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Low-Budget Energy-Efficient Windows

mikeysp | Posted in General Questions on

zone 4a.

Windows: do energy efficient low budget windows exist?

Or, perhaps, I should ask, what window would you recommend I use on a 1 ACH house if money is tight?

Thank you.


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  1. Tim_O | | #1

    Double pane casement windows would make sense, for your climate zone especially I think. Denco also makes double pane Tilt/Turn windows at a lower cost.

  2. cs55 | | #2

    I received quotes from denco and they were incredibly reasonable. 36x60 tilt & turn with laminated + tempered glass was $640, $900 for 36x84 that are horizontally split + tempered/laminated glass. $3600 for a 75x83 tilt and slide door with the same glass. they are rated at "<.2" on air infiltration, which is a pretty broad range. from what i've seen, windows that are rated at .0* are a bit on up there in price. but in comparison to a single hung in the same price range they are quite a bit better.

  3. walta100 | | #3

    I think windows are one of the things you get what you pay for.

    Being zone 4 in dollar terms triple pane windows are unlikely to make a return on your investment but may be worth the cost in comfort terms.

    Windows are almost always the biggest single budget item in any build. Consider do you need all the windows or are some of them want and not needs. Could you down size the windows without destroying the look of the home. Do the windows makeup more than 15% of the wall area?


  4. dfvellone | | #4

    I went with Andersen 200 series, which were 1/2 the price of their 400 series windows. All the ratings were the same, and the build quality looked just fine (I did buy two 400 series windows and the side by side comparison didn’t reveal much difference.)

  5. bcornwellco | | #5

    One of my favorite quotes about Alpen Windows: "The pricing for the Alpen windows was not more expensive than even conventional windows despite having twice the performance, a better warranty, and similar lead times. We didn’t pay any more to get Passive-House grade windows.”

    I under the 4a climate zone, but if you're going for airtightness, then you may like Alpen's virtually 0 air leakage rate. With some of the cheaper brands out there, you're going to suffer from significant air leakage on operational windows. Before I got into learning about windows, I learned this the hard way.

    Personally, if I was in your shoes, and I have been in the past, but in a different climate zone, I'd spent a bit more on the best windows you can afford for what makes energy/pay back sense. I read a great piece by Building Science Corp that make me reflect on this thought the other day; good stuff!

    1. BrunoF | | #15

      I just had Alpen quote my house…same price as Marvin Elevate and Anderson 400…which is 2x 3x above simonton and PlyGem pvc windows.

      I guess it is all relative but I’m not sure Alpen should be considered a low budget option.

  6. tdbaugha | | #6

    Andersen 100 series with their “smart sun” and “heat lock” glass would be a solid choice.

  7. brad_rh | | #7

    Have a look at Milgard too.

  8. n2dirt | | #8

    I just priced double glazed Seem Ray at 330 for a fixed window and 850 for tilt and turn. Excellent customer service with that process. I’d be interested if anyone has used them.

    1. mikeysp | | #9

      What was the U-value on those windows?

      1. n2dirt | | #11


    2. Deleted | | #12


  9. dirkgently | | #10

    I got prices on Alpen on 625 series, A few Anderson 400 series, Fibertec (canada), and Inline (canada). All were tripple pane. The Anderson 400 were the most expensive....and their fixed window did not have much of a discount off the casement I priced.
    Alpen was the next most expensive....but not crazy.
    Fibertec and Inline were both close in price. Fibertec had some sort of sale going on which made them a bit cheaper at the time.
    prices as follows for 32x54 casement/fixed and R value/Rvalue for each
    $737 / 460 R values 5.9 / R 7.1 Inline fiberglass windows
    $1000/ 683 R values 5.9 / 7.1 Fibertec fiberglass windows
    $1,070/ 820 R values 6.25 / ? Alpen fiberglass thin glass tripple
    $1,240/ 1,080 R value 5 / R value 5 Anderson 400 series Tripple pane

    hope that makes sense. first dollar number is casement and 2nd is fixed window.

  10. jvidamins | | #13

    I just installed a house full of MI Windows triple pane windows. For a 36x60 casement, .18 U-factor, they were $533 plus tax. I put in 30 units (many of them mulled together) plus their triple pane sliding glass door for $18,388, plus tax.

    1. dirkgently | | #14

      Hi, I have been on there site trying to find info on tripple pane glass options and performance values and come up mostly empty. which model did you get?
      Did you go thru a dealer or direct with MI?
      what state do you live in?

      1. jvidamins | | #16

        Series 9770::Casement, U-Factor::0.18, SHGC::0.21, VT::0.34
        They don't advertise the 9770 as coming in the triple pane package, but they do. It'll come with the "Extreme Package" which is extra reinforcement I guess. It's literally one of the only manufacturers that would allow me to get three 36x72 units mulled together as one unit. All the rest said I couldn't get them that big in triple pane.

        I was hesitant about going with them, but then I saw Ben Bogie in an older YouTube video saying good things about them.

        Yes, I went through a dealer - Zeeland Lumber. I live in north central Indiana.

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