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The Griffiths Home, Orderville, Utah
The Griffiths Home, Orderville, Utah

The Do-It-Yourself, Energy-Efficient Dream Home

When a customer calls and tells you that the energy-efficient home they are building happens to be in one of the most beautiful settings in the Western U.S., you ask them if you might tag along and do some filming.

Located at the crossroads of climate zone 3, 4, and 5, resting at an elevation well over 5,000 feet, this unique region provides more than beauty. It presents the opportunity to truly challenge ThermalBuck, on an energy-efficient window installation with high-performance window manufacturer Alpen HPP.


The Griffiths Family, Orderville, Utah

The view from the living room of the Griffith's family residence
The view from the living room of the Griffith’s family residence

Thomas and Melissa Griffiths are not your average do-it-yourself homebuilders. Thomas is an engineer, and Melissa a successful blogger and homemaker, raising a busy family of 5 children not far from the beautiful Zion National Park.


Land isn’t easy to find in this part of the U.S., with 90% of it owned by the federal government, and devoted to national parks. They have been planning their dream home for years, finally buying a beautiful piece of land that Thomas used to take care of when he was a young man, right next door to where he grew up.


Planning the Energy-Efficient Window Installation

The Griffiths broke ground in 2015, after years of researching building materials, and creating the architectural drawings themselves. Thomas knew he wanted to build the most energy-efficient home he could afford, and ensure year-round comfort and good indoor air quality for his family.


“I just wanted to have as thermally-efficient a home as I could afford. I wanted to stop all of the thermal bridging that I could.”

-Thomas Griffiths, Homeowner, Engineer, Hardware Store Owner 


Doing most of the work themselves, the Griffiths wanted to invest that savings into large, high-performance windows, to bring the beauty of the setting into the home. They selected Alpen triple pane windows, utilizing suspended coated film technology. These insulated fiberglass frame windows offer an R-6 thermal performance, advanced framing, and customized technology for the glazing of each individual window, based on its exact exposure and placement in the home. 



Step-by-Step ThermalBuck Installation: Polyiso Continuous Insulation as the WRB

Thomas knew he needed to insulate both the interior and exterior of the building envelope. Taking the climate into consideration, he decided to use  2″ Atlas Energy Shield polyiso on the exterior as both the WRB and insulation.

Researching energy-efficient homebuilding, Thomas came across ThermalBuck, and recognized it as the ideal solution to mount his high-performance windows, and prevent compression of the rigid foam. The 2.5″ ThermalBuck has an R-value of 11, is extremely durable and will provide a long-lasting window installation to match the lifetime Alpen window warranty. Thomas wanted to utilize ThermalBuck to support the weight of the windows, insulate the mounting point, and maintain the quality of the window installation.  


High-Performance Window Q&A with Alpen HPP

If you’re lucky enough to have an installation expert like Nate Maybon, of Alpen High-Performance Products on hand during your build, you take advantage and ask questions. Watch this short Q&A with Alpen video, and you’ll learn what makes up a high-performance window – from the insulated fiberglass frames to suspended film technology. Nate also talks about common causes of window failures. You’ll quickly understand why high-performance windows are an investment that will pay you back in more ways than energy-savings.



“I definitely like the ease of use. I’m surprised at how durable it is. But the performance is what we’re after.”

Alpen Certified Installer attaching window into ThermalBuck
Fasteners must penetrate through ThermalBuck into the structure min 1-1/4″.

-Nate Maybon, Alpen HPP Window Installation Specialist 

Alpen High Performance Products  is a national distributor for ThermalBuck, located in Niwot, Colorado. They were the first window manufacturer in North America to achieve PHIUS certification for their windows, and are widely recognized as passive house experts.

Alpen HPP & ThermalBuck offer a PHIUS-Verififed Window Installation Detail featuring 2.5″ ThermalBuck, and the Alpen 925 Series Fiberglass window. Contact Alpen HPP, our high-performance partners at www.thinkalpen.com 



Behind the Scenes in Orderville

If you’d like to keep up with the Griffiths, visit Melissa’s blog, blessthismessplease.com. You’ll see why we loved our time with this inspiring family.


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