I’m in Northern Vermont near Burlington, Climate Zone 6. I’m struggling with picking high performance windows for an under-construction ICF house with 14.25” walls and 24” roof truss heels for R100 worth of loose Rock-wool in the attic.
I’ve been looking mostly at “European design” windows because of the way they close, lock on four sides like a safe and seal like a freezer door. There are 12 windows (including two over over 50 sq ft ea. and 3 large doors, so the difference in claimed u-values from conventional windows and doors appears significance, and probably worth paying at least some premium in price.
I have quotes from Broga Windows for their best triple-glazed window at claimed u-factor of .11, at around $20k. The cheapest double pane at may be u-28 are a couple $k cheaper. They have a showroom, office, or warehouse in Brooklyn) and allegedly are located in “the Ukraine” or possibly “Belarus”. Components are supplied by several large identified European plastics manufacturers and hardware suppliers. I know a guy who says he has “European windows” from a Baltic country in his house, and he knows a guy who went to the showroom and bought a window that looks pretty good. I can’t find anything else about them, but they have a ten-year warranty and a website that you can use to specify exactly what you want. The discount you get back is at a very impressive 65% or so from the list prices on the website. The sole sales woman saleswoman covering the entire United States is in “the Ukraine or Belarus”.
I have another quote from European Architectural Design in Boston with similar claimed performance specs at $18k, with a missing door and no safety glass All but one of my windows need safety glass to be code-compliant, so maybe that quote will closer t0 $22k, apples to apples. They represent a number of alleged European manufacturers and push one of them harder than the others. Their website is not nearly as organized as Broga’s, but they have way more pictures than Broga’s.
There is also Wythe Windows NYC (two more that seems to allege that it manufactures windows here, possibly in New Jersey. It has a posher website but very little technical stuff and snottier, in the know copy than the other 2. Their six lines of windows are named after various NYC streets, parks, and buildings.
All of these places are 4 hours drive time from here, so I will do site visits and report back here.
Meanwhile, has anybody had a direct, substantive experience with any high performance window manufacturer in New England, New York, or Eastern Canada?
A final thought on this subject. The people selling these things have pretty thin organizations with low overhead. All of the people windows seem to look pretty much the same – 2 square or rectangular frames formed of aluminum or uCPV square tubing joined by two or more hinges with a handle, some gears, cams, weatherstripping and a glass glazing unit. The fabrication process looks pretty basic. The devil, as with anything, is in the details. Are the welds precise or sloppy? Is the glass flat and clear or wavey and warped like the shitty glass installed in a car by a low rent auto insurance auto glass guy? Does the weatherstripping already falling out of the frame. Do you hear or feel grinding when you turn the handle. Make the salesperson break one open to show you how to replace something internal. Are the gears and pawls made out of something that belongs in disposable widget, or substantial and substantially fastened? What support do they have? – installer training on any level? – training videos? replacement parts? Illegible installation details? You can’t do that online.
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part