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Niwot based Alpen High Performance is go-to company for ultra-efficient building projects

Posted on: Jan 29 17

by: admin

Longmont Times-Call.  Q&A with their president

When New York’s Empire State Building went green in 2010, replacing all of its doublepaned windows with high-performance glass, the story was covered by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and others.

But one name was left out, that of Niwot-based Alpen High Performance Products. It was Alpen that provided the glass that was fitted into frames by a California company, then shipped to the east coast for placement in the iconic 102-story building.

The glass is Alpen’s signature product: Two panes of glass with suspended film and gasses in between, a design that allows for maximum energy efficiency.

Though the Empire State Building was the most high-profile project for Alpen, the company has established a reputation — and a thriving business— as the go-to for ultra-efficient projects such as net zero buildings.

We sat down with owner and president Brad Begin to find out how Alpen became Boulder County’s best-kept secret in sustainable building:

1.) What was the genesis of Alpen?

Alpen started as a high-performance glass company back in 1984 or ’85 by a gentleman named Robert Clark, still a close friend and still associated with the company. It was a pioneer in the use of film tensioned between glass. If you’ve got two layers of film in between two panes of glass, it’s the equivalent of four panes of glass— very high performing.

I bought the company in 2006 and we got into windows. Back then, 95 percent of the business was selling glass to other companies that made it into windows. Today, it’s about 10 percent sales of glass and 90 percent of windows.

Every component is made here — the glass is done at our place in Denver, but the fiberglass frames are cut here, and the windows are assembled, tested and shipped from Niwot. That has really helped drive rapid growth in the company, along with the advent of sustainable building.

2.) Just how energy efficient can windows get?

The Department of Energy set a target for developing a market accessible R10 (a measure of insulating power) window by 2020. We’ve beat that by three years with our Zenith ZR10, which we debuted in September. It’s so far the only commercially available R10 window.

It’s the equivalent of 10 panes of glass. It insulates as good as a wall. We’re very proud of that

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