Have you ever wondered what kind of home $3.5 million might buy you? If you live, or want to live, in Boulder, Colorado, that home might be 2002 Alpine – said to be the United States’ first ever American-designed, German engineered hyper ecoluxury urban home. It truly looks like a modern architectural marvel, completed in less than a year and standing at 5,160 square feet (with garage). It sports a variety of eco-features, including solar photo-voltaic panels, bespoke timber from consciously-managed forests, an interior that is said to be entirely hypoallergenic and non-toxic and a projected energy usage that “is 18% the average energy use of a typical U.S. home.”
2002 Alpine was designed by Boulder-based architect Studio H:T, engineered in Germany’s WeberHaus factory and assembled on-site by Vireo, a builder of self-described eco-luxury homes. The term eco-luxury, in fact, is used quite extensively in describing this property. To find out more about this term and what went into building Alpine 2002, we turned to one of the project’s collaborators – David Peri of Periscope Marketing – for details:
EarthTechling (ET): What is the background on Alpine 2002?
David Peri: This could fill an encyclopedia, as we could answer it starting in 1898 when this style of house was first started to be developed in Germany, or look at after WW2 when Germany put a concerted effort into developing technologies for the home that minimized energy & material use, or track the five generations of evolution that WeberHaus has engaged in and delivered over the last five decades to continually refine and deliver both higher ecological performance, luxury and longevity in the highest quality homes possible to live in.
Or we could just talk about the last 12 years when Ralf Meier worked to bring these high ecological/luxury homes to the US, how I have been working with him for four years to make this possible during the largest downturn of the economy, banking and home building industry since WW2, or focus on how all these efforts finally culminated in building what we believe is the first uncompromised system engineered and built EcoLuxury home in the US from Germany.
With all those as possible answers to your question, I will instead focus on the idea behind this home – because the idea is more radical than any of the technology – that combining uncompromised ecological performance with luxury is an oxymoron and can’t be done. This is about finding a better way to live, not just building a better home – although the former produces the latter.
Homes are and have almost always been a commodity in the US. A commodity defined as the lowest possible price on interchangeable objects whose only differences are location, date of purchase. Yes the finish details can vary, and some details are nicer than others, but on-site stick construction makes these differences superficial. From a performance and longevity perspective, they are all the same. Built on-site with indifferent labor with materials good enough to do the job, designed to last about 30 years but requiring constant work to keep functioning as the treadmill of obsolescence and low cost keep an army in motion taking stuff to the landfill while workman slave to keep the house going. But when your average American only lives in a house for a little more than four years, there is little incentive to change this endless cycle.