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Community and Q&A

Alpen windows, positive experience

Lydia Segal | Posted in General Questions on

My spouse and I are building a home in zone 6b in Colorado. We are new to home building, and learning everything we can about building an energy efficient pretty good house. Heck, we didn’t even know that term existed a year ago. We have received lots of great info here and thought it was time to give a little back.

When we started the process of figuring out matierisls, we consulted with an engineering firm and with friends that had build a LEED home in the area. Both encouraged us to looks at Alpen windows. Interestingly because they are sold directly to the owner and not via a local retail shop it was hard to get local encouragement to use Alpen.

However, because they had the U values we were looking for and positive reviews at GBA we persisted. Pricing was competitive for the quality and even more so for stated U values. We purchased their most economical grade, which exceeded what many other window manufactures were promoting.

Dave Maier, the Alpen staffer we worked with, was patient beyond belief with answering questions. We actually visited the factory to “touch” the window samples. Delivery was as it was supposed to be.

And the windows so far are perfect, they are actually beautiful, visual transmission with sweet clarity. Since the house is not complete and it is summer, we can’t yet speak to the efficiency. But so far, we are more than pleased.

Lydia

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Replies

  1. Roger Berry | | #1

    Just here to add a "RAH RAH" for Alpen and let you know that three years out I am still very pleased with the performance. You won't be disappointed. I will be spec-ing for my next build.

  2. user-6765831 | | #2

    Thanks for posting. Also looking at these. Did you get the 525 series?

  3. Andy CD Zone 5 - NW Ohio | | #3

    Thanks for the review. Seems like window choice is among the hardest to navigate in green building. It would be really helpful if you could give a few more details on what model you got, what were the glass specs, and what you paid. I don't need to see the entire invoice; perhaps pick one typical window and give details for that one.

  4. Roger Berry | | #4

    I live in Colorado in what I think is CZ 6. This past winter was very mild and unusual. The window type installed was called 525S at the time. I think the performance standard is now showing as a 600 series number. The casement and awning windows were whole window U-.19 and fixed units were U-.15. Costs would be very difficult to clarify as I had multiple ganged units as well as special brick mouldings added. I also had the interior fir veneer wrap on the profiles.

    On average they were only slightly more than quotes I received for leading name units made of wood with exterior cladding. One big advantage Alpen has for higher altitude sites is the willingness to put argon in a triple glaze. Without name shame, other major companies won't put argon in units installed over 5000 feet from one source and 4000 from another. Rather idiotic given the size of the Denver area. Claims that the argon all leaks out anyway were made, as well as the seals couldn't be guaranteed if they sent units on routes over the assigned limits. It is true that I-70 hits close to 10,000 and I do live at 8,000 so if I wanted argon, Alpen it would be. No regrets.

    Much discussion of comfort rating a triple glaze over a double glaze has occurred on GBA. Personally, I would assert that there is no comparison to be made between my current windows and any double glaze I have had in prior houses. I would also go so far as to say the notion of saving on the windows with double glaze and buying more solar panels to boost your heat is only a suitable strategy for CZ 5 or under. On the evenings and days when the temperatures drop below zero, I most definitely appreciate the triple glaze and the argon. More heat on one side of me just won't make up for the distinctly chillier surface temps of double glazed windows. I also disagree with some of the heat gain discussions, but that's another ball of wax.

    While only three years into these units I feel pretty sure the fiberglass frames will continue perform well in the brutal environment of sun and UV of high elevation Colorado sunshine. PVC units I am aware of (at lower elevation) are showing advanced aging after 12 years. I cannot ascertain what brand they are so that may not be a fair read of durability. One thing that weirds-out contractors are the little balloons. It is a bit of a pain to seal and set the capillary tubes behind the glazing strips. I did all of that and I like my method a bit more than the one Alpen suggests.

    And as always, I am not a shill for Alpen, I just like the choice I made.

  5. Lydia Segal | | #5

    Hi,

    Original poster here. I am also not a representative for the company as noted by last poster about himself.

    To the questions previously asked..

    A. We ordered the 525 series, basically U of 0.17 to 0.20. These are fiberglass contractor grade which sounds low end, but these were so much better than what others were selling. Fiberglass as we wanted maintenance free.

    B. We ordered a combination of fixed and awning. It is a passive solar, with dead on south facing, and yes I was bad and put in excess of eight percent south facing windows, more like 11 percent. Happy so face, yes we have a view.

    C. Pricing initially done in August 2017 and order completed six to nine months later was exactly as expected. And also as noted by others, priced competitively to big brand name window companies we checked who would not do argon or could not get the U values that we wanted. And in fact others were dismissive of the request for the U values we wanted.

    Pricing..every window was custom sized, so what price we paid for an individual window is,only relevant to each home owner. I would get your window package from your architect, builder whomever and send to your window companies a bid request and compare away. Interestingly, one of the big companies had just released a new window line that was very price attractive with sort of good energy efficient numbers, but so new and no proven track record, that in the end we steered away from them.

    D. We ordered generic black or some very dark color with ordinary handles, no upcharge. When we considered some color that was an upcharge, we were promptly informed of the pricing differential.

    One thing I just realized in writing these thoughts, I never felt pushed by Alpen. I never felt I should get a higher priced window or handle etc. The process was more educational than high pressured sales. That worked for us.

    Thanks for your questions, comments. I/we are new to all this. And yes windows are a tough choice. Now if my husband could just finalize his color preferences on paint, interior door stain, concrete patio we could move along.

    Lydia

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