GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Sourcing Triple-Glazed Windows

vt_guy | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

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 Supply 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 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 windows seem to look pretty much the same – 2 square or rectangular frames formed of aluminum or uPVC, 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?  Is 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? Is there installer training on any level? – training videos? replacement parts?  Illegible installation details?

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. PhilD20 | | #1

    What ended up happening with your window choice? I’m in a similar situation and am curious to know what you decided and for what reason?

    Thank You

    1. vt_guy | | #33

      I closed the bidding with prices from Aspen, Broga, and European Architectural Supply. Aspen was not even close to being competitive with Broga or EAS shipped prices. Broga was a couple $k under EAS, which was about $26k, including $6k in shipping BUT that included 3 doors, all north of $2k each. I had not originally intended to use the European doors until I studied some cuts intended for submittals. They are really built like bank vault doors. Also Broga, at least at the time, was FOB a Brooklyn dock, at least 10 hrs and 2 men round trip. EAS delivered to the job with their own specially configured box truck.

      This operation is completely European/international. I was given an estimator, Thanos, in Greece as soon as I contacted EAS by email with my window/door schedule and architectural drawings attached. When he called me in a day or two, he had already reviewed both. He had a few questions which I answered, and I got a pretty compressive preliminary quote the next week. We emailed and spoke a couple of more times, and I got a very professional set of shop drawings drawn by a draftswoman with a Polish name, within about another week. Everything was in both mm and inches. They printed out at 14”x17”, perfect for not blowing around in the wind. I took some time to review them. After my GC reviewed and approved them, I signed and scanned them, and emailed them back to Thanos. This was about 2 weeks. Thanos’s work shift corresponded to 7:30 am to 4:30 pm EDT. Everybody else I talked to was of a different European nationality, and like Thanos, spoke impeccable English. This was clearly the east coast North American team.

      I had originally scheduled a tour of the MA showroom, but after talking to Thanos, I was pretty confident in the operation, and decided to not drive into the Boston Metro area and spend a couple of hours inside a building, which would have taken all day round trip

      I was given a 14 week delivery time. The windows arrived in 12 weeks. I got a call from the Boston delivery super, and he wanted to deliver in about 3 days. I told him the GC was not on the job and wouldn’t be on the job until 2 more weeks, and I didn’t want anybody else screwing around with the windows. The EAS super told me he would not only unload the truck, but he would also send three guys so they could load the job, putting the windows exactly where I wanted them if I could take immediate delivery, which I did gladly. The delivery price also included 2 EAS installers to train a couple of my GC’s carpenters. He said he could send them later. EAS can also install the whole job, which they apparently do pretty often.

      Some would say pricey, but this was at the height of Covid, when it was almost impossible to buy anything that wasn’t, or hire anybody to do anything, with extreme service and flexibility that can’t be beat.

      Window quality and f/f are superb. Welds are almost invisible. The glass units are barely visible after stripping the protective film. Operation is smooth with no clicks, grinds, scrapes, catching or lurching. Nothing hanging out. The windows are base plain satin finish white uPVC in and out. There are about 45 or so standard European colors available, applied as colored foil over the uPVC. Being PVC means the windows should be periodically cleaned and waxed, like any finished material. This build was an ICF ranch with a deck across the front and 17” of exposed foundation across the back. There are only 3 windows out of 10 windows and 3 doors on the ends that will require a long ladder to do that. All bucks were constructed with better than stud grade lumber, attached to the concrete with 10” construction screws, 8” oc, 2 inches in from the inner and outer edges about 2 weeks after the pour.

      All of these European manufacturers and assemblers make windows from uPVC, aluminum in various gauges, and wood in various species, with double or triple glazing units with innumerable thermal specs and myriad gases to fill in the vacuumed spaces. My windows and doors are triple glazed, -u .08, argon filled LoE. The brand is Salamander. My guess is that way over 60% of the windows sold by EAS are this spec. You can buy aluminum or wood, as exotic as you or your want. You will get the same guts in all of them.

      1. Mixed_Beans | | #48

        What do you think of your Salamander windows and doors? I'm going to EAS next week and they gave me Salamander and Shucco as two brands to look at.

  2. Arian_Doda | | #2

    PhilD20, If you need a quote dont hesitate to contact us,we have NFRC certified windows tilt & turn windows ,our products are made inPoland, lead time 8-10 weeks.

    [email protected]

  3. nemonroe | | #3

    Vermont Guy - Can you share what you ended up doing? Did you purchase, who from, and what can you say about the experience? Thanks

    1. vt_guy | | #34

      See my reply to PhilD20 today 3/16/23

  4. fromPok | | #4

    If you need help.. Contact me privately. If you have 12 weeks in schedule, I can help you source directly from poland and prices will be cheaper than Broga.

  5. arcticenergy | | #5

    Logic window and be done

    1. fromPok | | #6

      These would be more expensive. I got quotes from most providers here. Direct sourcing is the only way to get the best deal.

      1. Expert Member
        Akos | | #7

        The issue with direct overseas order is service. I did this and my IGUs have failed, the company would replace them but shipping them would have cost more than getting new ones.

        1. fromPok | | #8

          It depends on how good your manufacturer and source suppliers are :-)

          1. vt_guy | | #38


  6. jackofalltrades777 | | #9

    The problems with going overseas for windows is that the lead times are 3+ months. If a window is damaged or broken, waiting on replacements is months long. Shipping over the ocean is not cheap. When it arrives at port, it still must be shipped via truck to the site. If the house site is in an area above sea level, you will have problems with the IGU failing. Sealed glass going over mountains and hills, varying elevations, requires a special IGU breathing tube system to prevent the IGU from failing and exploding/imploding. Search the internet about failed IGU's due to elevation changes going from sea level to 3,000+ feet.

    Alpen sells European style (Tyrol) windows but they are made here in the USA (Colorado) and the IGU's have a breathing tube system to prevent IGU failure.

    1. vt_guy | | #35

      You wait that long for kitchen cabinets made relatively locally, keeping your fingers crossed until the cartons are removed.

      I used European Architectural Supply, a Boston window supply house representing probably over a hundred lines of European windows assembled and sold by dozens of manufacturers (actually assemblers) based mostly in Poland and Germany. Most of the hardware and other components are made by one or two monster companies based in Poland. Foils, wooden window frames, etc are made by smaller firms all over Europe.

      I probably left some $ on the table by not going direct to a European assembler. From what I have seen posted here, I think I traded those dollars for potential headaches. I also think the idea of buying direct from Poland is a sound idea. When IKEA first came to the US, the really nice products were made in Poland, but no more.

      1. Patrick_OSullivan | | #42

        > When IKEA first came to the US, the really nice products were made in Poland, but no more.

        I used some Ikea cabinets and closet components in bedrooms and bathrooms in my house. Some components from Austria, some from Italy, and not just the hardware (a bunch of which is Blum). Their supply chain is really quite a thing.

  7. nynick | | #10

    The. shipping from Europe kills the prices. It's either tacked on or included with the quote, but it's thousands of dollars.
    I'm going domestic with Alpen. Shipping is also pricey, but no sales tax since I'm not in Colorado.

  8. n2dirt | | #11

    Has anyone priced schueco USA or inspected their quality ?

    1. tdbaugha | | #12

      I've been trying to price their products for months. Nobody returns my phone calls or emails. I have also sent DM's and comments on their social media pages and nobody responds to those either. You see these guys on the build show and it seems like a no brainer to go with them over importing something but the customer service with me to date has been abysmal.

    2. nynick | | #15

      Yes, I visited EAS, submitted my plans and got a quote. The shipping kills the deal.

      1. tdbaugha | | #16

        EAS is importing schuco whereas schuco USA is fabricating in Connecticut. Wish they were more responsive. The build show recently put out a video which included a factory tour. The employees said they’ve been working there for three years. FWIW

        1. Tim_O | | #17

          I did a little digging around their website, it sounds like they only sell through dealers, so maybe it's the dealer you are working with?

          The other thing I noticed, they only manufacture the aluminum windows here. So the more budget options need to be imported.

          1. tdbaugha | | #21

            Correct. And my local dealer (GLO Windows) doesn’t answer the phone or return voicemails either. Such a shame because I really want to use them! Excellent product and fabricated less than 100 miles from me.

        2. nynick | | #22

          I've been down this road with Shuco as I'm literally 40 minutes away from the CT factory. They only manufacture the aluminum windows there. For everything else, it's manufactured in Europe and you go through EAS.
          If you want aluminum, which are 3 times the price of U-PVC, you have to go through their CT dealer.
          I'm using ALPEN. High quality, domestically made and great response from the rep.

          1. Mixed_Beans | | #47

            Alpen seems to be limited somewhat in sizes they can make. Probably because they don't have aluminum windows.

        3. vt_guy | | #37

          The two brands are not spelled the same, although the newer one is deceptively similar to the original I foresee somebody getting a cease and desist letter from a Beantown lawyer!

    3. vt_guy | | #36

      European Architectural Supply (EAS),carries the Shucco line of windows made in Germany. They can quote anything you see on their site

      The brand you mention builds their windows in CT. i am sure you could visit their factory.

  9. matthew25 | | #13

    Just a heads up with the European manufacturers’ stated U-values, keep in mind that they are likely using the less accurate and more generous ISO 10077-2 and EN 673 method. Among other flaws, this method uses a temperature differential of 0 degC while the NFRC standard (ISO 15099 or ANSI/NFRC 100-2020) uses -18 degC. So the stated U-values could easily be exaggerated by ~15%.

    In fact, there is a footnote in ISO-10077-2 that says:
    “The correlations for high aspect ratio cavities [in glazing] used in EN 673 and ISO 10292 tend to give low values for the equivalent thermal conductivity. More accurate correlations are given in ISO 15099.” So the European method flat out admits the NFRC method is superior.

    See this article from GBA for more information:

    And this article from RDH:

    1. MartinHolladay | | #14

      Or check 0ut this more recent GBA article: "European vs. U.S.–Manufactured Windows"

      1. tdbaugha | | #18

        You guys keep beating this point to death and you’re not wrong. You can get very similar U value domestic vs European in a small - medium sized window, no question. But there are two major differences that make European windows vastly superior to anything domestic.

        1) the frames and hardware are so much better. Larger frames, More seals, more rigidity, etc that goes for wood clad, al, and vinyl. The air sealing abilities of both windows and doors is vastly superior. The frames have much higher u value options, more than 15% attributed to testing standards. This boosts the condensation resistance up at least ten points. European frames and hardware vs domestic frames is like comparing Porsche 911 to base model mustang. It’s not close.

        2) large glass. Cardinal max triple is like 30 sqft or something. To add injury to insult, none of the big domestic brands offer a window frame with an IGU pocket deeper than 1.375” from my research. So even if you found better glass domestically (garibaldi) you can’t use it since their pockets are so tight. 30 sqft is not big enough for the average custom home being built in my neck of the woods. If you want more glass, you need to mull units together which drives the price up and the performance down as compared to one large European unit.

        1. matthew25 | | #25


          Compared to the "average" domestic window, I have no qualms with your comments, but since this thread is focused on triple-pane, high performance windows I think we should limit our comparisons to those North American manufacturers who are competing in that category.

          Let's compare condensation resistance using the NFRC database. Schuco USA, as an example, only has one casement and one fixed window option registered on that site. The best casement configuration has a CR of 71, their best fixed configuration has a CR of 74. They may actually have better windows than this, but this is all that is listed by NFRC.

          Virtually all North American high-performance window manufacturers can match or exceed these CR rating. Alpen goes up to CR 83 (Zenith casement), Zola goes up to CR 80 (Classic Max uPVC Tilt & Turn), etc.

          Additionally, many of these manufacturers are sourcing European hardware according to their websites. Not necessarily the frames though, so you may be onto something there. I also cannot comment on the glazing limitations, the Alpen site I checked had a limitation of about 35 sq. ft. Traditional American architecture does not really lend itself to large spans of uninterrupted glazing, but I can see the appeal for modern architecture.

          I'm not against sourcing things from Europe, I just want to stop this apples-to-oranges performance rating comparisons.

          Schuco Casement:
          Schuco Fixed:

          1. Deleted | | #27


          2. tdbaugha | | #28

            For sure. High performance options in North America are pretty good for CR but with few exceptions, these are all vinyl or fiberglass frames. I was comparing Andersen, Marvin, Sierra Pacific, etc triple glazed options which are pretty sub-par.

            Zola is made in Poland by the way.

        2. [email protected] | | #45

          ...So even if you found better glass domestically (garibaldi)...

          Still curious about what criteria you use to determine that garibaldi glass is superior.

    2. vt_guy | | #40

      Agreed, so the -0.08 claimed for my European windows x 1.15 = -0.092. Any rule is Ok with me as long as I know what it is.

      1. [email protected] | | #44

        Not precisely, it's not that simple. The differences between how Euro windows and north American windows are tested make it impossible to compare or to use a standard "correction" to compare them.
        Using the U factor of European windows that are only European tested is fine against other European windows, just as comparing NFRC only against other NFRC.
        Also it's not uncommon that the performance values listed for European windows are for glass only and not whole window performance.
        Glass performance is useful for comparing against other glass performance models, but not against whole window performance.
        I wouldn't count on .08 being accurate on NFRC testing scale, and not .092 either.
        For a top of the line triple pane, expect at best about U .125 (NFRC).

  10. arcticenergy | | #19

    I am wondering if anyone read my comment earlier about Logic.

    I priced EAS (Schüco, Logic, Loewen, H Window, Marvin, Andersen, Pella, LiteZone, and Lansing, and Logic was far and away +- 10% the highest performing and cheapest. They are manufactured in PA with a Euro frame and European hardware. I spec'd Hoppe handlesets for the tilt turn windows. Unity Homes uses these units for their prefab assemblies and they told me that they are really happy with them. They must order several hundred windows a year.

    My window package comes in 15 weeks. I'll share more then but my experience has been great working with Pinnacle Window Solutions in Maine to order the Logic windows.

    If you want Aluminum clad, I recommend H Window in Wisconsin. The quality is stunning for the price.

    Some of the comments on here about long wait times from EAS seem exaggerated

    1. tdbaugha | | #20

      Great info, thank you. I’m leaning towards thermally broken aluminum and have priced EAS, GLO, Zola, Aluprof, Reynaers, Fenstur, Sosoares, Kolbe Vistalux, Weathershield VUE, Alpen, Cascadia, maybe some others.

      I will add a plug for Fenstur. They make a GREAT looking product. Huge frames, offer large sizes, uses European hardware, 3-4 seals, etc. But the large units carry zero warranty. That’s right, zero. Not even 30 days. That was a non starter for me. The size threshold was something like 40-50 sqft where you lost your warranty.

      The lead time comments are silly. Andersen 100 series in black was over 12 months lead time last year. My builder likes Sierra pacific and has been waiting for windows for the current project for 10 months.

      1. arcticenergy | | #23

        Have you priced H Window Company in Wisconsin?

        1. tdbaugha | | #30

          I have not. I looked at the cross sections and they are just OK to me. No offense.

          1.375" max glazing thickness is not adequate for the sizes I want to use.

          1 seal on their casement windows isn't really what Im after either.

      2. bwsct | | #43

        I contacted Zola and they told me $50k is the minimum order. Is your window order over that?

    2. matthew25 | | #24

      I could not find Logic in the NFRC database:

      Also, their website is a bit low-budget (WordPress) and the best (fixed) windows based on their provided spec's is U-0.15 (R-6.67). Not terrible, but not exactly great either.

      I was able to find H Window Company and their "204 Tilt-Turn" model in the NFRC website (see link below) showing U-0.17, which is pretty decent for an operable window. I'm surprised this is the only model they have recorded in the database though? Also couldn't find any performance specs on their website.

      1. Expert Member
        Michael Maines | | #31

        I have used Logic windows several times and they have been very good, similar to Intus, Schuco and other European PVC windows. They use American-made glass so the U-factor doesn't look as appealing as an identical European window would. They are a small company so it's not surprising that their website is not flashy or sophisticated.

    3. vt_guy | | #39

      If you are looking at EAS, look at Salamander. Cheaper than Shuco, and higher thermal performance because of the glazing unit used. Sort of an EAS “store brand”. I had it pointed out by an EAS salesman. Yes, you can talk to a real salesman if you call the place!

  11. AAWoodwork | | #26

    Advantage Architectural Woodwork in Colby, Kansas, builds high performance European windows at their shop. They are a licensed smartwin partner. Majority of their components including glass come from Europe. The U-value of their windows and doors range from .10-.14. They have three windows and one entry door certified by the passive house.

    1. tdbaugha | | #29

      Just called this morning! Seems like an excellent option. They have two projects going right now where I live so I will be checking them out first hand soon. Nice to see an American company offer a product like this!

  12. user-1072251 | | #32

    I've also used Logic in several houses; great windows and excellent service.

    I've used Alpen once; the plastic film they use instead of inner glass failed on one window in a year, and on several more a few years later. I'd replaced several Hurd triple glazed windows years ago; the glass (with poly film instead of glass on the inside), made by Alpen, and it had also failed on Hurds. Seems to be a pattern with Alpen.

    I'm unclear what the Logic U value is, but in my experience, most of the issues with windows seem to be the seal and the construction, and Logic, and other European windows are far superior.

    1. Expert Member
      Michael Maines | | #41

      How old were the Alpen windows that failed? I recently saw some from the 1980s with the thin-film fail, but I thought they had solved that problem a decade or more ago.

  13. rondeaunotrondo | | #46

    Looking for the PGH equivalent of triple pane casements to replace 1970 failing aluminum replacement windows in a 1920 bungalow. Any recommendations based on all the research folks have done in this thread?

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |