.

We believe the event positions Denver as the next leader in the ADU movement. Denver has one of the fastest growing housing markets. While ADUs are not an entirely new concept, ADUs represent a new alternative housing type in Denver. Many of the current ADU owners in Denver represent first movers in this growing market.

Many thanks to our friends at L&D Construction who spearheaded the event. We look forward to seeing this event become an annual tradition in Denver with even more ADUs to show for in the years to come 🙂