We're building a year-round weekend home in New York State -- in a forested area w/severe & windy winters. I'm researching energy efficient windows, but am particularly interested in mechanical soundness of construction, durability, and ability of window exterior to shed whatever nature throws at it (esp wind & water). I've had Pellas fail in another house and won't go through that again.
The windows are a combination of dbl hung, casement and a few awnings. Most will have divided light uppers (between the glass), primed interiors. Wall construction will be typ 2x6 24" OC, with either foam or combined foam/batt insulation.
Feedback on these particular brands esp appreciated for our application (all spec'd aluminum clad over wood, low-e w/argon, integral nailing fin, factory applied brickmould, unless noted):
+ Fibertec (all fiberglass, Canadian mfr)
+ (possibly also Kolbe-Kolbe and Milgard)
These are listed in ascending order of cost. I have also priced Eagle, Accurate Dorwin (another Canadian-fiberglass mfr), Marvin, and Loewen, but they price out of our budget.
From my limited experience, the industry forces us to look at glazing stats, but the structural integrity and field installation make the real-world performance difference, and this is a house we hope to keep for a long time.
I really appreciate feedback. Thank you! Mark