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Looking for a cost-effective, “traditionally styled” double-hung window with U-factor of about 0.20

Eric Marchand | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I am building a new house in Hopkinton, NH. (on the border of climate zone 5A & 6A) and am looking for a double hung window with a u-factor of .20 (or better of course) that will look good in a New England farm house styled home. What I mean by this is I would like a clad exterior with a wood interior and SDL grills without having to spend $65,000 on a triple glazed loewen or marvin window. Don’t get me wrong I have used both brands of window on customers houses and they are beautiful, but they are not in the budget for my own house. Has anyone used or know of, what they would consider a cost effective window that meets the description above?
Thank you, Eric

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You are asking for a lot. Most triple-glazed windows aren't double-hungs, because it's difficult to make a double-hung window with triple glazing. (You end up with either thin glazing or very fat sash.) If you choose awnings or casements, you'll have more options.

    One low-cost double-hung option is the Tribute line from Harvey Building Products. Harvey offers double-hung windows with triple glazing and a U-factor of 0.19. From your perspective, you won't be happy, because they are vinyl windows. But you can't have everything, including a low price.

    Harvey's Tribute brochure notes, "High Performance Glazing Option: Our most energy efficient glazing package incorporates foam-filled chambers and three panes of glass sealed with a warm edge spacer system for added performance and durability. Two panes of glass utilize Low-E coating, and both airspaces contain Krypton gas for superior energy savings."

  2. Stephen Sheehy | | #2

    There are windows available that look like double hung but are casement or tilt turn. I saw some in a recent Fine Homebuilding Magazine.

  3. Keith H | | #3


    That link appears broken but I believe this is the link to the product line you are referring to.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Both links work -- at least on my web browser -- and the two documents both refer to the Harvey Tribute line of vinyl windows.

  5. Bob Irving | | #5

    Unfortunately there isn't much out there in a high performance affordable wood window. The fiberglass Integrity is a great window, but they aren't yet making it in triple glazed. Paradigm is another vinyl window, made in Portland, with a nice traditional surround, in triple glazed and around U=.20. There are two Maine companies - Pinnacle and Paradigm, offering American made Tilt Turn windows with U vales under .20 and a much better ventilation and operating system and better seals. They'll put grilles on them if you'd like, or you can have a clear view. The Tilt Turns are a little more expensive than the double hung, but well worth the cost.

  6. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #6

    Paradigm's triple pane double hungs and single hungs are comparable in look & performance to Harvey's Tribute series, sometimes cheaper. Both were quoted on a DER project I was involved with a few years ago on an 1890s vintage farm house (that had been converted to 3-apartment building, after a developing city had grown up around it.) Paradigm got the business on that one.

  7. Walter Ahlgrim | | #7

    The only way to judge the cost-effectiveness is to spend the time and effort of creating a computer energy model of this project with accurate pricing for each option and variable.

    The $65,000 windows may pay off or not depending variables like local weather, fuel cost, window area in square feet, interest rate and inflation projections. .

    I have used BEopt software free to use paid for with your tax dollars. Budget about 30 hours to learn and input the data.


  8. David D | | #8

    Alpen high performance products out of Colorado makes double hung u.20 window in fiberglass.

  9. Charlie Sullivan | | #9

    BEopt is more complex than necessary for consider the choice of one element. You can calculate the heat loss through a particular element, and translate that into energy consumption without knowing or modeling the heat loss through other elements. Windows can be more complicated if you consider solar gain, but if you are considering two options with similar solar gain that are only different in U-value, you can just calculate the heat loss and compare on that basis. Or you can use software that just looks at windows: RESFEN (, which should be simpler and easlier to learn than BEopt.

    If you want to ignore solar gain and calculate manually, annual heat loss through a window is:

    Q = HDD*A*U*24,
    where HDD is the number of heating degree days in your climate,
    A is the area one window (or all the windows if you want total window heat loss),
    U is the rated U-value,
    and the 24 is a conversion because U has hours in the definition but HDD is day-based.

  10. Dan Kolbert | | #10

    I use Paradigm when i can because they're a local company, but I also think they look much better than most all-vinyl windows.

    And, as Stephen suggests above, many companies offer a "check rail" grill for casements - it's a wider horizontal rail in the middle to mimic the look of a DH but give you the much better performance of a casement.

    I don't have much data to support it, but if it was me, I don't think I'd bother with triple hung DH's at all. I'd either get nice double-glazed DH's or go for the performance of a casement or tilt-turn. It's very hard to get a really good seal on a DH.

  11. Rosie K. | | #11

    We used a combination of Marvin Integrity wood-ultrex double pane DH and triple pane casements on our cape farm-house style house - For the casements, we did a 2 over 2 Simulated Divided Light with a 7/8" divider, and I think they ended up looking really nice and traditional. I was skeptical about it when we were choosing windows, but I started looking around at all the actual historic houses in our town and noticed that a lot of them had old wooden storm windows that were all one panel with 2 over 2 divided lights - the casements end up looking just like that. We did look at doing a thicker spacer bar in the middle to look like a DH - they called it a Simulated Rail on our quote, and it looks like it would have been something like $100 extra per window. Because of seeing those old wooden storms, I decided the thinner middle rail would be fine, so we didn't do that option, and I think they ended up looking great.
    *I don't have the U-values in front of me, but I think the triple pane casements ended up somewhere around .20 or better.

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