Save energy: Ship a home from Switzerland |

Save energy: Ship a home from Switzerland

NWS Energy House DT 12-7

VAIL – Balz Arrigoni wanted to bring to Vail the energy-efficient practices of his homeland of Switzerland. “America is not so energy efficient yet,” he said.So Arrigoni arranged for his new Matterhorn home to be pre-fabricated in Switzerland and shipped in two containers to Vail.Large sections of the walls were already assembled when they arrived. The walls were built in a factory in Switzerland that used a combination of insulation, Tyvek windproof material, OSB – oriented strand board – and space for airflow. That design helps make the home much more energy-efficient than your average newly built home in the valley, Arrigoni said.

“It’s going to function better in the sense that the walls have a ventilation system which isn’t done conventially in this country,” said the architect, Adam Harris of Shepherd Resources Inc. in Avon.The design also should prevent moisture and mold problems, Harris said.”We were all about building a house in which we don’t have to pay a lot for energy,” Arrigoni said.The home, which sits at the top of Geneva Drive, has three bedrooms, an office, a lockoff studio and five bathrooms. It is 4,200 square feet, including the garage.It costs as much to heat the home as it does to heat a conventional two-bedroom condo, Arrigoni said.

The components of the prefabricated homes are built in a controlled environment, which can be better than building outside among the elements, where rain and snow can affect the process, Harris said.Much of the wood in the home is reclaimed wood from Austria, including the exterior siding. The beams for the roof and the flooring were already cut when they arrived in the U.S.Arrigoni said prefabrication cut the building time in half. The old home on the property was demolished in May, and by October, he and his family moved into the new home.After the materials arrived, a crew from Europe came to Vail for eight days to oversee the their assembly.The term “prefab housing” might bring to mind a cookie-cutter trailer home. But Arrigoni’s home fits right in with the elaborate mansions that dot the hillsides above Interstate 70.

“It’s a terrific method of building and it’s a matter of whether it catches on in the country,” Harris said.This method of building was Arrigoni’s trade in Switzerland. His business, Arrigoni Woods, supplies homes with wide-plank flooring that can be used in custom homes. The company also consults on how to build custom prefabricated homes.Arrigoni lives in the home with his wife, Christina, and his son, Luke, 7 months.After moving to the Vail Valley in 1995 and working as a ski instructor, Arrigoni started his company in 1998.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or, Colorado

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